Bicycle Experience – a bicycle theme park which could open in the Netherlands.

Entrepreneur aims to create a cycling theme-park in the Netherlands

Dutch entrepreneur Menno Heling wants to create a cycling-based theme-park that, via an app and social media, could influence similar attractions in other parts of the world. Bicycle Experience does not yet have a site but it does have expert advisors, including tourism consultant Reinoud van Assendelft de Coningh, the conference director for global bicycle-infrastructure conference Velo-city 2017, which is to be staged in the Netherlands.

Bicycle Experience will offer “tourists and locals an unforgettable introduction to the bike,” said Heling.

He continued: “Here in The Netherlands cycling is a way of life. The concept of a tourist attraction about urban cycling in metropolitan Holland is long overdue.”

Heling also plans to roll out an online Bicycle Experience “that can be used to implement the Dutch way of cycling in any city or region around the world.” has reported on previous attempts to create cycling-based theme parks, including Velo Nova, a recumbent-based theme park mooted in 2002 and also planned for the Netherlands.

At the time of the project’s launch, the then editor of Velo Vision Peter Eland said:

"It’’s hard to know what to make of projects like Velo Nova. Is it a daft utopian ideal born of wishful thinking? Or a visionary idea which could become a showcase for pedal power? A high profile centre, supported by national and international bodies, could be a significant boost to the status of human power, the ‘forgotten energy’. It could also become an embarrassing white elephant, a freak-show of the weird and wacky in pedal power.”

As well as being a theme park Velo Nova was intended as a centre of cycle industry research and innovation, a resource for planners, companies and individuals trying to get into cycling, an educational centre and a forum for the exchange of ideas and inspiration. It did not open.

In 2005, Jim McGurn of York’s Company of Cyclists planned to open Bikeland in Derby, spending £65 000 on a feasibility study.

"If it goes ahead, [Bikeland] will not have a particularly green tinge,” said McGurn at the time. “The public are not interested in that. It will incorporate many exciting elements of cycle sport, and be a pretty noisy, in-your-face kind of place."

McGurn wanted the UK bike trade to embrace Bikeland:

"We need the support, advice and partnership of the cycle industry to make it as good as it possibly can be. If Bikeland goes ahead in any substantial way it will put a lot of money directly into the UK cycle industry."

Bikeland did not open.

However, a Shimano-based theme park is set to open in 2017. As BikeBiz reported last year, Shimano Europe is to turn a former brewery site in the Netherlands into a Shimano multi-activity centre. The centre will allow visitors to take part in Shimano-equipped cycling, fishing and rowing activities. The Shimano Experience Centre will take shape in Valkenburg, in the province of Limburg. The site houses the Leeuw brewery which closed in 2006. The historic building, a brewery since the 1880s, was formerly a gunpowder factory.

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