- Chicago History
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Our Story – “If You Build It, They Will Come!”
The Chicago Velo Campus is a modern day “Field of Dreams.” A group of volunteers set their sights on building Chicago a destination for cycling. Less than one year into the dream, dozens of area youth and adult volunteers came together to Chicago’s South Side to construct an outdoor velodrome.
Transforming this once vacant lot located on the former U.S. Steel site into a vibrant reality, demanded 36 days of hard labor from passionate volunteers. The results are already having a dramatic impact on the community with hundreds of amateur and competitive cyclists spending time at the Chicago Velo Campus to hone their skills, and area youth embracing the sport through the Fix-to-Own program. Olympic talents are already being cultivated, area adults, children, and teens are exercising and finding passion through the sport of cycling. Elite riders are using the track to train and set new world records – there is truly something for everyone at the Chicago Velo Campus.
Lakeside Velo Works, Inc., a 166 meter wooden velodrome and community cycle shop, aims to promote the sport of cycling through youth educational programs, non-competitive riding, advanced training classes, and competitive events at the amateur, collegiate, and professional levels. Its vision is to make Chicago a mecca for world-class cycling by replacing its current 166 meter outdoor velodrome with a 250 meter Olympic-level indoor velodrome, training facility, and health club. The strategic location of the velodrome and cycle-shop as an intrigue part of the Lakeside Development on Chicago’s South Side makes the complex a centerpiece for future job creation and economic development in this often overlooked community.
The velodrome and cycle-shop at 8615 S. Burley is only the starting point of Chicago Velo Campus’s vision. This temporary structure is supported by nine metal undercarriage and utilizes Marine-grade plywood with “SkidGard” sandwich lamination to maintain maximum safety. Bicycles made specifically for the track featuring higher bottom brackets and fixed gears are available to rent at the facility. Elite and professional riders can reach up to 45+ miles per hour and juniors over 10 can reach speeds of 25+ miles per hour on the track. The comprehensive 1,400 square foot cycle-shop at Chicago Velo Campus houses our “Fix-to-Own” recycling program, Chicago Velo Campus gear, rollers and trainers where cyclists can continue their training during the winter months – all which help to broaden our reach in the community.
Our current projects at the velodrome include considerable community-focused elements which center on socially beneficial objectives, such as a community cycling center, youth and after school programs, and our “Fix-to-Own” recycling program, which gives neighborhood children the resources to repair old bikes of which they then become the owners. The programs are all designed to engage youth, develop their natural talents and passions and provide a safe place for children to focus their energies and contribute to the greater good of our community.
Through partnerships with local schools, universities, community groups and those seeking a positive environment – Chicago Velo Campus is a place for development, education, training and most importantly fun. Anyone with the heart and desire to practice the sport of cycling can purchase a membership and will be provided the opportunity to utilize our donated bikes and use our velodrome at no additional cost.
Founder and CEO of Lakeside Velo Works, Inc., is Emanuele Bianchi. Mr. Bianchi is an award-winning Italian designer, manufacturer and retailer of boutique pet products who moved his operations from Italy to the U.S. in 2004, and settled full-time in Chicago in 2006. Since then he has continued to broaden his business scope through new products and business ventures. An avid cyclist, Mr. Bianchi previously managed the Junior Development Program of xXx Racing. In the 2010 season, Mr. Bianchi grew the program to one of the largest and most successful cycling programs of its kind in the region. Mr. Bianchi work has helped the program grow to its largest size to date and has been instrumental in the team’s larger success, including several new team sponsorships. Mr. Bianchi's passion translates over to the Chicago Velo Campus where he dreams of not only developing a world class venue, but of bringing a new found passion and enthusiasm to the lives of youth, amateurs and professionals alike.
The Big Picture!
Our permanent indoor velodrome will be a facility nearly as large as the United Center and will host world class cycling events as well as being a multi-use facility with a health club, swimming center and other amenities.
- - State of the Art Indoor 250m Velodrome
- - Outdoor BMX Pump Track
- - Outdoor & Indoor Mountain Bike Tracks (MTB)
- - Outdoor Cyclocross Track
- - Triathlon Training Center
- - Olympic Sized Swimming Pool
- - Running Track and Fitness Center
- - Coaching and Olympic Development Training
- - Youth, Beginner, Elite and Masters Programs
- - Community Center
- - Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Center
- - Sports Retail and Cycling Museum
- - Restaurant, Cafe, and Healthy Juice Bar
The Chicago Velo Campus will create a vibrant district of sport and health facilities focused on the spirit of cycling and athleticism.
The Velodrome will be located at 81st and the new Lakeshore Drive
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Chicago Velo Campus will feature state-of-the art amenities ranging from an indoor Velodrome Track to healthy restaurants and cafe’s.
State of the Art Indoor 250m Velodrome Track
Outdoor BMX Pump Track
Outdoor and Indoor Mountain Bike tracks (MTB)
Outdoor Cyclocross Track
Triathlon Training Center
Wind Tunnel Facility
Indoor Olympic Sized Swimming Pool
Indoor 400 meter Running Track
Coaching and Education Facility
Olympic Development Training Center
Youth, Beginner, Elite and Masters Programs
Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Center
Restaurant, Cafe, and Healthy Juice Bar