What to know about competition roller races...

For those of your who aren't familiar with a roller race or if you've never seen or ridden on rollers here's a quick run down of what you can expect to see this Sunday! Competition roller races go as far back as the early 1900's and were used for exhibition racing, parties at cycling clubs and pretty much just a great way to entertain a crowd of rowdy drunken cycling fans.

This is a picture of Champion racer Loretta Burke in 1948 showing off her talents by riding on her Chrome Schwinn Paramount track bike and taking off her skirt while shes spinning. Sexy sexy

The set up we are using for The Great American Shootout are on loan from Dave Perry who owns Bikeworks NYC. Dave Perry is a NYC cycling icon and a purveyor of old school cycling awesomeness and these are a great example of a one of a kind cycling relic. Dave bought these Barelli Quadrulet Competition Rollers with Dial Face at a Sotheby's auction in 2000 and needless to say they are super rare.

Dave spent some time fixing the rollers and making sure they work correctly. With a bit of adjustment and some tweeking they were ready to go. Since then Dave has hosted or loaned out his rollers for all of the major competition events in NYC for the past ten years.

The obscurity of this mechanical set up is really what gives them their character. Rather than starring at a computer screen or projected image, Dave's set up is a simple stop watch dial with huge colored arrows which match each roller. The rollers are also a thing of beauty, they're buttery smooth with large drums and elastic rubber bands but don't fall off of them or you are going down fast! No fork mounts, no one holding you up, its just you and the rollers vs. the guy next to you. Did I also mention they go four up!

Check out these pictures from past events. I couldn't find any recent pics, but these will do just fine.

Kevin "Squid" Bolger looking mean in 2003 in Philly. Squid is one of NYC's OG messengers and he's a founder of Cyclehawk messenger co and the NYBMF a non for profit org set up to help messengers. photo by Amy Bolger

John John Cailuette on his (super rare) purple 3Rensho which he got in Japan in the early 90's.

Affinity's own Andrew Lacorte in 2004. hahahahahaha thats all I have to say!

In 2007 NYVelocity held the "Love Crank" event where doper turned snitch Floyd Landis hung out and got down with the racing. Cupcake took hom the big check for the guys and Arone Dyer took the ladies event.

So there you have it, the one thing none of these pictures capture is the madness that ensues rom the crowd while each of these races are going down. That's where you all come in! See you this Sunday for The Great American Shootout. Many Thanks to Dave Perry and BikeWorks NYC for loaning us the rollers. Much of the info from this post is taken from Bikeworks, check out more here.

Transportation Alternatives will be on site doing free bike valet for everyone! Don't Steal Bikes Bro!! Come hang out worry free of your bike getting jacked! See you Sunday!