Grass roots racing is the lifeblood of our sport. For many individuals, a local grass roots race is the beginning of a journey that leads to a life of racing at the professional level. Track cycling is no longer getting sponsorship or the attention of the industry, except for a few committed companies. Yet, it is the segment of our sport that we see having the highest rate of adoption among youths. By a wide margin. The lower price point of track bikes and the presence of one indoor and two outdoor tracks in Southern California provide opportunities for kids to race bikes. To keep this opportunity available takes the work of many volunteers.
We spoke with one such volunteer, Henry Shibata, who helps instruct and run the evening training. When Henry lived in Japan, he attended a school dedicated to a type of track racing called “keirin”. Motivated by his passion for racing, he continues to help both juniors and adults who are the focused on sprint type events. Henry serves on the board of directors, works to keep the tracks running, and also runs multiple evening and early morning sessions. Youth memberships are $25 a month and beginner sessions are held weekly on Thursday evenings. – CR
On Thursday nights, the Encino Velodrome in Encino on Oxnard St. hosts the Youth and Junior Training Session for kids entering the sport through track racing. Find out more about the Encino Velodrome class offerings and racing opportunities at encinovelodrome.org.
Photos by Steve Cohen.