Vibrant Communities In Focus
Image Credit: Kevin Van Paassen
[Forest City Velodrome]
The Forest City Velodrome went from concept to reality in four months. In 2004, Rob Good and Albert Coulier presented the idea of an indoor biking track for the south end of London. They brought together business, government and community partners to build their 138- metre indoor cycling track. By April 2005, it was open, one of just three indoor velodromes in North America. Grant money from the Ontario Trillium Foundation helped with program expansion and money for coaching. Rob Good says he’s thrilled young kids can now enjoy the sport, thanks to that grant.
“Anyone can pedal a bicycle, so I think everyone should be able to come use this amazing track. Our jewel program is called Velokids. They’re ten-, twelve-, fourteen- year-olds, and they look at the track and just about faint. It’s pretty daunting — and the bikes don’t have gears or brakes! But within a few weeks, they master it. They watch the older guys, like the ones pictured at the Provincial Track Championships, and they figure they can do it, too. It helps them be healthier, it gives them something to do, it teaches them about sportsmanship, and they make new friends. They see the elite riders and get inspired. And they also watch the sixty-five-plus gang. We call them the Huff and Puffers. Cycling really is a lifelong sport and this velodrome appeals to so many people in the community. It’s all good!”