Manchester Velodrome, March 24th 2001
by Rob Hague
I just got back from my weekend away at my first BHPC event of the year - an indoor 1/2 hour + 3 laps.
I travelled up to the event on Friday afternoon with the GLR partially disassembled - I carried the wheels, chain and left crank/chainrings in my rucksack and the remainder of the trike carefully wrapped in a large tarpaulin. It seemed like a potential way to avoid some of the restrictions on cycle carriage on UK trains.
The first problem was that the bus driver to the railway station didn't like the look of the package, but he let us on. Maybe I need to look at an S&S GLR for next season... Or just get the bike reservation sorted and ride the assembled machine down to the station.
The train journey went smoothly and the Youth Hostel was fine, they had no problems about me hiding my large package on top of the wardrobe in my room...
Race day was cold and dry. Manchester city centre traffic was surprisingly absent.... The 3 mile ride to the velodrome was probably the first time I've had the chance to open the GLR up on smooth, flat road. The faster I get this trike the more I'm impressed with it - it just wants to go!
Once at the event and after waiting for the stick bikes to finish their training sessions I got the GLR out on to the track. Last year at Meadowbank (outdoor velodrome, Edinburgh) I was riding my GTS. I found it difficult to get up enough speed to do anything other than follow the bottom line around the banking and overtaking was restricted to the straights. I could tell immediately that the GLR is different. After a couple of laps it was feeling fast, although my bike computer hadn't survived the trip. A pit stop and we had readings. I did a couple of 25mph laps and began pulling a little higher up the banking... no problems... I tried taking the trike up to the top of the advertising painted on the track and it behaved fine... It is a really wild feeling coming into the corners with the track simply dropping away to the left and the trike happily glued to the wall... Really wild!!!
gNick decided to let all three trikes run in the same heat (3 heats due to number of competitors and speed differentials between the fully faired and unfaired machines). Having other trikes to race against makes a difference. I think maybe the bike guys and gals are worried... One trike in the pack is one thing but if I can make it a 2nd trike...
So how did the race go... Erm, well, Bob Knight is still fast! Having studied Bob's previous form I was really pleased to finish with an average speed (unofficial.. on my bike computer) of 23.2mph or 82 laps. I even managed to join the Bob Knight express for a while. But Bob is still the UK trike racing King and lapped me twice... Well done Bob!
The GLR looks to be about 4.5 mph faster then my GTS based on (my only 2) velodrome performances and my training so far indicates it is at least 5% faster on my hilly 20 mile training route, although I've only had one good run with reasonable weather and no traffic lights so far... I'm looking forward to the next event at Eastway in April.
First impressions are that the GLR is one seriously fast trike and I think that Bob will need to keep an eye out over his shoulder this season - I'm determined to at least be able to sit on his rear wheel during this years races!!! (rather than just see him hurtle past like last year...)
Well done Bob, and of course to the organisers and all the other competitors at the event.