Cycle Racing, Training and Entertainment!
Thrills, chills and occasional spills are part of bicycle racing at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome, the only short, banked track for official bicycle racing in Illinois and one of about 25 in the country. For more than 40 years, the distinctive Velodrome has offered cycle racing, training and entertainment. The facility is named after a devoted cyclist and speed skater, the late Ed Rudolph, who served on the Park District Board of Commissioners for almost 30 years.
On Thursday nights in the summer, the Velodrome attracts top cyclists from the Midwest to weekly races, hosted by the Northbrook Cycle Committee. Racers use track bikes with fixed gears and no brakes. The Northbrook Bicycle Club offers training sessions, special events and Friday night races for amateur riders of all ages. And Northbrook residents can use the quarter-mile track when it’s not reserved for races, training or Park District events.
During the summer, about 200 riders take part in the Thursday night races, achieving speeds of up to 45 miles per hour. They’re also quick to point out the benefits of bike racing—fitness, increased confidence, concentration and camaraderie. Although cycling is an individual sport, competitors become friends when they’re off the bikes and support each other.
Speed, endurance, strategy, courage and the wind all play a role in the race to the finish line. The exciting chase often comes down to the wire, where a lone rider can break away from the pack, and everything can change in the final moments. Spectators enjoy a front-row seat at the action and share the exhilaration as they support the riders. The Northbrook Park District encourages everyone to visit the Velodrome and experience the excitement of racing up close.
Former Park District Commissioner Ed Rudolph helped design and build the bicycle track in 1960 with a perimeter for track cycling and a grassy infield for soccer games. During the winters, the Velodrome was flooded to create a speed skating rink and served as a practice rink for members of U.S. Winter Olympics teams. In the 1990s, the Park District ended that practice, due to the facility's inability to retain water, which seeped through the soccer field. The track's asphalt was resurfaced in 1989 and in 2004, and lights and seating have been added. Links to Affiliate pages for more info/ details on programs: