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Vive le vélo

The Tour de France

Eddy Merckx is widely regarded as the greatest cyclist ever. A good two weeks after he celebrated his 70th birthday, the cycling race where he achieved some of his greatest victories, the Tour de France takes place from July 4 to July 26, 2015.

The 102nd edition of the world's most prestigious cycling race starts in the Dutch city of Utrecht. It will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,360 km.

The Tour will spend 2 days in the Netherlands and 2 days in Belgium (with the start of the third stage in Antwerp, on July 6). Then it will move definitively to the French territory, where 7 mountain stages should provide lots of excitement and suspense.

Apart from the race strategies and physical efforts of the riders, the bicycles are of course a central element in the race. Safety and reliability are essential, especially in downhill sections where the riders reach very high speeds. Riders must be able to trust in the reliability of their material, including their helmet.

Bikes and standards

European standards guarantee the safety of bicycles, but do not focus specifically on the limited group of professional cyclists who compete in the Tour de France or other races. They are intended for the millions of people who use bicycles for transportation, e.g. to and from work, recreational cyclists and members of cycling clubs with their lightweight racing bikes. All these categories of cyclists must be able to count on the quality and safety of their cycling equipment, without being surrounded by a technical staff and a team of mechanics.

Security is also important for children who learn to ride their first real bicycle. All bicycle standards have a common structure: they specify safety requirements and test methods for bicycles and their components. In addition, they provide guidance on the instructions and information provided by the manufacturer, so that the user can use the bicycle optimally and safely.

Below we list the main bike standards, available from the Bureau for Standardisation (NBN) in French, English and German.

  • NBN EN ISO 4210 - Cycles - Safety requirements for bicycles
  • NBN EN ISO 8098 - Cycles - Safety requirements for bicycles for young children
  • NBN EN 15194+A1 – Cycles - Electrically power assisted cycles - EPAC Bicycles

Enjoy the coming weeks of the Tour de France and be inspired by it to jump on your bike. Cycling is not only pleasant and relaxing, it has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on health. Just do it!