Put quite simply, a Gold Sprint, or roller race, is a competition where two or more riders compete in a cycling race over a distance of 500 meters or more. The twist being that the cyclists don’t move an inch, as their bikes are mounted on a set of rollers. The rollers are connected to a computer and a display showing the distance travelled.

Vintage Gold Sprints

While the Gold Sprint, as we know it, may be a modern phenomenon, the idea of racing bikes on rollers goes way back to the early 1900’s. Many dancehalls across the United Kingdom had permanent roller racing set-ups and they were wildly popular, drawing large crowds to watch cycling stars like Reg Harris and Eddie Wingrave compete.

Vintage Roller Racing

Roller racing was by no means a male affair either. There exists some classic British Pathé footage from the 1940’s and 50’s showing how everyone was welcome to try their hand on the rollers.

Female Roller Racing

Fast forward to the 1990’s and roller racing had all but vanished. Then in 1999 a bunch of Swiss bike messengers decided to revive the event in Zurich as part of the cycle Messenger World Championships. Teaming up with a local brewer they named the event after one of their drinks,  the ‘Gold Sprint’ beer.

Gold Sprint Zurich

Video from Rollapaluza 

The idea soon took hold and Gold Sprints became a regular feature at messenger events across the globe. They were brought into the mainstream with the Rollapaluza crew in the UK who still use a mechanical setup true to the original roller racers.

Here in Ireland there have been many Gold Sprint events, beginning in 2007 when Dublin hosted the Cycle Messenger World Championships. They have found a new home with Goldsprints Ireland and here at Funked Up we look forward to throwing many events with them in the future!

Funked Up Gold Sprint

Join us in The Back Page on Thursday March 5th for a night of Gold Sprint racing, it's free to race, there'll be prizes for fastest male and female on the night, food and drink promos and a dj to keep the place rocking. check out the Facebook event page for more details.

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