If you think riding a bicycle is exciting, imagine racing 40 miles an hour along steep curves without extra gears or brakes to stop you. This scene happens frequently at the Dick Lane Velodrome, Atlanta’s official home of track cycling. While this velodrome is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary, many Atlantans are unfamiliar with this hidden gem.
The Dick Lane Velodrome is located just eight miles south of downtown Atlanta, in East Point’s Sumner Park. Residents of East Point were inspired to create a velodrome after watching the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. The group saw the racers on the Radstadion Velodrome in Olympiapark and decided they needed their own track.
The course was completed in November 1974 at a cost of about $200,000. Some of the funds came from the Federal Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, the East Point Recreation Department, the State of Georgia, local civic groups, and East Point residents. Dick Lane, the namesake of the Dick Lane Velodrome, was a major fundraiser for the track. Lane was the Director of the East Point Recreation Department and a member of the Georgia State Legislature.
The Dick Lane Velodrome is a 1/5-mile track with 36-degree banked turns. In addition to the track and judges’ stand, it has a parking area, concession building, public seating, a picnic area, and restrooms. The track also offers equipment rentals. It is the only velodrome in the world with a green space containing a large oak tree and a creek running through the infield.
The East Point Velodrome Association, the non-profit group that manages and maintains the track, hosts a number of events throughout the year. Highlights include: Bicycle Safety Clinics, Beginner’s Program, Youth Cycling League, Advanced Training, Weekly Racing, and Pro Racing Series.
There are about two dozen active velodromes in the United States. The closest tracks to the Dick Lane Velodrome are in Ashville, North Carolina, Rock Hill, South Carolina, and Cooper City, Florida.
Know Before You Go
The track is accessible via the Sumner Park pedestrian gate during normal park hours. The vehicle gates are open during the velodrome’s scheduled programs.
There is a fee to race on the track, and some bicyclists will have to pass a certification course prior to using the velodrome.