Keirin

So The G carries a nice piece about keirin. Why it started, gambling, place in Japanese society etc. It’s a fun piece.

Except, well, it never actually does explain what keirin is, how it works. Which is a bit odd really. From Wiki:

Riders use brakeless fixed-gear bicycles. Races are typically 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) long: 6 laps on a 250 m (270 yd) track, 4 laps on a 333 m (364 yd) track, or 4 laps on a 400 m (440 yd) track. Lots are drawn to determine starting positions for the sprint riders behind the pacer, which is usually a motorcycle, but can be a derny, electric bicycle or tandem bicycle. Riders must remain behind the pacer for 3 laps on a 250 m (270 yd) track. The pacer starts at 30 km/h (19 mph), gradually increasing to 50 km/h (31 mph) by its final circuit. The pacer leaves the track 750 m (820 yd) before the end of the race (3 laps on a 250 m (270 yd) track). The winner’s finishing speed can exceed 70 km/h (43 mph).

Yes, we can see why that might be attractive to gamblers. Given a program of races over a day a repeated charge of high octane excitement in those final sprints.

But The G’s piece would have been better if it had given a – shorter perhaps – explanation of what it actually is.

13 thoughts on “Keirin”

  1. Vélodromes with tote betting is actually a Danish invention. Keirin is the Japanese addition to the sport. I remember happy evenings in my teenage years at the velodrome in Ordrup, north of Copenhagen. We’d know some of the riders personally, and have a flutter, maybe a hot dog. Good times.

  2. @Hallowed Be In that flavour of bicycle racing any mistake gives …interesting results…
    And you quickly learn to keep pedalling after the first couple of faceplants.. 😉

  3. “…explanation of what it actually is.”

    With some things, it’s probably not worth knowing what it is. What looks to be a bunch of cyclists chasing down an Just Eat delivery guy is one of those things.

  4. Like swimming, cycling invents lots of weird disciplines, mainly so top cyclists can win lots of medals.

  5. @Chris Miller

    I can’t remember which sprinter it was who said he’d have as many gold medals as the swimmers if only they’d introduce running backwards, sideways and skipping.

  6. The Japanese invent lots of weird disciplines. If you ever see what they do when presented with a woman & a couple hundred metres of rope you’ll understand.
    (No. Look it up for yourself. This is a family site)

  7. Precisely, BIS. Imagine what a shibari Polly looks like. We had to get a structural engineer involved

  8. What you mean is “I” didn’t know what keirin is. However nobody else can be held responsible for your ignorance

  9. “Except, well, it never actually does explain what keirin is, how it works.”

    The Guardian obviously assumes that the wokerati know all about the deeds of Chris Hoy and fantasise about being between his gigantic thighs

  10. But The G’s piece would have been better if it had given a – shorter perhaps – explanation of what it actually is.

    Not that I *want* to defend them but in the modern day 99% of their readers are reading from an internet-enabled device – they could just look up the Wikipedia article if they didn’t know what it was.

    Just an example of how changes in technology enable changes in these forms. Sort of like how the proliferation of spell-checking has let young ‘journalist’ believe that publishing crap riddled with spelling errors is just fine.

  11. Have they edited the article since you read it?

    The rules are simple enough. In a typical men’s race, a pacemaker leads nine cyclists around several laps before leaving them to battle it out. Along the way they clash heads – and sometimes crash – as they reach speeds of up to 70 kph in the final stretch.

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