Brooklyn's Redbull Velodrome


Turbo Monkey
Apr 8, 2006
New York City
Warning!!! Fixie and hipster content


Over the weekend, cyclists flocked to a temporary velodrome in Bushwick for a fierce bike battle between fixed-gear speed riders. Over 1,500 spectators packed into a repurposed church on Bushwick Avenue to catch the action—100 riders, both local and international, tested their skills on the miniature wooden velodrome to win the title and $1,000 cash prize.

The event, hosted by Manhattan bike-and-gear shop owner Dave Ortiz (Dave's Wear House) and sponsored by Red Bull, kicked off with a tough qualifying round. A diverse crowd of riders, sponsored by local bike shops and venues like Bike Smith, Brooklyn Machine Works, Kinfolk and Roberta's, attempted ten laps around the mini drome in hopes of making it into the next round. Skilled riders sped around the track easily, but for many, the course was hard to navigate. A number crashed their bikes, skidding down the sides of the track; some teetered dangerously on the velodrome's rim, and one went over (he was okay, but he did punch a hole in the velodrome when he was disqualified).

Eventually, the crew was whittled down to the top 32, at which point riders raced each other two-by-two, swooping around the mini drome at top speed (about 30mph). The competitors were eventually knocked down to four for the semi-finals. Unfortunately, no local riders made it to the finals; hometown favorite and celebrated NYC courier Austin Horse was eliminated before the semi-finals, and UES rider Ted Teyber didn't even make it into the top 8. The title went to Florida native and celebrated winner Addison Zambawa; his buddy, Latvian rider Toms Alsbergs, came in second place, and Netherlands rider Stefan "Fish" Vis took 3rd.

But there were no hard feelings among the eliminated, many of whom ride together regularly. "Everybody here knows everybody," a rider named Josh, who preferred to be identified only by his first name, told us before the race. "We're just doing it for fun." And Horse noted the mini drome was one of many small fixed-gear races that take place in the city year-round. "One of the things that is robust within bike culture is mini, mini events," he said. "It's spring, it's starting to warm up, so this is sort of the kick-off to riding your bike in New York City."

Also in attendance was Edwin De La Rosa, a celebrated BMX rider. De La Rosa's team sponsored a few riders, and as a native Brooklynite—De La Rosa was raised in Flatbush and Crown Heights—he recognized the significance of holding the event in the borough. "I moved to Bushwick when I moved out of my parent's house in 2004, and me and my friends were like the first wave of gentrification on our street," De La Rosa said. "It's changed a lot."

Red Bull Mini Drome final race in Brooklyn, March 23rd, 2013 on Vimeo
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