Finally! Boulder Indoor Cycling, Colorado’s first indoor velodrome, opened in January. It’s only the second indoor facility in the USA and a huge win for fans of track cycling. Especially us East Coasters… we’ve been riding down the boulevard of broken dreams for years. From Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, plans for an indoor track have blossomed like Spring flowers and then quietly wilted away. Boulder’s success gives us renewed hope.
This Nor’easter melodrama began in 2003 when Northampton Cycling Club acquired the dismantled Vandedrome for $1. Despite efforts by some of New England’s finest, it sat in a warehouse collecting dust for five years. Then in July 2008, Major League Cycling – a bunch of Amish farmers from Lancaster, PA – acquired it with grand plans to tour across the country. Okay, I can’t attest to their cultural and religious beliefs but with the exception of Jon Chodroff, isn’t everyone from out there an Amish farmer? As much as I want them to succeed, I have no idea how those plans are coming along but this page does not suggest we’ll see a rebuilt Vandedrome on tour anytime soon.
Oh, how the plot thickened in late 2006 thanks to Dave Chauner’s group in Philadelphia. After they announced plans to build an indoor velodrome near Valley Forge, I was ready to load a U-Haul and move back to Philly. Hell, I even registered for (though never took) the PA Bar exam. Yeah, $800 down the crapper! Last I heard, they’re shopping for a new location after losing the old space due to a lack of financing. Thanks to Bill Clinton, Fannie Mae and George W. Bush for totally f’ing our economy and squashing what seemed to be a dream come true.
Don’t fret, New England, there’s still hope. Tony Eberhardt and Laurie Daley of the New England Velodrome in Manchester, NH have whispered about building an indoor track for several years. I haven’t spoken to them in months, but knowing Tony, he’ll never throw in the towel on that dream. And he can do it with some help.
So it looks like this story may still have a happy ending. But we can forget about any municipal funding for at least a few years; it’s gonna’ take private money to do it. In Boston, it’ll cost you anywhere from $75 to $200 monthly for a gym membership. Surely it’s cheaper in the burbs, but you’re still gonna’ plunk down at least $30 per month.
So my question for all you New England cyclist is this: how much would you pay for monthly access to an indoor velodrome? Sure, it would make sense to have different membership levels based on how frequently you go or peak versus off-peak hours. But let’s keep it simple for now; assume the track is within a half-hour drive and you’d want access all year long. How much would you pay to play? Please respond by commenting below. With some luck, the feedback might actually make a difference really soon.
Meanwhile, congratulations and thanks to Paul Wells and the gang in Boulder for actually making it happen. You’ve given us New Englanders hope that we too can have an indoor velodrome.