These days the city of Utrecht is the epicentre of roadrace cycling as the city hosts Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France. With Utrecht being the navel of the cycling world, it is amazing to see how much efforts are made to make everything going smooth. Parts of the city were renovated, like the Mariaplaats, where car space was removed to give space for terraces and promenading people. Other parts will have their complete make-over after the Tour, the parcours was a good excuse to temporary remove obstacles and rethink the design of important junctions. Also the Tour itself is a masterpiece of technique and knowledge. When the 198 racers will have their individual time trial over 13,8 kilometers, the differences will be measured on the spot in milliseconds and broadcasted for 3,5 billion spectators in 190 countries all over the world. What a difference when the daily peloton takes over the streets of Utrecht again when the professionals leave the city!
The University of Utrecht had build new a office for the faculties of Science, Geosciences and Biomedical Sciences. The building was named after the prominent biologist Victor J. Koningsberger and has three lecture halls, offices, a cantina and an underlying garage (on street level) for 1,650 bicycles. More pictures of the building itself can be found at the website of the architects Ector Hoogstad.
As a building site at the ever growing university complex isn’t special, it was the outdoor zone that attracted my attention. The campus was planned in the 1950s and is known by it’s grid structure and it’s straight lines. See for more history this nice blogpost of Mark Wagenbuur. But the entrance paths to the new bicycle garage set new standards for real curvy lines at the campus! Continue reading
This Friday I tested with some partners a speed pedelec. The bikes were kindly provided by Juizz, a company specializing in electric assist bicycles and electric mopeds. We tested two Blue label Cruiser NuVinci, and a Strömer ST2, a real power bike. They both assist cycling to 45 km/h and multiple the power you deliver to maximum four.
We started at the showroom in Utrecht and weaved in and out the busy bicycle traffic. This is part of a route I regularly take from my workplace to the office of the city of Utrecht. As I am often late, I am used to ride this with a 30km/h speed, which is quite challenging with unpredictable behavior of cyclists and pedestrians. Riding a speed pedelec was even more challenging, my heart rate was lower as normal with the same speed, but the demand for attention was at the same level. The acceleration at traffic lights was fabulous, but the number of traffic lights limited the average speed in the city a lot.