Discovering CERN by bicycle

Some 250 cyclists took part in the timed mountain bike rally and in the family bike ride for the inauguration of the Passport to the Big Bang trail (Image : Christoph Balle/CERN)

The residents of CERN’s local area took to their bikes on Sunday 2 June for the inauguration of the Passport to the Big Bang trail, a scientific tourist route through the Pays de Gex and the Canton of Geneva.

This trail links 10 exhibition platforms located in front of 10 CERN sites, tracing the shape of the huge underground LHC particle-accelerator ring. The platforms offer mini-exhibitions explaining the fundamental research conducted at CERN and its impact and they feature telescopes, similar to those found at tourist spots, in which short video sequences illustrating different aspects of science and technology at CERN can be seen by looking through the lenses. Visitors can also take part in an online game called “Mission LHC” using the interactive terminals located on each platform.

On Sunday morning, some 250 cyclists took part in the timed mountain bike rally and in the family bike ride around the roads of the Pays de Gex, directed by voluntary stewards from CERN and the local communes who took their roles of ensuring safety at the two events very seriously.

At midday, the trail was officially inaugurated by representatives of the local communities and the Director-General, who handed out the first Passports to young people from the region. In the afternoon, the ten CERN sites where the trail’s exhibition platforms are located each hosted activities, with the co-operation of local associations and clubs.

(Image: Christoph Balle/CERN)

Visitors took to the roads and paths, going from one site to the next, meeting scientists on the platforms, building detectors out of Kapla blocks or Lego or taking part in a local club’s sports activity. All in all, the event brought the wonderful atmosphere of the Fête des Voisins to CERN.