Groundbreaking Ceremony of Flanders’ Bike Valley
BERINGEN, Belgium – The Tour the Flanders was not the only highlight of the Belgium cycling scene in the past days. Last Friday the 7 founders celebrated the official start of the construction of Flanders’ Bike Valley.
The project stands for a scientific and conscious approach on the future of bicycles and the bicycle industry in general. More than 150 attendants mainly from the sports industry together with governmental officials attended the ground breaking event.
Research and test centre
Flanders’ Bike Valley will become a research and test centre for cycling related enterprises in Belgium’s Limburg province and the rest of the Flanders region. “Existing companies and start-ups will gather at this cycling innovation hub,” said Limburg province governor Herman Reynders. “This centre proves that the province of Limburg is once again aiming at future-oriented, innovative activities. It is the best guarantee for new company investments and job creation.”
Facilities focused on sports bikes
“The new research & development centre will offer facilities that are primarily focused on sports bikes,” said Marc Hufkens, Chairman of Flanders Bike Valley. “Today’s sports bikes cannot be compared to the ones that were common 10 or 20 years ago. Production has become a high-tech process. Every second counts, or even one hundredth of seconds. Cycling has become more like Formula One.”
7 companies partnering
The necessity of a dedicated cycling test centre was a huge bottleneck for the bicycle industry in Flanders. This was the reason for 7 companies to partner in the Flanders’ Bike Valley association. Ridley Bikes, BioRacer, Lazer, Flanders’ Drive, Voxdale, Bert Celis and Marc Hufkens started the project in late 2013. By now, not less than 40 stakeholders are participating in Flanders Bike Valley.
The test centre will contain a wind tunnel with high-tech PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry) measuring system based on laser technology, a lab, multiple work places and a reception hall. The project has been financed by European fundings and Enterprise Flanders. Their aggregated support counts for € 950,000.