The story of La Ocho

Dandy Blog, September 28, 2011

by Colleen Kirley
designs by Dieter Janssen

La Ocho


Dieter Janssen, architect and former professor at the University of Toronto, wanted a custom bike and went to La Carrera Cycles. One day, while he was in the shop, he overheard owner Nadir Olivet talking about having the Cycle Messenger World Championships (CMWC) in Guatemala. Janssen had recently taken interest in racing tracks – he visited the 333-metre outdoor velodrome in Cuba and has ridden the Forest City velodrome in London, Ontario – and when Nadir mentioned the figure 8 track, he was immediately interested in being involved.

Janssen was up for the challenge. He enlisted some students and created a work-study program out of the track. “It’s a complex geometry,” Janssen said. “Because of the physics of that geometry – we really needed to get right in terms of making this track function properly.” On Janssen’s website, you can view just how complex this work was – pages and pages of diagrams and equations map out what will ultimately become the track. “We worked with a mathematician who recommended some people who were also interested in the project. Very quickly, we had a team together.”


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