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Wind tunnel and innovation centre for Flanders Bike Valley

Bike businesses come together at high-tech development hub in Belgium

Construction work has been completed on Flanders Bike Valley’s BikeVille building, reports BikeBiz. Due to open in April 2016, the 2,400 square metre facility will contain a wind tunnel as well as a business “incubator” housing 25 cycling firms.

Situated in Limburg province, the intention is for Flanders Bike Valley to become a research and test centre for cycling related enterprises with BikeVille the centrepiece.

Founded by BioRacer, Flanders’ Drive, Lazer, Ridley and Voxdale, with financial support from the government of Flanders, the idea of Flanders Bike Valley is to create an environment where cycling firms – including start-ups – can easily access testing facilities and also potentially work with one another.

Speaking when construction began in April, Marc Hufkens, the chairman of Flanders Bike Valley, said:

“The new research and development centre will offer facilities that are primarily focused on sports bikes. 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.”

BikeVille will also include a restaurant, Ghent University’s bicycle testing unit and a bike-fit zone operated by BioRacer.

While many of the firms involved will be using the wind tunnel extensively, it will also be open to the public and Flanders Bike Valley CEO, Bert Celis, said this was one of the ways in which the project would hopefully fund itself in coming years.

“The building is ready but it has to be outfitted. At the start we had a large investment from Flanders Investment and Trade but with funding from our 50 members, and with funds generated from our wind tunnel, there will be less need for government support in the future.”

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