Shuttlewise’s big ride in the first decade
1.362 km run by bycicle from the Netherlands to Mortara to celebrate 10 years of the intermodal company linking BeNeLux and Italy
At 18.03 on Friday 29 June, an unusual "convoy" of 18 cyclists entered the TIMO intermodal terminal of Mortara, with a delay of only 3 minutes on the scheduled timetable (something to be envied by all freight trains arriving at the terminal).
Five of them had left 9 days before from Oss, a small town in the Netherlands, where the idea of starting a Dutch intermodal operator was shaped 10 years ago.
In short, that plan took the form while becoming Shuttlewise thanks to the efforts of its founders Martijn Elbers and Richard Nomden, and the contribution of experienced partners such as Den Hartogh.
The first service to be set was a Rotterdam-Mortara (Mortarashuttle) link as from 30 November 2009, a well-established train with 6 roundtrips per week and often overbooked.
In the meantime, two routes have been added bound for Mortara: from Krefeld (Germany) and Gent (Belgium); then a Duisburg-Melzo, and lately the Rotterdam-Dourges (France) and Rotterdam-Antwerp shuttles.
Today, Shuttlewise extends its European network in 6 countries with some 2,000 trains per year and carries over 50,000 UTIs on behalf of 165 customers.
To celebrate this tenth anniversary, and also to support the Foundation established in the name of Richard Nomden, who died prematurely in September 2016, Martijn Elbers engaged to organize a special event: La Grande Corsa, a 9-stage ride for 1,362 kilometers from his city of birth in Holland to Mortara, to symbolically connect the two key locations in the history of Shuttlewise.
Many friends, colleagues, suppliers, customers joined, even beyond expectations, both to take part in a stage, and to support as sponsors. The route has run through 7 countries, with a total of 19,170 meters of heighth climbed, including some mythical alpine passes as the Gotthard.
A support service with a dedicated van, led by Shuttlewise representative in Italy Gabriele Lanotte, accompanied cyclists for any eventuality and for logistical needs.
The most numerous participation was of course for the last stage, 137 km from Bellagio to Mortara via the Ghisallo pass, 754 meters altitude with gradients up to 14%, in which both experienced cyclists and some who "invented themselves" for the occasion, tackles the hill.
The Shuttlewise business partners represented in the last stage were many: from Captrain Italia to SBB Cargo International, BLS Cargo and LINEAS as railway traction companies, from Port of Rotterdam, RSC Rotterdam, Interface Terminal Gent and of course TIMO Mortara as terminal operators, up to Den Hartogh, Van Dijk, Paganella as customers.
Upon arrival, a beer garden in a shaded area of the terminal welcomed and refreshed the cyclists and the many who wanted to celebrate the event, and to have the chance to meet once more friends from the world of European freight railway.