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The Comedown

Brad Quartuccio

“Scary the first time,” reported builder Stephen Murray after the initial few laps on the freshly constructed track. The artist, sculptor and cyclist was the driving force behind The Comedown, a figure-eight track that existed for a fleeting few weeks this fall in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Comedown is reminiscent of the 1990s Human Powered Rollercoaster that made a number of appearances in Toronto and Vancouver under the Dunhill Cigarettes sponsorship banner. Where the earlier HPR was large enough for two-up racing and funded by sweet ‘90s tobacco money, The Comedown was a single-file affair built to fit a limited indoor space and budget.

The idea for The Comedown came from the building of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome for the recent Commonwealth Games.

“We started riding on the velodrome once it was built and chatting about how it was made etc. Then the Red Bull Mini Velodrome came to Glasgow and my mate John Silvera who is a joiner and cyclist and all round good man raced on it (and folded his wheel and went flying off the side),” Murray said.

The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome wouldn’t be available to the public for the length of the games, and funding was announced from Creative Scotland to fund 20, £14,000 commissions for art projects related to the Games. One thing led to another and a quick proposal to make a minidrome for the public during the games was submitted. Murray continued, “A week later I was in the pub with John and Brian from Rig Bike Shop which is where all the couriers work from in Glasgow. Anyway Brian told me it was a shit idea to build a minidrome as the Red Bull one already exists