So these are the bikes! Please excuse the filters — as you might have guessed, these are Instagram pictures. I’ll try to use some cleaner ones in the future.
I picked up cycling (as a sport) in 2014 when I bought a 1982 Peugeot racing bike. Mainly because I wanted to get into shape again, and running wasn’t doing it for me any more. That’s about a year and a half ago now, and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve found that cycling is a great way of seeing new places and appreciating nature while improving your overall fitness at the same time.
Annelies wanted to start cycling as well, but the fact that it’s so difficult to find decent second hand racing bikes in women’s sizes was causing a bit of a problem. New racing bikes can be expensive, especially if you’re not sure yet if it’s for you. After looking around for a while, we decided to give mountain biking a try instead, so we went to Houffalize (in the Ardennes, in the southern part of Belgium) and rented a couple of MTBs there.
When Annelies realized that mountain biking was more her thing than racing, we stopped looking for a woman’s racing bike altogether, and got ourselves a pair of Cube Attention MTBs instead. We took them out for a couple of trips, and we both love it. With mountain biking, the scenery’s often even better than with racing, and the technical side of the sport makes it more challenging. But it’s not as versatile as racing: you can’t just take your bike out of the garage and get going. You have to find a good track to bike on, and the weather has to be OK (a little mud is fun, but too much of it ruins your bike and the track). So I keep doing both: racing more regularly to stay in shape, and mountain biking when the weather’s good and we can find a little more time to go cycling together.
Give it a try — you’ll love it! Once cycling becomes less of a functional activity (getting you from point A to point B) and more of a leisurely one, you start to appreciate it so much more. Before you know it you’ll probably be getting your geek on looking for better gear and better parts, and learning more about how your bike works and how you can fix it yourself. That’s how it worked for me anyway.