When did you start riding?
I started riding about 4 years ago, when I bought an old fixed gear bike from a friend. I was hooked instantly, and also got an old steel road bike right after that.
What bike do you ride or ride the most?
I have four different bikes I ride. My roadbike, trackbike, cyclocross and singlespeed cyclocross. In the summer I ride my roadbike and trackbike a lot, both out on the streets. In the winter my trackbike gets some velodrome time, but mostly I’m on my cyclocross bike having fun in the mud and doing some races. The singlespeed is also a lot of fun, but living in a hilly area it can be a bit too much sometimes.
Is there anything special about your bike?
No not really. I don’t have any custom bikes and I’m not really attached to them. I could sell them anytime I want, as long as I could get a same level (or higher) bike in return.
Have you got a favourite ride or place to ride and why?
Yeah, I got a few different favourite places I think. I really love the National park Veluwezoom. It’s a Dutch park 10 minutes from my house. It’s hilly, the nature is absolutely stunning and you can spot a lot of wild animals, even on the roadbike. Also the roads are really nice and there are lots if cycling-specific paths throughout the area, which makes is really save and nice to ride.
But I also really like the Ardennes. Completely different, but so much fun! They climbs are straight up madness sometimes, with insane gradients and really bad roads. No cycling lanes, but it fits perfectly within the vibe I get when I’m in Wallonia. The views are really stunning though, and the (sometimes weird) little villages you ride through add to that as well.
What is the most amazing think you have done on a bike?
I’m not really sure.. I don’t feel like I have done really amazing things, but completing the Festive 500 while supporting a friend who rode all the way from the Netherlands to Spain during the Festive 500 (and rode 1700km) was pretty cool. Also the trip was awesome.
If you were to go on a cycling adventure where would you go?
Probably Spain, around Girona or Barcelona. Beautiful climbs, lots of gravel, and the people over there are super nice! Also there’s sea.
Why do you ride?
The freedom, the speed. But also the pain and suffering. And the glory. You can go anywhere, it’s fun, it’s clean, and you can go superfast too! I’ve never pushed myself as hard in any other sport, and there’s definitely a thrill in it too. Especially races!
How do you feel when cycling?
Free. Outside is free!
Have you got a favourite view?
One of my favourite views is Radio Kootwijk, an old radio station in the middle of a national park in the Netherlands. It’s quite close by and it’s just really weird. It’s built with to resemble the Sfinx, and it also has something church-ish. I included a photo!
And mountains are always good.
How do you capture the views?
During rides mostly with my smartphone, a Nexus 6P. But as a professional photographer I also shoot with a Canon EOS 5D MKII.
Words and photos by @merlinappa