Strong Backs, Weak Minds: The Saga of the Coney Island Velodrome

Starting tonight, cycling and history fans in the New York City area (and beyond) have the chance to get a glimpse into the past—when cycling was huge and going down to the local velodrome was considered normal entertainment.

Strong Backs, Weak Minds: The Saga of the Coney Island Velodrome, is a unique exhibit detailing the history of New York’s last commercial velodrome. The exhibit runs tonight (April 8th) through June 30th at The Old Stone House in Brooklyn.

The Coney Island Velodrome opened on July 19, 1930, as the world slipped toward the Great Depression and war.  Already, the popularity of cycling, having peaked in the early 1920’s, was waning and the construction of a 10,000 seat bicycle racing arena was an act of supreme optimism.  Regardless, the track became the last velodrome in America offering the thrills and chills of motor-paced racing, where riders raced behind motorcycles to attain speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour. Many of the people who became instrumental in promoting cycling in New York in subsequent years cut their teeth on this track, and the Coney Island Velodrome was the last time in the city’s history where cycling was a indispensable part of daily life.

This unique exhibit, held in what looks to be a very cool and historic building, promises to showcase bicycles that were actually raced on the track, photos, old programs and tickets, as well as other bits and pieces of memorabilia. The event is put on by The New York Bike Jumble, an organization dedicated to celebrating the influence that NYC has on cycling, as well as promoting cycling as an integral and permanent part of life in New York.

Admission to the event is only $3, so there’s really no reason you shouldn’t check this out. Click here for more info.

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