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Designing in Circles

Circulus is different than most velodromes. Not only is it small, it is also a complete circle with a mere 50 ft diameter. The structure is comprised of 39 pie-shaped pieces, each with two V-shaped legs that support the constant 45° slope of the track. The pieces bolt together and the weight and size keep the whole structure stable while riders take a spin around the track surface. There are no straight aways or flat sections to get started on. You need to hit the track with speed and accelerate if you are hoping to ride it. Turning a lap on Circulus is a crash course in friction, gravity, commitment and momentum.

I’ve spoken with Starr about the undertaking of Circulus a few times. Like the Toronto landscape artist John Consolati who designed the HPR, Starr really thought outside the box on his design. His labor of love gave us something truly unique that is a hell of a lot of fun to ride. When I asked him what the original inspiration for Circulus was, Starr recalls the following

“I can remember playing with Lego spaceships in the basement as a kid during cold Minnesota winters. I was obsessed with enacting high-speed crash landings in slow motion with lots of sound effects. I would sit on my knees and draw out the moment before impact for minutes, guiding the ship around me in a circle in quick passes, solving the problem of a small basement and lack of a mile-long straight landing strip. I was obsessed with imagining details and materials and stats of each craft. I kept an index card about each one on file in a recipe box so that I could refresh my memory on the gross weight of each craft and the number of crew on board before it circled around me during its approach sequence for landing. Whether it makes sense to anyone else or not, I see my gradual development of an obsession with bicycles as a direct continuation of my days playing with high-speed spacecraft in the basement. Imagining or experiencing the world as it passes rapidly around me has always been a source of fascination. I suppose it is a pretty common masculine fantasy. Maybe mine has just found a good outlet for activity and creation in bicycle racing and bicycle art projects like Circulus.

Legos and velodromes, it all make so much sense now.

Cane Creek