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A short history of The Velodrome at Bloomer Park
by Leonardo Gianola

The last year that the Detroit area had a functioning velodrome was 1986. The Dorais Velodrome was constructed through the efforts of the coach of the Wolverine Sports Club, Mike Walden. In June of 1997, I asked Dale Hughes what it would take for him to attempt to build a velodrome here in the Detroit area. Dale had already built a 133 meter board track, the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Velodrome, and designed others. He has subsequently built the Asian Games Velodrome in Seoul, Korea, the EDS Superdrome and in the Middle East and China.

His response to my question was "get pledges for $100,000 and I will see what I can do". My parameters were that the money had to come from private individuals and clubs and I had a time window of two years. If I got the money all from one place, it would not show commitment from the bicycling community, hence, the requirement. I thought he was nuts as 100 grand is a lot of cake to bake, but I decided that it was an opportunity not to be missed. Also, I felt that a project can have too much time. I decided that I would have an answer at out club's banquet five and a half months away. So, I went to work soliciting pledges from everyone that I knew, went to bike club's meetings, and became an all around general pain on local bike rides. We offered that for a pledge of $1,000 we would have a plaque with everyone's name on it affixed to the track. That and a track to ride was all we were offering. At the October banquet we had commitment for $104,000. Dale and his wife Christine started the process of trying to find a place to construct the velodrome. That took two years. After we got a site commitment from the City of Rochester Hills, I started to call in the pledges.

Rochester Hills has a community foundation that accepts tax deductible donations for projects like ours. So, we were able to have people donate their money and get a tax write off. Also, it gave us instant creditability, as we were not handling the money directly. At the end of 2000 we had enough money in to start and we began digging the foundation. In 2001, Dale and the local cycling community built it start to finish. What you see today are the continuing volunteer efforts of the local cycling community, the progressive thinking of the city of Rochester Hills, and a fitting monument to a great man, Mike Walden.
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Dale Hughes is a resident of Rochester Hills and donated his talents to design and build the IVBP. He has a lifetime of experience in the world of cycling. Hughes initiated a drive to bring back indoor board track racing when he designed and built his first — and the country’s only portable — velodrome in the late 1970s. The 125m Madison Velodrome was the venue for the first-ever U.S. Madison National Championships and was transported and erected in arenas around the nation. Dale became permanently related to the highly successful Wolverine Sports Club coach Mike Walden when he married his daughter Christine Walden in 1971.

Dale’s most recognizable domestic velodrome project was construction of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Velodrome. He owns the company V-Worldwide which designs velodromes across the globe. He built the 2002 Asian Games Velodrome in Seoul, Korea, the Superdrome in Frisco, TX, and the 2006 Asian Games Velodrome in Doha, Qatar, and Int’l Training Center in Sri Lanka. Closer to home, he has built tracks in Santa Rosa, Denver, Kalamazoo, Chicago, and Cleveland.

Dale and Christine have 3 sons, all of whom reside in the SE Michigan area. Their son Jon is the owner of the Downtown Ferndale Bike Shop, continuing the family tradition as a third generation bike shop owner and entrepreneur. Dale selflessly volunteers his time at the IVBP each day he is in town.