If you have ever spent any time wandering through the Midtown area, you have probably seen the Morley Field Sports Complex. This treasure has plentiful tennis courts, a public pool, baseball fields and a hidden gem in the heart of the Balboa Park complex: the San Diego Velodrome.
I used to ride my dirt bike here as a kid in the late '70s and loved to watch the bike racers jam around the perimeter, yelling at each other and occasionally going down hard. It was unfamiliar to me, but I knew it was awesome.
The San Diego Velodrome is only one of three velodromes in all of the Southwest. If you've ever watched this event in the Olympics, chances are good that one of those American bicyclists has ridden here at one time or another.
Although amateurs can check out the track from the outside, if you want to ride on it, you need to check out the Velodrome Association, which manages the track and sets the training schedule.
Bicyclists at the San Diego Velodrome.
What you'll need
Tennis or running shoes
Light snack or energy bar
San Diego Velodrome
Address: 2516 Pershing Drive, San Diego
The San Diego Velodrome Association provides detailed development programs for riders of all ages and abilities while providing one of the longest and most diverse race schedules in the U.S. Both local rookies looking to try a new sport and nationally ranked Olympic-level riders are welcome to train in this unique environment.
The SDVA offers a variety of clinics for beginners and women on track racing, and it has exciting weekly races that are free to the viewing public. Every week from the middle of April until the middle of September, the association puts on the Tuesday Night Racing series featuring fast and experienced riders. This crew is the real deal and hits speeds of 40 mph.
Want to get off the bleachers and give it a shot yourself? No worries, the association has an introductory class for those older than 17 that takes to the track from 7 to 9 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday. This level one class will show you everything you need to know about navigating the steep walls of the velodrome, from learning how to enter and exit the track safely to riding pace lines and everything in between.
Have a child who wants to give it a try? Free classes are available from 4 to 6 p.m. every Monday for riders ages 8 to 16. If you don't have a track bike for your young jammer, don't worry, the track has some you can use for free. Visit soon and make sure you take time to check out this San Diego secret.
As a lifelong San Diegan, Ken Lewis has surfing and ocean life in his DNA. A 30-year surfer himself, Lewis has worked in the surf and skate industry for most of his career. Send him thoughts about the surfing and fitness worlds to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram @hanger18.