There is more to life than increasing its speed.

—-Mahatma Gandhi

Superdrome, Frisco, Texas

Superdrome, Frisco, Texas

Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. At least there is the fact that once you increase its speed past a certain point, all is a blur. There is a comforting mystery in a blur. Like a hummingbird’s wing – you can forget the delicacy and fragility… seduced and confused by the motion.

An object in motion tends to move out of the frame. Unless you manage to move the frame. Maybe the world deserves to be smeared across the concrete. It is softened but also obscured. Detail disappear; unseen patterns emerge. Is the truth better seen unfocused?

But who wants a clouded truth?

Swap Meet and Bicycle Porn

(Please excuse the title, but I have learned that the inclusion of the word “Porn” in a post title results in a lot more hits – a lot more)

Getting up before dawn on a Saturday off work to drive up to Frisco by 8AM is not something I usually do, unless I have to. But there was a big bicycle swap meet up on the infield of the Superdrome bike racing track and I wanted to give it a go. Since I had tickets to the Deep Ellum Brewery’s 1st Anniversary party downtown at noon – I knew I’d have to get the bicycle thing done quickly.

As I get back into riding after all these decades, I am working with two ancient bicycles. I have my Raleigh Technium road bike, which I bought around 1986, and my generic mountain bike, which I bought used a few years later. The technology used in these bikes is long out of date, but they still move when I push on the pedals, more or less.

I want a new bike, but they are so expensive. I have been thinking lately that I should be able to make do with what I’ve got. Still, I need some replacement parts and especially some accessories to help me make my way in the big city and get in the miles I want. New parts are not readily available for bikes that old and I don’t want to spend any more money than I have to – so a swap meet, where I can buy old, worn-out crap at stupid cheap prices is exactly what the doctor ordered. Since I’m now commuting to work and bumming around town – I need storage options on my bike – the more options, the more often I can work in a ride in my busy schedule.

It was cold as the sun peeked up over the steep bank of the Superdrome Track but once it did the day warmed quickly. I walked the circuit, looking at the tables, and slowly picking out what I wanted and what I could afford.

So what did I buy?

Vintage Raleigh Seat – $5
Cage Rocket Storage Pod – $5
Two matching silver bottle holders (my bike now has a pink and a purple one) – $5
Retro Profile for Speed Aero Bars (don’t need these – but always wanted a pair) – $10
New tiny cable lock (not extremely secure – but good for a quick trip into a store) – $5
Zefal Rack Pack (already finding this really useful) – $5
Bar ends (mine are all beat up from falls) – $5

Working now on getting this stuff cleaned up and installed. Now I need to get out there and ride.

Bicycle Swap Meet inside the steep walls of the Frisco Superdrome racing track.

(Click for a larger version on Flickr)

The bell for the last lap at the Frisco Superdrome racetrack.

Lots of buying and selling.

Bicycle Parts Porn

More bicycle parts porn

A beautiful bike is a work of art.

(Click for a larger version on Flickr)


I remember when the Superdrome was built, thirteen years ago. There were some interesting news articles about it.

The thing was up in Frisco, which, back then, was some small town way up north of the city. It didn’t take long for the Metroplex, which has been vomiting new developments out north across the cotton fields for decades, to swallow Frisco and now it’s another tony suburb between Plano and McKinney.

There was a time that I was a good bike rider. A very good bike rider. That was a long, long time ago. I never did learn to/get to ride on a track. Some friends of mine in college did, though I have no idea where the velodrome was, now that I think about it. I remember when one of them had his track bike go out of control on the steep slopes of Mount Oread – no brakes, no freewheel – and he had to steer across a lawn and into a hedge to stop.

I was old and fat before the Superdrome was built, though I still wanted to go out and see it. A friend from work rides there and he used to always bug me to take Lee up to the track and let him try it out. I was worried about letting Lee see the track. I knew he would love it and we couldn’t afford another expensive sport.

That’s not really true. I wanted to let Lee give it a shot, but there wasn’t enough time.

Now, after all these years, now that it’s far too late, I was able to drive out there after work and watch some races.

I wanted to take some pictures, but my good camera is still broken and I don’t have the money to get it fixed. I had to settle for a few quick snaps. It didn’t take long for the sun to set and the bikes to get faster and all that I had were blurs on the track.

The most startling thing about a velodrome, the first time you see one, is how steep the banked curves are. It looks suicidal to go up there on a bicycle. In the races, though, you see how the riders use the bank to control their speed, to slow for a second without losing momentum – they pick their speed back up when then roll back down the slope.


The ends of the oval track are high banked curves.

There are several division of riders: juniors, masters, Categories 1-4, women… they even took a break to let a toddler pedal around on a bike with training wheels (the announcer said, “250 meters is a long way to go when your legs are that short – this is a track, no coasting!”) – and they were all fun to watch.


The junior riders were the first ones out on the track.


While one class is racing, the next group warms up on the infield.

There were enough races to get a feel for how it goes, for the different types of race, and for the different classes of rider. I was the only true spectator there – everybody else was either riding or there to watch a family member.

I enjoyed going out there and will go back. I have no idea why it took me so long to get out there, even though it is a long, gas-guzzling drive from my house during a Friday rush hour. It was fun to watch, but I would give anything to be able to ride on those slopes, and it’s never going to happen now.