Bici Lab: a pilgrimage for cyclists visiting Andorra
Until the wonders of time travel become a reality, we must rely on other experiences to give us a glimpse into the past. Bici Lab Andorra is one such experience; a cycling museum in Andorra la Vella that stands out as a precious gem. This remarkable museum immerses visitors in the narratives of our beloved sport, providing a comprehensive overview of cycling’s rich history.
At the head of Bici Lab Andorra is Eduard Tarrés, an avid cycling enthusiast. In a joint venture, Tarrés and his dedicated companions, Arnau López and Xavi Prat, have spent years collecting and restoring vintage bicycles, road bikes, XC bikes, and down-hill bikes, each representing a milestone in the evolution of the sport. As the fruit of this hard work, the museum stands as a testament to the lifelong passion for bicycles shared by many individuals involved in the project, including the Riberaygua family, who have been curating a remarkable collection of bikes since the 1970s, and proposed the idea of a museum, in collaboration with the town council of Andorra La Vella.
The journey through time, that includes more than 300 bicycles, begins the moment one enters the museum. From grainy black-and-white snapshots immortalizing the heroics of cycling legends to vibrant images showcasing the contemporary exploits of today’s riders, Bici Lab Andorra offers an interesting insight into cycling history. In one of the museum’s corners are numerous photographs, advertising posters, photos of bikes, newspaper clippings, and memorabilia that paint a picture of legendary races and iconic cyclists who have left an indelible mark on the sport.
While the images provide a visual feast, it is the impressive collection of bicycles spanning a period of more than 200 years, that truly fills the employees of Bici Lab with pride. That includes Tarrés himself, and Arnau Lopez Gurdó, our guide today. “We can present our visitors with a complete evolution of the incredible invention known as the bicycle,” he says. “It all begins with the Draisina bikes from 1817 and culminates with the cutting-edge bikes of 2023 featuring electronic shifting.”
The museum even features the first motorized bike ever created. “Although it doesn’t resemble modern electric bikes, the Roper Velocipide from 1868 was the first bike to offer pedaling assistance thanks to a steam engine housed within its frame,” Gurdó explains.
“We also have two bamboo bikes – one from 1894 and one from 2014, which both use biodegradable material for the frame and even the handlebars.”
Bici Lab, which receives visits from nearly all schools in Andorra at least once a year, actively introduces local youngsters to the topic of environmental sustainability. Additionally, the founders work alongside ‘Mobilitat Andorra’, and organized the campaign ‘aprèn a rodar’, to promote the use of bicycles as a safe and sustainable means of urban trans-port amongst kids from six to eleven years old.
Last but not least, there’s a further incentive: “Everyone who comes to the museum by bike, gets free entrance!” beams Gurdó.
Bici Lab Andorra proves to have a clear goal and a simple message that most of us know already but is worthy of repeating: the bike is one of the greatest inventions in the world ever. Their expertise and enthusiasm create an atmosphere that educates the young and inspires experienced aficionados alike, leaving an unforgettable memory on the cycling hearts of all who visit.
This story is part of Nafent Magazine volume 7. Read the full story in our digital or paper magazine. Go to our webshop, or buy yours at one of our 200 partner places.
Pics: Xavi Pujol