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Guide to track cycling


Chris Hoy became the first Briton in 100 years to win three gold medals in one Olympic Games in Beijing, triumphing in the sprint, team sprint and keirin.

He takes an in-depth look at the type of bike used on the track and explains how it differs to a road bike.

Frame: The bike's far lighter than your average road bike. Mine probably comes in at about 7kg on the scales and you can pretty much lift that with one finger.

If you take a closer look at these sort of bikes as they're whizzing around the track, you notice they're very narrow.

That's to ensure that they're as aerodynamic as possible and can fly around the track with very little air resistance.

Gears: There are no gears and no brakes on track bikes.

Chris Hoy
Hoy won three Olympics golds in Beijing

My bike is just set in one position, which is basically the equivalent of the biggest gear you'll get on a top road bike.

Obviously it's a hefty gear to get going, so you need to push as much as possible to ensure you get the momentum going as soon as possible - particularly in my events.

Handlebars: As you can see in the photograph immediately above, there are two different parts to the handlebars of my bike.

There are proper handlebars that you hold onto at the start of your event to enable you to get as much leverage as possible to get your momentum going.

Then there are the handlebars that face forward. These are known as skis, and you rest your elbows and hands on them to enable you to tuck into the best aero position possible.

The better your positioning, the quicker you'll slice your way around the track.

Helmet: This is all about aerodynamics, and your helmet needs to be as streamlined as possible to ensure every single thousandth of a second is saved.

Saddle: The saddle's not massively different to that of your standard bike in terms of its make and its positioning.

It thrusts you high and far forward to give you the best possible riding position.

Shoes: The shoes, which are usually worn with overshoes to improve the aerodynamics, aren't particularly comfortable, to be perfectly honest.

I take mine off as quickly as I can once I've come off the track.

Wheels: The wheels are completely different from what you get on your standard road bike, as they're filled-in carbon fibre disc wheels.

The pressure in the tyres is immense, which makes them incredibly hard - in fact, they're rock solid.

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