When Britain's world pursuit champion Graeme Obree developed a new riding
position and used a washing machine bearing to make a bike that enabled him
to break the world hour record, we celebrated his ingenuity as well as his
strength. It wasn't long, however, before the "Obree" riding position was
banned and firmer restrictions placed on the technical development of the
Since the early part of the twentieth century, the international cycle
racing community has attempted to limit the technological development of
racing bicycles. They have done this mainly to ensure that bicycle racing
is a test of the rider and not the machine. Apart from which, it is no
doubt unsettling having unknowns turning up to major cycling events with
some technological advance and winning against the big names. By strictly
limiting technological advances, governing bodies have been able to
maintain the reputation of their champions (who they need to pull the all
important crowds) and so ensure the continuing popularity of their sport.
Whatever the reasoning behind the restrictions, the result is that while
the rest of the world continues to make incredible technological advances
in so many fields of endeavor, road and track cyclists have been left far
behind. What remarkable forms would bicycles now take if that had not been
the case. How fast can human beings really go under their own steam? The
cycle events at these Fringe Games will help us find out.
In the Fringe Games, ingenuity and creativity will be rewarded as well as
strength, tactics and technique. The development of the bicycle will be
fostered by celebrating its technical excellence along with the power of
the human body and mind. While riders will win medals - gold, silver and
bronze - a special platinum medal will be awarded to the design team or
individual deemed to have made the most significant advance in cycle
The unrestricted 100m will reward those with an innovative mind as well as
world class strength and technique. Although none of the traditional
bicycle racing restrictions apply, sails and energy storage devices such as
flywheels will not be permitted. All elements of the vehicle must be
human-powered. Any number of riders are permitted on each cycle. A flying
start is permitted, but build-up is restricted to four laps. Men's and
women's categories apply. Qualifying times to be posted shortly.
In this one-on-one test of speed and ingenuity, riders will begin with a Le
Mans start from opposite sides of the track. After sprinting from the inside edge of the
track to their cycle on the outside edge, riders must mount it unaided.
First rider to complete 1000m wins. The same limited technical restrictions
as the unrestricted 100m apply. There will be a men's and a women's
category. Qualifying times to be posted shortly.
|1000m Individual Pursuit||Top|
In this dramatic team pursuit, all riders in a mixed team of four must
finish the full 10,000m. Teams will start from opposite sides of the track
with a standing start. The same minimal technical restrictions as in the
unrestricted 100m apply. Teams may choose to ride four individual bikes
or a single human powered vehicle, or any one of many other combinations.
Teams must weigh up the risk of a crash with the advantages of extremely
tight drafting formations or shared drive-chain systems. Qualifying times
will be posted soon.
The 400m hurdles pursuit may prove to be the most exciting cycling event of
the Fringe Games. After a standing start from opposite sides of the
velodrome each rider must complete one lap, with 10 hurdles to be jumped.
The hurdles will be 10cm, 20cm, 30cm, 40cm, 50cm, 10cm, 20cm, 30cm, 40cm,
and 50cm high. A time penalty will be given when riders knock hurdles over. The
hurdles will not be fixed solidly to the ground. Any type of bicycle may be
used. The hurdles may be jumped with a bunny-hop or cyclo-cross-style leap.
Riders may choose to knock over one or two hurdles rather than decelerate
for a clean jump. Men's and women's categories apply.
A dynamic mixture of observed trials and freestyle riding. Riders must
negotiate obstacles at their own pace without putting a foot down, called
"dabbing". Riders will also be scored according to the style with which
they clear the course (eg: pirouettes will improve a rider's score). Men's
and women's categories apply. A plan of the riding area will be posted in
the near future.
In this dramatic event, pairs of riders perform to music of their choice
for three minutes. A panel of judges will award points for style, technical
difficulty and interpretation. Many freestyle and observed trials skills
are used in synchronized cycling. This event will be held on a flat finely
mown grass circle 20 metres in diameter. There will be men's, women's and
mixed pairs categories.
The slalom relay gives countries or interest groups a chance to pool their
strongest and most skilled cyclists into representative teams.
Each individual from a four-person mixed team must complete the slalom
twice (from one end of the ground to the other and back).
The riding surface is grass.
There will be eight gates to negotiate.
While a strong sprint off the start line is important, the ability to carry
speed smoothly through each gate is critical.
As simple as the name implies, this race is a 100m sprint for unicycles of
any size. A standing start will be used throughout a series of heats
leading up to an eight-rider final. Very fast and furious. In addition to helmets, protective
padding on hands, elbows and knees will be mandatory. Qualifying times will
be posted soon.
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Updated 29 January 1999
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