We need Keirin Racing in America

If you are not familiar Keirin is a type of track racing where a pacer leads a group of track cyclists around increasing speed until only about 2 laps are left.  This prevents any one rider from having to break wind while getting up to speed and also prevents tactical manuevers.  Keirin is really popular in Japan, not only as a spectator sport but even more so as a form of gambling.  15 billion dollars gambled a year on keirin’s in Japan.  Here’s a great collection of pictures from Japan’s Keirin history.

Let me say I’m not real big on gambling, but that sounds pretty cool to me, I’d love to spend an afternoon hanging out down at the local velodrome posting bets and gathering intel on the racers.  Even more I’d like to be one of those racers ripping around a track at 70 km per hour.  The closest velodrome to me Penrose Park in St. Louis and at 3 hours away I’m not scrambling to get a fixed gear track bike.

In my own tiny town of Harrisburg we have soccer fields, football fields, many many indoor and outdoor basketball courts, bowling alley, roller skating rink, an excellent foot track,  an archery range. a swimming pool, and drag strip.  Why can’t someone build a 250 meter banked track for me to ride my bike around real fast.

Bowling, really, think about how lame that is.  A whole building and complex machinery so that people can roll a ball down a lane and knock over some crap.  An entire sport where you can spend 90% of your time on your rear drinking?  In cycling you can spend 100% of your time on rear, and put whatever you want in your water bottle.  Americans love being seated, they hate walking, they like stuff with wheels.  Why isn’t cycling more popular?

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About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
This entry was posted in Barn Door Cycling, Rants, Stories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to We need Keirin Racing in America

  1. Steve says:

    Cycling used to be incredibly popular – more popular than baseball or any sport except boxing. You could get incredibly rich as a professional cyclist and the money was better in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. The track discipline known as Madison is named after Madison Square Garden, where it was incredibly popular. The question, then, is not why isn’t cycling more popular, but why isn’t cycling as popular as it used to be?

    I’ve heard several loosely-related reasons, involving the Depression, WWII, evil-doers in the automotive industry, and urban sprawl. Then one day, mountain bikes were invented and cycling was saved in America. One of these days I’ll try to knit them together into a cogent explanation of the death of cycling in America.

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