Martijn wanted to ride to India on the bike he built, but it was stolen

Martijn's stolen bike Photo credit: Martijn van den Heuvel

Four and a half years it took Martijn van den Heuvel to build his special recumbent road bike. It is fitted out with a solar panel and electric assist. He intended to bike around the world but on Monday, thieves stole it from his front garden in Eindhoven. “It has made me shed a few tears. I was devastated”.

Martijn (31) built the entire bike with his own hands. “I am pretty clever with my hands and I love tinkering”, he says. “This vehicle replaces the car I got rid of. I did not want to depend on cars any longer. It was my dream to use my bike for every kind of transport”.

“It is actually a golden tank and attracts a lot of  attention”.

The two rear wheels of the gold-coloured recumbent road bike contain electric power components. The bike also has a lot of space for Martijn to carry his things. The trailer comes fitted out with a stove and a solar panel so that he can generate his own energy.  “It is really a kind of golden tank, so big and so heavy”, he says with pride.

Sustainable Energy Technology

The technical gadgets he put in reflect his master study Sustainable Energy Technology at the  Eindhoven University of Technology. “It has been a massive project which has taken me years to design and build. I have put in eons of time, every component went through my hands.

Last year he took his four-metre vehicle through every province in The Netherlands. He slept in a tent, on camp sites or spots in nature.  Everywhere he went he attracted a lot of attention.

Martijn fietste al een rondje door Nederland met zijn creatie. (Foto: Martijn van den Heuvel)

Martijn already toured through The Netherlands with his creation. (photo credit: Martijn van den Heuvel)

Shattered dreams

A tour around Europe and then set course for India on the bike, those were the dreams he wanted to pursue. But now here he stands empty-handed and the only thing that remains of his dream is a big hangover. It was a shock to find everything gone. “I was devastated”.

Martijn suspects that someone loaded the bike into a van and drove off with it. The thing is super heavy and difficut to steer. No one can bike half a metre without practice, it’s just not possible”. He hopes the thieves will just dump his bike somewhere, but fears they are after the expensive comonents. “If they dismantle the bike, they can sell the parts”, he thinks.

Building a new bike from scratch is too ambitious. “I do not think I think I am up to it; it was such a humongous task. No way I am going to do all that again”.  He did manage to save some money in the meantime, so he could buy a professional recumbent roadbike. “Ït will never be a match for my own creation, though. It’s so unique and it was such a joy to ride”.

Reward

Martijn offers a reward of 500 euros for the golden tip that will lead to the recovery of the bike.

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