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Serious fixies
March 9, 2011 5:06 AM   Subscribe

Keirin: Speed Racers is a short film, presented in a visual anthropological style, that explores the Japanese gambling sport of Keirin

Keirin is a popular spectator sport for many Japanese. It has even made the cross into an Olympic and UCI world championship sport (although not without some alleged controversy).
posted by KirkpatrickMac (10 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Japanese Keirin and International Keirin are very different, however.

Occasionally, foreigners are allowed to participate in some Japanese Keirin racing - I always enjoyed Ben Kersten's keirin diary, particularly the description of how the three strategies are deployed.

Lastly - I was under the understanding that though it is a popular betting sport, it's not much of a spectator sport - people stare at the outcomes screen rather than pay much attention to the racing.
posted by entropone at 5:20 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would also be remiss if I didn't share a link to the best (international) keirin victory ever by Theo Bos.
posted by entropone at 5:22 AM on March 9, 2011


I've wondered if old dog tracks could be re-purposed for this? It looks hella fun, and with the burgeoning bike-culture here in the US, weekend races would probably gather more spectators than railbirds.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:24 AM on March 9, 2011


The only thing I know about keirin is this.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:34 AM on March 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


There are some other interesting bits about Japanese Keirin that I was reminded about, and I thought would be good to mention here -

First, all of the bikes and their parts have to be approved by the sport's governing body - in an attempt to keep the playing field level, all the bikes use steel frames, and traditionally spoked wheels - which is to say, none of the technical advancements made to bicycles in the past 30 years.

Secondly, during a weekend of Keirin racing, the racers are sequestered so as to avoid any contact with somebody who would want to influence the racing (and therefor the gambling). The only contact with the outside world is when they release the information on their race strategy the night before each race - the size of gear that they will use, and which of the three strategies they will employ.
posted by entropone at 5:56 AM on March 9, 2011


big fucking legs
posted by nathancaswell at 7:03 AM on March 9, 2011


I love the small gestures that this film captures. Tossing out salt before the race, like a rikishi.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:25 AM on March 9, 2011


I've wondered if old dog tracks could be re-purposed for this? It looks hella fun, and with the burgeoning bike-culture here in the US, weekend races would probably gather more spectators than railbirds.

I can't speak for dog tracks, but I know my local velodrome has held keirin races on more than one occaision.
posted by Panjandrum at 11:02 AM on March 9, 2011


Wait, there's a form of cycling that's fast, dramatic, has simple to understand tactics, and supports betting? How is this not hugely popular all over the world?
posted by Nelson at 3:51 PM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


First, all of the bikes and their parts have to be approved by the sport's governing body - in an attempt to keep the playing field level, all the bikes use steel frames, and traditionally spoked wheels - which is to say, none of the technical advancements made to bicycles in the past 30 years.

It also has a nice side benefit of protecting Japanese manufacturers. To get a NJS certification is (was?) nearly impossible for a non-Japanese firm. The Japanese cited 'safety concerns.' Campy spent years trying to get its parts certified. Their main shortcoming is that they are manufactured in Italy.
posted by fixedgear at 6:31 AM on March 10, 2011


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