Posts Tagged ‘Dorais velodrome’

Detroit pursuing improved bike upgrades at Dorais Park

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Riding the Dorais velodrome in Detroit

One of those is the Farwell/Dorais Park. The city will be applying for a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant to match their $125,000 contribution.

As you may know, Dorais is home to an old concrete velodrome built by the Wolverine Cycling Club in 1969. The city was looking into options for restoring it by having used bikes for sale. Dale Hughes came in to offer his advice. Hughes is an international expert on velodrome construction and his father-in-law, Mike Walden built the Dorais track.

His advice was it’s beyond repair. It would be easier to build a new one.


Water began seeping through some seams early on, which caused the sand base to erode. That erosion led to small cracks. When cars and motorcycles starting riding on the track, the cracks became far more substantial. The cracks are larger enough that one could not simply lay down a thin layer of blacktop.

Besides, the track has an irregular design. It was surveyed prior to grading but vandals removed half of the survey markers. With no time to redo the surveys, the north oval was made using an outstretched garden hose.

Despite the defect, this track still produced hundreds of national champions and even world champions.

But unfortunately the replacement cost far exceeds what the city can provide, not to mention the cost of programming the track. So, the city instead plans on doing some additional patchwork to fill some of the large, tire-sucking seams.

New Trails

The majority of funding would go towards a crushed stone trail around the park, a singletrack climb up Derby Hill, a multi-use, banked downhill, and more.

If you want to provide comments , you can this Wednesday at a public hearing or via writing the Recreation Department. The details are below: (more…)

Mower Gang to tackle old Dorais Velodrome

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

The Mower Gang, a self-professed “greatest gang of idiots to ever run a lawn tractor” is spending this Friday at 10AM to clean up the Dorais Velodrome. The velodrome is northeast of E. Outer Drive and Mound Road in Detroit. You need to walk into the park in order to see the track itself.

Or just listen for the sound of mowers on Friday.

According to Tom Nardone, the gang’s founder:

This Friday, August 6th, a couple of friends and I (the first official members of the Mower Gang) are going to attempt to revive Detroit’s abandoned Velodrome (banked bicycle racing track). The track is really overgrown, and needs some work, but since no one has used it in years, It should be a great project for us.

In fact, at around 5PM, the Detroit Free Press will be there to shoot some video of people playing on the track. If anyone wants to show up it would look good for all of us. People would find out about the Mower Gang ( and it would be fun. When else are you going to get to run hot laps around a huge banked oval?

Their web site notes that anyone is welcomed to join in.

All you have to do is show up to any of our events and bring some type of grass annihilation machine with you.

Detroit bike shorts

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The Hub seeks a Youth Educator

Want a green job? The Hub of Detroit is looking to hire a Youth Educator and they want to start interviewing this week.

This summer is already here at the HUB. We are BUSY! This week is the last week for kids in Detroit Public Schools which means we are going to get even more kids around the shop than we already have. This is great! Also, we have news of a shop in Southwest that some kids are starting up and getting underway along with some schools on the north side that want to start bike clubs. With this much going on we need to hire a youth educator.

This job will include working with youth off site at their schools to help start up shops and educating kids on how to fix up their bikes, working with our Mechanics in Training at our shop and being around on Saturdays for our Youth Earn-a-Bike sessions.

So if you have bike mechanical knowledge, experience with youth and like doing both together then send a resume as quick as you can to jack(at)

Talking about urban mountain bike parks

A recent segment on National Public Radio talked about Cleveland’s turnaround — including Ray’s MTB indoor park.

BOBKOFF: Dan Kildee of the national nonprofit Center for Community Progress is an expert on revitalizing vacant and abandoned properties. He says city leaders tend to ignore the little projects like a mountain bike park or an urban garden, instead focusing on huge, splashy plans.

Mr. DAN KILDEE (Center for Community Progress): Build a great big casino complex. Build a great big convention center.

BOBKOFF: Cleveland has advanced plans to build one of each.But Kildee says cities need lots of little projects to turn around former manufacturing capitals like Cleveland and Detroit. Some ideas will fail, others will take off.

We made a suggestion to the Russell Industrial Center folks. They have plenty of space for an indoor mountain bike park — far more than Ray’s — and on-site food and super convenient highway access (I-75 at I-94). With a little grant money for capital investment, this seems like a good bet.

Dorais Velodrome

The web site DetoritUrbex has a little history, including some recent photos of the old Dorais Velodrome near E. Outer Drive and Mound Road. A great deal of cycling history was made at Dorais, much of it was captured in the Mike Walden/Wolverine Sports Club documentary, Catch the Wind.