A trio missing their third

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Two men on race bikes.

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – There should be three here, but the brother was home ill. Riding for decades, these guys have the legs – and the bikes. One of them is a delicious carbon fibre model. That means, it is super light. If I get another chance, I will photograph them, again. Maybe the three will be together then.

“We always bike with three. Him, his brother and me. But the brother was ill today. We have known each other already for 48 years and been riding together for more than 20 years. We were 16 when we went by bike to Luxembourg – 250 kilometres. Now we are 40 years older and we still love biking.”“Every Sunday morning we leave. We try and do 80 kilometres. sometimes 120. And we try and be back by one-o-clock – for the wives. … We are from Belgium and we have always stayed in Belgium. It is nice to be from Belgium.”

Photographer’s notes: I suspected I was going to have a good time with this pair when they refused to talk outside. It was cold and they were looking for a hot coffee to get warm. And they had an immediate warmth in their conversation. Very open.

We talked about our backgrounds, where we have ridden, how important bikes have been in our lives. They arrange their rides around what they find interesting. One of them spots a region or a building they want to see and the trio head off in their search. out came the camera with photos of iron churches in eastern Belgium, expensive railway stations in Liege, art outside music festivals.

Now turning 50, one is planning “The Big Ride”. His birthday hope is a bike ride to Spain with his wife (80kms a day for a month). “I have bought two second-hand bikes.” And then, future trips include a trans-America bike ride that may have three couples traversing the USA.


The iron church

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