Northbrook Cycle Committee

Track Racing at Ed Rudolph Velodrome

welcome to ed rudolph velodrome!

We at the Northbrook Cycle Committee couldn't be happier for you as you begin your path toward riding and racing at the velodrome. Now is a wonderful time to jump into this great sport, with our three velodromes within 80 miles of each other and several more within a few hours' drive. A rare luxury considering there are only 27 tracks in the country!

At Ed Rudolph Velodrome (also known as the Northbrook Velodrome), we specialize in the all-around experience for USA Cycling sanctioned riding. We have a strong tradition of beginner-friendly (and highly skilled) weekly clinics, we host the Illinois State Track Championships, and we consistently have the highest attendance of most other tracks in the country at our weekly racing series. We are very proud of these programs and would love for you to join us in obtaining the necessary credits and experience to race our Thursday night program and beyond.

Wanna ride or race? Let’s get some basics outta the way.

If you missed our Introduction to Track Cycling presentation at Rapha Chicago, please feel free to look through our PDF: 


(clicking on the below image also opens our PDF)

the track bike

  1. Firstly, you need a track bike. Essentially, a track bike consists of:

    • a single speed, fixed gear -- the gear is fixed and does not allow the rider to “freewheel” or coast

    • bolt on track axles - wheels with quick release skewers are not allowed

    • no brakes -- riders apply backward pressure to the pedals to slow the bike

    • drop bars with bar tape and bar plugs

      • We have bikes for loan if you do not yet own your own track bike. You must provide your own pedals and helmet.

  2. Secondly, you will need to protect your brain! A helmet is always required when on the track.

  3. Foot retention is imperative. Most riders use clipless pedals.

  4. Proper cycling clothing.

The Track

Now that you’ve got the gear, let’s review some velodrome basics.

All velodromes have lines painted on the track’s surface:

  • The “cote d’azur” or the band of blue marks the tracks inside boundary. Racers may not rider on or below this band, except for emergencies or during tactical maneuvering during match sprints.

  • The black “measurement line” is used to measure the distance around the track. When doing pursuits or time trials, use this line as a guide.

  • The thin red line is the “sprinters line,” and it defines the sprint lane. The leading rider in this lane is said to “own the lane” and may only be passed by a rider going over on the right.

  • The uppermost blue line is the “stayer’s line” or the relief line. It marks the boundary between faster and slower traffic, with the faster riders below the line and the slower “relief” riders above the line.

Specifics about our track are located here.

other notes

Safety first!

  • The faster rider is responsible for passing safely.

  • Slower riders are responsible for riding in a straight line and allowing faster riders to pass predictably. Never “get out of the way” of a faster rider -- maintain a straight line instead.

  • One meter from the top of the track is reserved for riders accelerating for flying starts.

  • Turn your head in the direction you will be turning. If clear, you may gradually move up or down the track, paying attention to where you are going and being careful of overtaking traffic at the same time.

  • As you approach a slower rider, command “STICK” or “STAY” in order to indicate to the slower rider you are passing.

  • If you hear the command “STICK” or “STAY,” ride in a straight line.

  • Never ride more than two abreast while going slow in a non-race situation, such as a warm up or group training.

  • When on foot, always look both ways before you cross the track!

Riding on your own

The track is open to the public when it is not reserved.

Be sure to contact the Northbrook Park District for reservations. The schedule is posted in the window of the chalet.


Have a little one who wants to try out the track? Wednesday  nights are reserved specifically for kids! More information to follow for the 2017 season. 

still have questions?

Shoot us an email at and let us know what we're missing!

Good luck and stay safe this 2017 season!

@edrudolphvelo twitter feed:

Huge thanks to our 2019 sponsors!