If you thought you knew all about the events held for the Olympics, you thought wrong. Making its appearance once again after its debut in London four years ago, a new event known as Keirin, had people wondering what in the world was happening on the race track, while simultaneously attempting to pave the way for something different.
Starting a New Tradition
No event is fun when it doesn’t have something new to bring to the fore. This is why this year’s Olympics had people sitting up and taking notice when the unusual cycling event known as the Keirin began to take place. The Men and Women’s Keirin which took place at the Rio Olympic Velodrome, on the 16th and 13th of August respectively, was not something familiar and therefore raised questions as to what was happening.
However, it was soon discovered that the Keirin was not some sort of performance that was being held but another competition that was being held. Most spectators were unsure as to why there was a motorcycle on the cycling track. Was it part of the competition or was the event just trying to pave the way toward something different?
Unveiling the Mystery – The Idea behind the Motorcycle
While not many are aware, the Keirin is a race which involves covering 5.5 laps of the track riding a motorcycle along with an additional sprint of 2.5 laps to reach the finish.
The motorcycle that heads the race is commonly known as the “derny.” It is a motorbike that is specially designed so that it has pedals along with a chain, just like the traditional bicycle. Although initially powered by gas, this motorbike has now become electric for environmental reasons. Despite being quite similar to a bicycle, the derny is capable of picking up speed as and when needed. In fact, this sudden accelerating and decelerating help to make sure the cyclist are up to speed.
Yes, the idea is similar to having a cycle in an automobile race, which is why it is considered quite unusual but the trend certainly seems like it is going to stick. You always see the derny rider sitting upright in order to break the wind for the riders following him.
How it all goes down
Having its inception in Japan, the word Keirin translates to “racing wheels.” Although it was initially held as a betting sport, Keirin has managed to make its way into the Olympics, paving the way toward something different.
For this event, the cyclist follows the derny for the first five and a half laps, trying to position themselves in the most advantageous manner and prepare themselves to make a quick launch for the finish line in the remaining two and a half laps. In this final sprint, after the derny leaves, the cyclists even reach speeds of even 50 mph.
All in all, this fast-paced race is quite exciting to watch, once you know how it works. Of course, the sort does seem to have its quirks but once you look past those, it does seem like the Keirin is paving the way toward something different.