HUNDREDS of cyclists took to their bikes for a slow ride to protest about the future of a racing track.

Competitive racing has been banned at the Preston Park velodrome in Brighton because of concerns about the upkeep of the facility.

The outdoor track, the oldest in the country, is available to all and is maintained by Brighton and Hove City Council.

British Cycling, the national governing body, has called on the local authority to make the repairs it has said are needed to bring it up to standard.

Training and leisure riding is allowed but competitive racing cannot take place there until the improvements are made.

It is believed the cost of repairs could be as much as £300,000.

The council has said it is working with British Cycling to explore potential sources of funding.

Riders braved poor weather on Saturday morning to ride on the track to highlight their fight for improvements.

Among those taking part was Matthew Trott and his three-year-old son Takuma, who live near Eastbourne.

Mr Trott, who runs a bike-making business, rode a Penny Farthing at the event.

He said: “The track is the oldest in the country and so I used the old Penny Farthing to highlight that.

“I grew up in Brighton and I used to use the track a lot then.

“It is really important to make sure the track is kept up to racing standard. If it doesn’t, then the incentive to keep it in good condition will be lost and people could end up losing the facility.

“People in clubs and who want to practice their bike racing will end up having to go to places like Herne Hill or Portsmouth instead.

“We want to be encouraging people to be involved with sports and exercise and I hope as many as possible help with the campaign.”

The track has been used for training by professional cyclists, including multiple Olympic medallist Laura Trott and Tour de France veteran Sean Yates.

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition which will be presented to the council’s environment, transport and sustainability committee on March 17.