BRITISH CYCLING REVEALS VELOPARK PLANS
Two images of how the new layout of the 2012 Olympic Legacy Velopark might look appeared on British Cycling’s website last week but were later removed, apparently at the request of the Olympic Delivery Authority.
Sadly, the images were too small to reproduce in print, but we've got one of them right here on our website!
“We asked if we could put them (images) up and they co-operated,” said Peter King, British Cycling’s Chief Executive. “But later we were told we can’t show them anymore.”
King sounded bemused by the ODA’s wish to keep the plans – still to be finalised and approved – from the public gaze. “There were 100 people in that room who saw them,” he added.
“The general feeling is that the improvements to the Velopark were ‘fantastic’, and have great potential.” Unless you’re a mountain biker, according to Eastway Users Group chair Michael Humphrey, sceptical of the plans for the off-road course. He said that in his view, the Velopark Legacy stands or falls on this issue.
The forbidden images show the velodrome with the road circuit passing down one flank, between the track and the A12 highway in a cutting. Beyond the track, the road circuit describes a big loop to make two crossings of the River Lea and, at the opposite end, makes a smaller 360-degree turn beside the BMX tracks.
There is also a smaller circuit for youngsters. Crossing the picture from left to right was a section of Sustrans “Greenway” – the cycling and walking paths linking London to the Olympic Park. However, there was no off-road circuit portrayed in the images.
Also, the velopark will still occupy not much more than a third of the original Eastway road and mtb circuit, since demolished on the Games site.
Although plans for the indoor velodrome and BMX track met with approval in the first published plan, the Eastway disciplines of road, mtb and cyclo-cross were severely compromised.
The general consensus, now, five months after British Cycling rejected the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Velopark plans as inadequate, is that the offer is much improved – but with a question mark still hanging over mtb.
The roadies now hope to return to something close to what they gave up in the name of the Games.
On the vexed question of where how to fit a five-kilometre off-road course into the plan, King has warmed to the idea of running it around the larger environs of the Olympic Park, as distinct from trying to configure it entirely within the Velopark.
However, Michael Humphreys, chair of Eastway Users Group, has serious doubts and is concerned that British Cycling, having secured various other improvements, may stop pressing for the land he insists is required to make a decent off-road course.
“There is a need to see proper security fencing for the course and at present parts will be secure, but other parts will remain open to the public,” says Humphrey.
But King said – and in the current paranoid risk assessment climate this may come back to haunt him – he’d heard mountain bikers relished the thought of meeting a straying member of the public on trails – keeps them on their toes!
King thought that hedge planting and banks to mark the course would prove sufficient security.
“The off-road could be routed around the outside of the park, and at certain areas, go into highly technical trails,” King says.
“Part of the course will cross the A12 to the south of the Velopark, on a bridge in one direction, returning through a tunnel.”
There is also disquiet at the suggestion that the road racing circuit double as car park for international track meetings, because only 150 car parking spaces are provided for the velodrome.