Beyond Velodrome: High Risk Fixed-Gear Bike Race Comes to Bushwick Church

By Meredith Hoffman on March 21, 2013 7:29am 

BUSHWICK — He's zipped through lines of speeding Fifth Avenue cabs on training runs, but Ted Teyber says the real risk comes Saturday when he races his fixed-wheel bike on the "world's smallest velodrome."

"It has tighter turns at a high speed so there are more crashes," said Teyber, 25, of the wooden "mini drome" track Red Bull is installing in a former Bushwick church.

"Right after I signed up, I signed a waiver and then I watched videos of all the crashes... I was nervous at first, but you have to be confident in your biking skills."

Teyber is facing off against 99 other cyclists in 10 laps around the "mini drome" as part of an event tour that's already been to cities including Tokyo and London, according to Red Bull's website.

"I've never raced in Bushwick. And, definitely, racing in a church is going to be unique," said Teyber, who plans to don his "lucky beer socks" with giant beer cans on the back. "There's something magical about being under stained glass."

Teyber, a California native who lives on the Upper East Side, said each contestant takes to the track for a mere two minutes. But the music-filled fixed-gear party will last all day and night, organizers said.

"I'll be launching a T-shirt cannon," said co-host Tony Blahd, who said he hopes to shoot shirts out of a cannon in the church while Roberta's Pizza serves up drinks and fresh pies from its mobile pizza oven.

"We'll have a complimentary bike valet so if you ride your bike there, we'll put it indoors and give you a tag."

Blahd — who co-runs the Bobby Redd project that has been leasing the church space and has a five-member team competing in the race — said he expected about 1,500 fans at the free event. Screens around the defunct St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church will display live footage of the track, from the qualifying rounds to the finals late at night.

"We have pretty high expectations of this...particularly our dark horse Ted Teyber," Blahd said.

"He's a member of our team and a crowd favorite."

But even though Teyber has raced since he was a kid, the law student said he was sure the international field of contestants was sure to give him strong competition.

"I was just talking to my mom about how she'd drive me to the BMX track in Southern California when I was 12," laughed Teyber of his first days racing.

"As you get older there just aren't as many opportunities to ride in a competitive atmosphere."

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