Bike blowout: leaky velodrome

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(The report was published on April 4th, 2014)
Accusations of faulty engineering on Hong Kong’s velodrome were a question of maybe, maybe not, depending on who you asked. Until the deluge. Cassy Chau finds out if our cyclists are at risk.

Hong Kong’s elite cyclists had been lacking a training facility for years. Last December, the first and the only velodrome opened in TKO after 7 year of construction. However, Mr Gary Cheung (張兆榮) , a 30 year veteran of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, laid claims that the TKO Velodrome may have a high possibility of water leakage due to design faults, threatening the safety of cyclists and arena users.


Water leakage is a particular concern in a facility where people travel up to 70km on two thin wheels with only small helmet to protect their grey matter. A wet spot on the track could mean  the difference between life and death.


He pinpointed that the shape of the Velodrome, the materials used to build the arena, and ventilation ducts that may lead to possible water leakage. He blamed the Leisure and Cultural Service Department for using a new management operation mode for aggravating the problem. He claims the staff lack the experience and knowledges to handle the facility.


Expert engineers and architects expressed their views on the suspected design faults of the Velodrome. Architect Mr Freddie Hai (解端泰) believed that the materials used would not cause problems. His concern was the craftsmanship of the construction workers as the metal roof of velodrome is a less popular material in HK. Engineer Mr Chan Kai-yuen (陳啟遠) supported the claim that bad craftsmanship of the roof will cause water leakage ,after looking into the design specification of the metal roof.


Professor Chan Siu-Lai (陳紹禮), a member of Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, believed that if the sewerage systems are well-designed, the suspected water-leakage will not cause any problems. Mr Chan Chi-ming (陳子明), department head of construction in IVE (Morrison Hill), said condensed water may be appear on the ventilation ducts. The temperature of the air-conditioner and the humidity of the arena have to function well in order to prevent condensed water from dropping on the ground.


The Architectural Department counterclaimed the Velodrome was carefully designed and meets international standards. However, on the ground investigation by Harbour Times found the accusations may have some weight: The recent deluge was the test. This week, HT uncovered first hand reports of water leakage in this newly-built arena.


(more details in the chinese version of the story:漏水情況現新建單車館/ )