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VITAL STATS l DISTANCE: 250 m l SURFACE: Concrete l BANK: 28º l BUILT: 1961

The Encino Velodrome is one of those places that will always be quietly legendary. The concrete surface is punctuated by patched up cracks just below the rail, scars of the perpetual maintenance done to keep the track in riding condition. Faded blue bleachers glisten in the sun and glow under the floodlights, recently restored just in time for the season’s start.

Built in 1961 on land leased from the Army Corps of Engineers, the 52 year-old outdoor track was founded by four bike shop owners in the San Fernando Valley area: Charlie Morton, George Garner, Jack Kemp and Bob Hansing. Hansing, who had gotten his first taste of track riding in Japan during his Navy tour, would be the one to pose the “what if” question, setting the wheels in motion. (Hansing would later go on to found Euro Asia imports and head Shimano America in the 1970’s, while Garner’s Valley Cyclery would become the model for Schwinn’s “Total Concept” stores.) The group formed the Southern California Cycling Association (now SCNCA) to build and run the velodrome, electing Morton, a member of the 1936 U.S. Olympic cycling team, as president.