Merry Xmas From The Crank

The Crank gives us a lesson in how to obtain cycling equipment almost for free and get other club cyclists to set up the win for you.

How to succeed at the Track.

So you want to ride a track season. Why? Fitness? Skills? Social Networking?

What a waste. There is only one reason to go to the track. It is the same as why you go out on the road. TO WIN RACES. If you have any other motivation go back to your knitting Mary.

Well, for a lot of reasons you are probably already too late to do anything worthwhile. You need at least 9 months for the preparation… of other people. If I’ve been away from the track for a while here’s what I do.

First of all I go to the track and scope out someone who looks about my size and is a beginner. Then I befriend them… offer advice. Eventually I slowly gently demoralise them, they reach the conclusion that track is not for them. That way I pick up next seasons gear second hand at a good price…. while helping a friend.

While this is happening I seek out a couple of guys on the road, guys who are not afraid to do a turn. Over a series of training rides I can usually manage to convince one or two to take up pursuiting. I appeal to their ego and point out that no one can sit on during a pursuit. I offer to train them. After all I have been State Individual Pursuit Champion (sure as a 15 year old in the year only four riders showed up but who needs details?)

Of course I train them up, blunt their kick, have ‘em on huge gears but I don’t expect or care how they will go in the Pursuit. Pursuiting is for freaks, it’s not bike racing, it’s pain management.

Meanwhile I am working on my sprint.

It is not like the old days when you could invest a few weekends in bad performances in order to score an outrageous handicap at a big money race. Those were the days. I started 15 yards behind the scratch one year. That sounds tough until you work out that I was the front marker. I slipped him a pound or two to let me get on his wheel and I won in a way that meant I had to leave town before the formal presentation. Still, it’s MY NAME on the trophy.

So……. back to the matter at hand. I’ve worked on my sprint and I have trained up two guys who will reliably scorch down the last three or more laps with me on their wheel in any scratch race. Quick flick around … whose name on the trophy??

Best of all if you have had enough you can sell all your gear for a profit because you have been winning on it. Much better than seeing it chained to a pole outside a hipster pub in the Valley at 5am on a Sunday.

The Crank - "Much better than seeing it chained to a pole outside a hipster pub in the Valley at 5am on a Sunday."

The Crank - "Much better than seeing it chained to a pole outside a hipster pub in the Valley at 5am on a Sunday."


The Crank is the embodiment of archetypal cranky veteran bike riders, whose worn out bike riding stories are embellished each time they are recounted. Hard as nails The Crank is a devious scoundrel who rides roughshod over anyone who has the misfortune to meet him. This Crank story by John Caskey.