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

The quick convenience of the folding bike

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Man w Brompton folding bike

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – A folding bike makes city bike stresses far easier

“I am still glad to have a foldable n the city. Brussels is steep and has a few hills and sometimes I am too lazy to go up and I take a tram or metro to go up. Otherwise I would need a regular bike. Then my wide wants to live back outside and she keeps telling me to buy an electric bike. If I have to do 15 to 20 kilometres a day, I would not mind. It is like having wind at your back all the time.” Continue reading

Brompton, Brompton, Brompton – another bike – Brompton, Brompton, Brompton

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Man  with Brompton folding bike in Brussels

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – An ever-present bicycle in Brussels.

“You see a lot of Bromptons in Belgium. I think it is the most common bike. I have had this two and a half years now. I always had a regular bike before but then I started living outside Brussels and i had to commute with the train. Now I live back in Brussels because the commute was too big. It was a solid hour. I had kids and they still came to school here in Brussels and it was really hard.  It was really terrible and we had to go all the way around in the car and I always took my bike and then did the rest by bit and leave the car. And my wife took the car back. It was like a big hour in traffic.”

The constant incentives to use VilloVelo

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Student with VilloVelo bik station

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – VilloVelo programs are adding more incentives to use their bikes.

“The Villo is cheap enough. I study here and  the Villo costs 33 Euros for a one year subscription, and that is fine. You get to use it for 30 minutes at no charge. But you can also collect bonus points. I have several hundred already. And that is how many minutes I can exceed the half an hour.

“I think the bikes are reliable. Sometimes you do find a bike where the seat is loose or the gears are loose, but you just take another bike. What can be annoying is that some stations are full while others are empty, which means sometimes you have no bike, or you have no space to put the bike.  This space is normally full. But there is a mobile app that allows you to check what statins are full or empty.

“I will buy a bike, but right now I see no reason to.”

Constant rain is not a climate

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Journalist in Belgium w his vintage bicycle

©Barry Sandand/TIMB – Vintage always seems more stylish

“I usually wear a hat because sometimes it just starts raining unexpectedly. I don’ t check the weather before. I leave on the bike and sometimes it rains. The other day, I missed the hail by maybe five minutes. I ride winter and summer. I am from Chicago and I biked everywhere there. Winters in Chicago are waist-deep snow. Belgian weather is just the rain.” Continue reading