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Penrose Velodrome

Matt Harman and Kayce Shelton

They say that track racing is one of the most addictive types of bike racing. Over and over people say once you take a lap on the velodrome you’ll be hooked forever. Fixed gear culture has exploded over the past 10 years, and much of this popularity can be attributed to things like the allure of the bike messenger, the aesthetic of the fixed gear bike and the ability to customize it. Most riders aren’t familiar with the roots of the track bike and racing on the velodrome, and St. Louis is no different. Until now.

St. Louis’ Penrose Park Velodrome has been around since 1962 and has birthed both national and Olympic champions. Until recently the Penrose Park Velodrome has been a hidden jewel in St. Louis reserved for riders in the know. On Thursday nights you will find a tight knit group of racers competing in low key but highly competitive races until the sun goes down. The velodrome has no lights, plumbing, parking lot, bathrooms or bleachers. The first sign went up last week at the entrance to the track.