We <3 cyclists. Please meet … Ayse!
A) Ayse from Belgium is a passionate cyclist.
B) She loves to ride through the nature and writing about it.
C) She started a blog together with a close friend of hers about endurance sports combined with photography.
D) Her ride is the >>8bar KRONPRINZ<<.
>> Enough reasons to ask her some questions. <<
When did you start cycling?
I started riding bikes when injuries stopped me from running. I missed the feeling of freedom, discovering new places, the quiet and the community. My dad has been a very good cyclist for all his life (and still kicks my ass), so cycling was the next natural choice for me. I never thought I would get into it so quickly. But now, a little more than a year later, I can’t imagine not picking my two wheeler up 6 times a week and just ride.
What kind of bikes do you prefer?
I started with a road bike, and I am still riding it. Cross is a pretty big thing here in Belgium, so I have been looking into getting a cross bike. Belgium and the Netherlands also has some pretty awesome gravel roads, on which a cross bike would come in pretty handy (although I’ve been battling them with my roady and have yet to find a road that can’t be ridden).
Do you join races? What is coming up this season? How do you prepare for it – trainingwise?
I haven’t joined any ‘serious’ races, so this will be my first full season of racing bikes. I will start in a lower category, and hopefully move up to riding with the women elite category by the summer.
The training aspect has been a very interesting journey, from only riding for fun until September last year, to actually educating myself on cycling training, making schedules, putting in the work. It is interesting to see myself move forward. I can actually feel that I’m getting stronger, and hope that the numbers that I am pushing right now are good enough to not only ride races, but actually compete in them.
My father used to be a fairly good road racer here in Belgium, so the pressure is definitely there. It would be a pretty incredible feeling to win a race this year and make him proud.
Do you have a favorite cycling route?
The routes where I run into the least amount of cars are my favourite. Silent routes. Mostly found in the french part of Belgium, it is only 20 kilometers away from my home, and time has kind of stopped there. The roads are hilly. Not many cars on the roads, just riding on roads surrounded by nature. Another fun place to ride is over the border in The Netherlands, to old gravel roads, they have cyclist lanes that are better than most Belgian car lanes.
I also live next to the parcour of the Tour of Flanders, only 10 kilometers away from the famous ‘Muur of Geraardsbergen’. This route is a lot of fun to get the inner pro out of you. But I mostly go for the silent roads that look like this:
You recently started a blog called “Endurance Stories” in October 2016. What is the story behind the blog?
Endurance stories was created by a close friend of mine and myself. We are both endurance athletes, who share a combined passion for storytelling and photography. We wanted to create a place that makes place for actual stories, not product reviews, race reports. We have a few “story series” in our mind that we want to do in the near future. One of them hopefully including 8bar, we want to know the stories behind the brand, the motor that keeps it running. But we are mostly still figuring it out where we want it all to go, and we secretly love that part about it. Just creating good content, and good stories that we love, and hopefully finding our little place in this big world of cycling. You can find us over at >>www.endurancestories.com<<
What else do you do besides blogging and cycling?
I do analog photography (slowly switching to digital again, because it is just easier on the bike) and blog writing. Two of my other hobbies that I have now combined with cycling. I am also a business student, with a passion for marketing, especially digital marketing, it is the sector that I want to start working in in the near future.
Follow her experiences and stories on her >>BLOG<<.
All photos by Van Landuy