Velodrome La Cipale

On two Saturdays, October 18 and 25, 1997, I rode on the city of Paris' municipal velodrome, La Cipale, in the Bois de Vincennes at the southeast edge of Paris. The velodrome is also called the Jacques Anquetil velodrome and there is a bas-relief of the the three Pélissier brothers at the entrance. This velodrome has historic significance in European pro racing, since many road races finished there.

For me to get there, it takes 45-60 minutes and one transfer on the metro, after which I have to walk a few blocks, all while carrying the track bike and a day pack. It's interesting watching people look at me and the bike on the metro.

To ride on this track, you must have a track bike and the appropriate license When I registered, I pulled out my three licenses (USAC international, USCF, and FFCT) and asked which one they preferred. They accepted my USAC international license. It used to cost 17ff per month, but went up to 20ff in November, 1997. That's still less than $5US per month.

The velodrome is 500 meters around and I don't know the degree of the banking. The straights are very long and flat, and the whole track is wide. The finish line is at the end of the straight just before turn 1, going into the wind. The 200 meter line is just past turn three.

I haven't figured out an efficient way to do a flying 200. It does not seem possible to use the banking to accumulate speed, since you are going up the banking when you hit the 200 meter line. The straight between turns 2 and 3 is so long that you lose any advantage you get coming out of turn 2. Any suggestions?

The velodrome is open all day every day except holidays. I was the only person on the track for most of the time on Oct. 18th and all of the time on the 25th. It's fun, though boring after an hour or two all alone, but there are no cars, which counts for a lot in Paris.

Return to Bicycling à la Française

Barbara Leonard