Cycle Speedway – Bikes

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Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

10 MAY 2015 - GREAT BLAKENHAM, GBR - When asked what colour she wanted her bike painted Ipswich Eagles Cycle Speedway Club's chocolate lover Chloe Pearce chose the purple as used by Cadbury and asked for her name to be added using the same typeface as the company (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Ipswich Cycle Speedway Club junior, and chocolate lover, Chloe Pearce chose the same purple and typeface used by Cadbury when having her bike sprayed. “I just love purple. I don’t know what it is about the colour I just love it, and I am known for loving chocolate, so I really like Cadbury’s, so I just liked the idea of purple and gold. It just goes so well with me.”

14 JUN 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Cycle speedway bikes being carried from the track on a car rack after the Elite League fixture between Ipswich Eagles and Poole Comets at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

14 JUN 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Cycle speedway bikes being carried from the track on a car rack after the Elite League fixture between Ipswich Eagles and Poole Comets (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Her plan to have the bike painted as the London Underground map the next time however has been shelved. “I don’t think it would suit it. It is too low a surface area to be covered by that sort of thing.”

Whilst the paint scheme for bikes is down to the individual, the official rules are very specific about what is permissible when riders are building a bike in order to avoid parts being included that may injure other riders or damage bikes during racing. The result is a very stripped back bike when compared to a modern road or even a track bike.

Even to the uninitiated the most obvious distinction from the bikes used in other disciplines are the handlebars that face back on either side of the rider and which these days tend to have only a little rise. A closer look at the bike and one will also notice the lack of brakes, the fixed gearing, straight forks and, plastic block style pedals with maybe sandpaper covering the surfaces so to increase the grip with the riders shoes.

Designed to be strong enough to handle the inevitable contact of racing the frames are kept light and compact to make handling easier as the rider sprints, and negotiates the track’s tight bends, whilst having three other riders breathing down their neck.

Whilst many clubs have spare bikes available for people to try the sport, and often even as they start to become more involved, there generally comes a time when riders see the benefit of being able to tweak the set up of a bike to suit their personal riding style, strengths and weaknesses.

09 JUN 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - Phil Clarke (left), Adam Peck (centre) and Ashley Hill (right) repair a bike during an Ipswich Cycle Speedway Club training session at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

(PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

09 JUN 2015 – IPSWICH, GBR – Phil Clarke (left), the Ipswich Cycle Speedway Club “Spanners”, Adam Peck (centre) and Ashley Hill (right) repair a bike during an training session at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain

Being such a small market there is only a limited number of specialist cycle speedway bike stockists. Currently the bikes from Archie Wilkinson in West Bromwich in Great Britain are the most common but those from Pedal Power based in Ipswich, Great Britain, and Mielec in Poland are also finding favour amongst riders. Prices vary but a new steel framed bike can be bought for around £200 with Archie Wilkinson listing their top end alloy model at £580. Their bikes for juniors start at £175.

17 MAY 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - The single gear on the back wheel of Matt Hill's cycle speedway bike at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED) (NIGEL FARROW/COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW : www.nigelfarrow.com)

17 MAY 2015 - IPSWICH, GBR - The single gear on the back wheel of Matt Hill's cycle speedway bike at Whitton Sports and Community Centre in Ipswich, Suffolk, Great Britain (PHOTO COPYRIGHT © 2015 NIGEL FARROW, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

If money is tight then there are alternatives. “You don’t have to buy a brand new one, you can buy secondhand. There’s always second hand bikes to buy,” says Ipswich rider Ashley Hill.

In particular the old bikes of younger riders, who at stages of their development may outgrow frames almost as fast as their clothes, will be advertised for sale on websites if one of their younger team mates hasn’t already persuaded their parents to buy it.

“They last as long as you maintain them really,” says Hill. “They are just the basic frame, you can always replace the parts. I tend to change a few bits on mine every season just to make it look a bit different, your individual look sort of thing.”33:18 has become so accepted as the cycle speedway “standard” ratio of the fixed gearing on which all other combinations are based that it makes the website 3318News immediately recognisable to riders as being about their sport. However whilst only having the one gear available throughout a meeting, riders with experience may set their bike up beforehand for a different gear set combination based on their knowledge of the track and the competition.

Though modern bikes may be lighter and the set up more tactical, with their metal frames, fixed gear and no brakes they are still not such a far cry from the ‘scrapyard’ ones used when the sport began in the late 1940′s.


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