Heading to the World Cyclocross Championships

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Spectator at a World Cup cyclocross race

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Spectator at a World Cup cyclocross race

I am heading off to see the World Cyclocross Championships, in Zolder, Belgium, for the next two days. Continue reading

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Exploring the chance for velotaxis

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Velotaxi at one of the tourist hubs of Brussels

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Velotaxi at one of the tourist hubs of Brussels

“I am doing test day today for a velo taxi service. Normally this would be a complimentary service alongside the standard taxis. It is not a competition. There are two aspects.  Tourists and the people who are just doing short A to B trips. This one has an electric motor to help. The velo cab is owned by an entrepreneur who has a few of them and they get used at special events for promotion or the touristic events and the like.” Continue reading

How stress and abuse brought him to the bike

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Man with his old bike in Brussels

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – A little stress can go a long way

“I think I abused my body with work, the stress. I did the complete renovation in my house. And then lots of work, lots of stress. I am a political immigrant from Albania. And I did not have a good daily regimen. I did not pay attention. Working 12 hours a day and then at home. All that, with a little alcohol, and then every day I was drinking two or three glasses of wine. It all came to a point where it was not good.” Continue reading

An older bike might just stay with you longer

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Man w his old bike in Brussels

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Riding up on this cyclist, you could hear the chain creak, the fenders shake.

“I have been on a bike more than 20 years. There is a space for the older bikes. I ride everywhere, to the stores, everywhere, and, on a beautiful bike, they will steal it. But if you have an old bike, well. I ride this to do my small trips, but I ride everywhere. I am a person with a heart problem and the bike does me a lot of good.  It was an acute heart crisis and they installed a defribulater in my body. It has been nine years now, but it never has to work, anymore. It only works if the heart stops and, after nine years since the attack, my heart has never stopped. I stayed on the bike because the exercise keeps the body in shape.” Continue reading

That small bit of unspoken toilet humour

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Man w his Raleigh bike in Brussels

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Ever ride past someone and thought you simply had to chat w them?

When I rode up on this cyclist, I joked that I thought he was British. I mean, the Raleigh bike, the peak cap, the sideburns… He had to be English. Well, of course, he was Dutch. But he saw the joke and replied.

“Oh, to be called an Englishman. I am not sure that is a compliment. But even when I am in England, people think I am an Englishman. My last name is pronounced Van Der ‘Low’ but is spelt Van Der Loo. So you have the very polite Englishman and you are back in a hotel and they say, “Oh, you have been here before’.”

The lonely roads in distance cycling

©Barry Sandland/TIMB Man w his bike in Brussels

©Barry Sandland/TIMB

“In 1965, my brother went to Paris on his Dutch bike and people stopped to watch him. To watch the spectacle. I did long rides three times to the north of Holland for business reasons, but I will never forget. A very good experience and you see how lonely the country is on the small roads. I did that about seven years ago. My daily limit is about 120 miles, 180 kilometres. If you cycle every day, you can do that.” Continue reading