The most talked-about venue in the U.S. cycling world is about to open right here in Detroit. The 64,000-square-foot, $4 million Lexus Velodrome will host a Grand Opening race weekend January 26 and 27. Curbed stopped by for a sneak preview of the racing and fitness facility.
Led by Dale Hughes, Executive Director of the Detroit Fitness Foundation and velodrome-designer, the indoor multi-sport complex was built on Tolan Playfield in Midtown. The site was named in 1968 to honor Thomas Edward Tolan, Cass Tech graduate and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, who was the first African American man deemed the “World’s Fastest Human.”
Hughes has built more than 20 velodromes around the world.
The Lexus Velodrome has three fields of play: the cycling track itself; an infield for spectators (with concessions) and for cyclists to prepare to ride; and a track around the perimeter for jogging, walking, and skating. This outer area will also have a corner for fitness classes and a weight room.
The velodrome will offer a variety of classes, including many opportunities for novice cyclists to try out the track. It’s not a track for a normal bike; these bikes are available to rent at the velodrome. They’ll offer a Class 101 for those just starting out, up to Class 301, which will prepare people to race.
Races will take place on the weekends, and once a month, they’ll be shown on the local PBS station. Races will also be live-streamed. Suites are set up within the infield for race events; tickets to get in the door are $10, and suites—which seat up to 10—are available for $150. Spectators can also watch from above on the upper rim of the track.
General fitness classes will be offered during the week as well. Although prices aren’t set yet, they’ll align with fees through the Northwest Activity Center. They’ll also offer free kids classes and free senior walking times.
Hughes says they’re hoping to spark the interest of local kids, and they hope to create future Olympians at this site. The first races are set for January 26 and 27, while the venue opens to the public for fitness on January 30th. Here’s a look around.