For top, festive fun, follow the recipe and methodology below.
1 old bicycle – It must have a frame with a top tube or crossbar, and not a ladies step through style, and without a ‘fixed gear’.
1 roll of duct tape – silver or black.
1 cycling kit – jersey, long trousers, gloves, trainer-type shoes and a helmet of any type e.g. cycle, motorcycle, skiing, horse riding etc.
4 friends – any gender and at least 4 who are willing, capable and ready to follow this recipe. Any additional friends can be ‘the crowd’.
20 old jumpers/tank tops/shell suit jackets/road cones.
1 track – can be an area of dirt, grass, sand, shale, tarmac.
Sponsors – as many as possible – see methodology.
1-4 weathers – sunny with plenty of vitamin D is best, unless its a night event, although wet & windy is fine.
1 referee/starter person
1 camera person – with at least a video capable smart phone. GoPros attached to anything is also fine and a bonus.
1 nutrition pack – but can include beer or fruit juice (if people are under age).
2 cars – required for floodlighting of the circuit if it is a night event, and both must have good sound systems
Assorted & appropriate ‘energy music’.
1 clipboard or flipchart.
1 toolkit – with bike modification capability.
1 washing machine on stand-by and gentle soap.
1 kitchen, bedroom or shed.
1 tube of hand cream.
1 electronic device to watch cycle speedway races on YouTube.
1 ball of string.
1 big, fat bag of personal technique and confidence.
1 Highway Code book – make sure it still has the page in about ‘how to turn left’.
1. Email 4 friends and include in a nice invitation, the recipe, and ask them to confirm that a) they are up for it and b) that they have all of the ingredients. This way, you won’t be short of anything.
2. Put the old bicycle in the kitchen, bedroom or shed and arrange the toolkit just like a dentist would do, pre-dentistry. Remove everything so that you have a bike with no brakes, gears, mudguards, bell etc. If anything creaks or squeaks, oil it. FYI – For best results, slightly swept back handlebars, flat pedals with grips on them and smooth-ish tyres should be used. Push the seat down as low as it will go and wrap the duct tape around the nose of the saddle and the top tube/crossbar of the frame. This looks cool and gives more support to your inner thigh when ‘tipping it into corners’.
3. Have a green tea/juice/beer and watch cycle speedway on YouTube so you know what to do.
4. Read the bit in the Highway Code about left turns and ignore the bit about indicating.
5. Finalise your nutrition pack for the event and the post race recovery/celebration/consolation etc.
6. Put all riding kit in a bag. A full Pro-team kit isn’t cool and neither is fancy dress, so anything in between is fine. Remember, you need to do at least 3 fast laps per heat and you may ‘step off the bike’ at some point as well.
7. Number 7 makes the assumption that you have found a track site.
8. Turn up at the track early and put old jumpers/tank tops/shell suit jackets/road cones down to mark the inside of the oval track.
9. If its a night event, arrange the two cars so that the headlights provide ample race lighting. Also, the cars need to do sound checks as the music will be used for both generating crowd excitement and to fill in the gap between races when people are ‘fannying around’. Play assorted & appropriate energy music.
10. Make sponsors feel special. They only qualify to be a sponsor of they are a provider of juice (if under age), beer or food (food includes a fun Indian Banquet, Pizza etc, but definitely no sandwich triangles with the crusts cut off.
11. Ignore weather and crack on!
12. Ensure that the starter/referee person is in place, knows the rules, is well respected, sober and has good judgement, whilst not taking any crap from prima donna riders.
13. Use the string as your starting gate.
14. Ensure filming is organised. This is good for action replays, close calls and post-race bragging rights.
15. Apply hand cream where appropriate.
16. Break out the big bag of personal technique & confidence.
17. Start racing. Determine heats or best of 10 approach and put placings/results on the clipboard/flip chart.
18. Carry out the post race awards, party etc
19. Leave the race site as you found it as you may want to do it again.
20. Post event and once back home, hang the bike on your personal achievement wall. If you don’t have one of these, start one!
21. Put all riding kit, including trainers into the washing machine on standby and wash on a 30 degree wash so the colours don’t run and the glue holding your trainers together doesn’t melt.
22. There is no number 22………
All photos by the author