A Mecca for Cycling

Published on Jul 26, 2019

Bromont defines itself as a cycling town and the symbol of its attachment to bicycles can be found at the Centre national de cyclisme. A centre which serves as a training and initiation venue for all types of bicycle activities. I grabbed my helmet and tested it…

By Simon Diotte

The story behind the Centre national de cyclisme de Bromont (CNCB) is quite interesting. Around the year 2000, a group of passionate cycling enthusiasts were able to buy the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games velodrome. When it arrived in 2001, the 250 m oval constituted the founding element of the CNCB. The centre gave itself for its mission to develop all cycling sports on its 20-acre terrain: track, road and mountain biking, as well as BMX and trial (cycling over an obstacle course).

The CNCB, with its four full-time trainers, doesn’t just work with the elite. The installations are geared to initiate as many people as possible to cycling sports. “Almost every day, we welcome school groups. In fact, families form the biggest part of our weekend clientele,” explains Nicolas Legault, the centre’s general manager.

A 3.5 Km Network of Mountain Bike Trails

I got on my mountain bike (rented right here) and I set out in the initiation zone with Nicolas Legault. Jumps, wooden bridges and stone blocks stand in my way “Look far ahead, in front of you!” my guide tells me, while I’m crossing a narrow wooden bridge. Keeping a straight course was becoming much more difficult than it seemed at first. The following steps will have me face many obstacles, like these stone blocks, with the help and advice of my trainer.

Now that I feel quite confident, I venture out on the real mountain bike trails. The CNCB has a 3.5 km network of forest trails for all levels. Inclined rock walls, jumps, going downhill on tree trunks and taking inclined turns are part of what I must expect on the course. It’s the ideal site to perfect our technique at our own beat.

One of the Biggest Pump Tracks in Québec

The next step: experiencing the pump track. What’s this? It’s a closed loop course with pronounced bumps and curbs throughout. The goal of this exercise? To ride across the trail without ever needing to pedal. We advance just by working the front suspension of our bike and by adopting the appropriate positions on our mount. True raw fun! “The competencies acquired on the pump track will serve us well once we’re on the mountain,” assures Nicolas Legault.

For lack of time, I skip the BMX portion. I still had to experience the velodrome with its 42-degree incline, on which we pedal using bicycles with no brakes … No luck! Light rain made the track too slippery to ride. “Too bad, we can only use this oval about 70 days per year because of the weather here,” explains the manager.

This underutilization problem the CNBC must deal with, will soon be solved by building a new multi-sports centre which will cover the velodrome. “It will be the start of a new era for this, although spectacular, but still little-known sport,” says Nicolas Legault.

The ground-breaking event for the future sports centre will be held in October, exactly 30 years after Montreal’s Olympic velodrome was closed. The complex will also offer an athletics course, a multi-sports terrain (tennis, badminton, etc.), trampolines and a gym. The work itself is planned for 2020. The sport of cycling is well taken care of in Bromont.

Simon Diotte

Freelance journalist and editor in chief of Géo Plein Air, Simon Diotte is passionate about nature and outdoor activities. His favourite sports include: Canoeing, kayaking, hiking and cross-country skiing. Although he enjoys sports challenges, he also loves spending quality family time in nature with his two daughters.
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