Credit: Olly Allen

Historic Cardiff cycle track set to be lost as part of school expansion

Maindy velodrome was home of Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas

CARDIFF’s only outdoor cycle track will be built on if plans to expand Cathays High School are approved.

The Maindy cycle track next to Maindy Leisure Centre, on Crown Way and North Road, is set to be replaced by a new velodrome in Cardiff Bay.

The historic track was built for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1958 and has been home to the Maindy Flyers Cycling Club since 1995.

Tour de France and BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner Geraint Thomas is a former member of the club, along with Olympic gold medallists Owain Doull and Elinor Barker. The club currently has around 200 members aged five to 18.

However its base is unlikely to be the Maindy cycle track for much longer as Cardiff Council has opened the public consultation for the expansion and redevelopment of Cathays High School.

The existing school buildings are rated as category “C” by the Council, meaning they are considered to be in poor condition with major defects.

The proposals include replacing them with new buildings on the Maindy Centre site – the leisure centre and BMX track would be retained, but construction would occur on the cycle track.

If approved, the plans would allow for 378 new school places to be created. A purpose-built accommodation for learners with autism would be built, more than tripling the space for pupils with the condition.

Cardiff Council recognises that the Maindy track is “the home of the grassroots cycling talent in the city” but state that “the cycle club [Maindy Flyers] has outgrown the facility”.

As a result, the council intends to bring forward the installation of a new velodrome in the International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay.

The council’s consultation document says the new facility would “further enhance the development and promotion of cycling in the city” and bring “a greater range of cycle track opportunities to our capital”.

“The council is keen to continue to support Cardiff’s home-grown talent to excel and progress to represent Wales competitively on the international stage,” it continued.

The Maindy track has been home to the Maindy Flyers Cycling Club since 1995. Credit: Olly Allen

Maindy Flyers have not been directly consulted on the school proposals, but the club confirmed it has talked with the council and is optimistic about the move.   

Deian Jones, chair of Maindy Flyers Cycling Club, said: “The club is looking positively on the relocation.  Whilst the Council’s plans for the new velodrome site are still being finalised, Maindy Flyers will have access to better facilities after the move. This is important as we’re starting to outgrow our current facility.

“Maindy Flyers has an illustrious legacy which we are also working hard to maintain as part of the transition to a new site.”

However, relocating the track will make it more difficult for residents in North Cardiff to take advantage of the city’s cycling facilities.

“There is a sense of frustration from some people that a lot of things are now going down to the bay,” said Gabalfa and Mynachdy councillor Rhys Taylor.

“At the moment, the cycle track is really accessible for people wherever they are in the city because it is just off the A48 and the Gabalfa Interchange.

“If you live in the north of Cardiff, it just seems things are moving further and further away from you. But then there is also the sense that the facilities will be brand new in the bay in comparison to the existing, old facilities.”

A mural of 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, who trained on the track as a youngster, is painted on the side of the Maindy Centre. Credit: Olly Allen

There is also a concern that the new facility at the International Sports Village will not be ready before the Maindy track disappears.

“The big question is whether the new cycle track in the bay will be ready by the time we lose the one in Maindy and what happens in the interim,” Coun Taylor added.

This is echoed by Maindy Flyers, but the club says it has had assurances that at no point will they be left with no track.

“The key risk from the club’s point of view is if there was disruption to our activities because of a gap in provision of a velodrome,” Mr Jones says.

“The council is committed to a timeline that offers a seamless transition from the old to new sites, which addresses members’ concerns.”

  • The public consultation on the Cathays High School proposals is open until March 19. Online public meetings will be held on February 24 and March 1. Full details can be found here.