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Home » PEOPLE AND PLACES in NH » NEW HAMPSHIRE (all topics) » Is Cycling the Next Big Thing?
Is Cycling the Next Big Thing?

The Northeast Velodrome & Cycling Park, Londonderry, New Hampshire

By Mark B. Oliver | May 09, 2012

With traffic congestion, pollution, child and adult obesity on the rise, could a return to the once popular sport of cycling help our environmental and fitness recovery?

A former Audi sales representative, Jeff Palter left the automobile industry behind when in January 2006 he acquired the Cycle Loft in Burlington, Massachusetts from the retiring founder owner.   The store has gone from strength-to-strength in the last three years.   In April 2010, Jeff took his love of cycling to a new level when he acquired the Northeast Velodrome and Cycling Park, in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

The kernel of the idea came from Kurt Begemann; a former colleague of Jeff’s who ran the Mellowdrome in Asheville, North Carolina.   Upon his return to the Northeast in 2008, Kurt suggested to Jeff the possibility of operating an indoor track in the area and with Kurt’s considerable experience (he had also run programs at the National Track Training Center, in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania) the idea didn’t seem such a huge leap from the cycling store after all.

“There are only two indoor tracks in the U.S., “ Jeff explains, “and one of these is in Los Angeles, so there are very few places where cyclists can ride all year in a safe environment.”

“Cycling was once called the ‘greatest invention ever’ and it is easy to see why.   If more people cycled traffic congestion would be reduced, child obesity levels would drop, the environment would benefit from reduced pollution and the general malaise and lack of fitness in our population could be addressed.” Jeff, with over twenty years experience in the cycling industry, speaks with both passion and authority.

The duo was introduced to the local track in New Hampshire in 2009 and immediately saw the value of it; when the opportunity arose to lease the property, the moment was seized.

“The advantage of a track, particularly for Junior riders, is that it provides a safe closed environment in which children can both hone their riding skills, and their parents know they will be safer than riding on public streets.   Cycling often attracts those youngsters that are not drawn to some of the better known sports so it also provides them with a different competitive outlet.”

The Velodrome, a former Go Kart track, was upgraded and an apron created to make it safer for riders and to enable them to take better use of the full width of the track.   Repainting lines, has allowed riders to take the curves at a greater speed and under more control as they can “sweep” around the corners as opposed to hugging the inside lane.

Further improvements came with the installation of electricity and the track length being increased from 318 meters to the sporting standard 333 meters.   Additional facilities were also enhanced at the Cycling Park, perhaps the most notable of which was the improvement of a BMX course.

Jeff and Kurt are working with schools and local youth projects to encourage participation in the sport, with their “Try the Track” clinics where 30 brand new bikes are available for participants.

Jeff hopes that cycling will make a vigorous comeback.   In its heighday, from around the turn of the century until the 1940’s and 1950’s, track racing was one of the country’s foremost sports with both Madison Square Garden and Boston Garden being built for the two main sporting attractions of the time, boxing and track cycling.

The advent of the automobile and the sports that remain popular today, pushed competitive cycling from the limelight, but with investment, enthusiasm and the encouragement of the next generation, Jeff and Kurt hope to lead the way to a healthier, more environmentally conscious lifestyle. Please see BikeReg.com and the Northeast Velodrome for more details.

All photographs that accompany this article are by and copyright Keith Tharp.   Keith can be contacted at keith@ChampionPhotoLLC.com and for more of his impressive work visit his website at www.ChampionPhotoLLC.com.


Northeast Velodrome and Cycling Park

29 Grenier Field Road, Londonberry, NH 03053

(781) 462 5633

Hours of Operation:

Tue – Thu: 4PM - 8:30PM

Sat: 9AM - 3PM

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