Back in 2014 I made this post on my bike business website about building the Bowl of Death, a circular tiny velodrome at Artisan’s Asylum. Since I’ve closed that business and taken down the site, I’m reposting here for posterity.
December was cold, the shop was slow, and I had a problem to solve. I wanted to ride my bike inside, but not on rollers. I wanted to try riding on a track. I wanted to have some friends over and have a bike riding party.
During a long train ride from Boston to Philly for Christmas, I did some CAD work and drafted a 25 foot diameter circular velodrome. By the first week of January, I had ordered plywood and 2x4s. Then Sus and Piranha set to work, with some guidance from my friend Pete.
They spray painted the patterns for the ribs on to ¾” plywood with a sheet metal stencil I made, and jigsawed out all the shapes.
After that, things really started picking up speed. They started to assemble the sections – 14 in all.
And once we put them all in a circle, we skinned the faces with plywood. It didn’t take long before some bmx test runs happened.
It turned out a little bigger than we thought, so now we have a 27 foot diameter circular velodrome. I’m calling it the bowl of death, because spectator faces are right at the top edge, and there’s no wall.
It’s a great test track and tons of fun to ride.