I have always cycled as long as I can remember. In Belgium the favorite national Sunday activity is going for family bike rides. The area around Bruges where I was born is super flat so u can ride for hours without being tired and there are plenty of cafes and cosy bistros all over the country side. People go for a ride and hop from place to place to grab some apéro or lunch.
It’s also the main means for kids and teenagers to get around as Public transport is not that well organized. From small on you just get used to cycle everywhere.
I got my first bike when I was 6. It was pink and have a little basket on the front. Just loved it. With my brother we were cycling around the neighborhood all the time and usually going to places a bit further out than we were supposed to. Sometimes I was just sitting (or standing) on the back of his bike, which twice ended in quite bloody accidents. Fortunately nothing major was broken, besides my glasses….
When we moved to Geneva I kept the habit of cycling to school as much as possible despite it being much harder….I however ended using my pocket money to replace my nice pink bike with a secondhand mountain bike with gears. That made it way easier! Who cares about riding uphill when u have gears to do so!!
I used that new bike for couple of years but then grew out of it and for my 15 or 16th birthday my parents bought me a wonderful pink and purple Peugeot with a very nice basket (again!). I rode that bike EVERYWHERE. To school then Uni and then work. On the Salève (with the cable car…..!) and down la Croisette. In the Jura, to Giron and via La Joux down the col de la Faucille. Up to St Cergues. I did my first 100 km around the canton of Geneva on that bike.
And then one night it got stolen in Eaux-Vives. I was 30 and I cried for my beloved bike….I still miss it…it was the best city-bike ever…. i pushed it to its limits but it never failed.
In my late 20’s while i had never done much sport other than cycling around I became a running adding. 5km, 10km, half Marathon, marathon, trail-running. Passionate and unstoppable. By that time my Belgian cousin joachim has become a road cyclist and was doing well at local races. He was replacing his old Canondale with a fancy new carbon model. I bought his Canondale and decided to start cycling after the Paris Marathon in 2010.
My cousin took me for a ride and as did not know Geneva I decided the route….we ended up riding up the Salève via monnetiers and down cruseilles…..80km it so… Not bad for a first ride 🙂 my but was amazingly sore but I LOVED it.
By that time my knee did not let me run anymore…very bad news for a running addict. I missed it so much.
The endurance, the exhaustion, the satisfaction of ending a race. The only way to kind of relive that kind of emotion was to arrive on top of a col. So that’s what I did. And always a bit further or higher…