All winter long, I eagerly await the first sunny days of the year to hop on my bike and go for a ride. But besides a single week of decent weather early March, it has been a very sad, cold and unpleasant spring. Until yesterday! Sun came out early, temperature went up, so I filled my tires with fresh air and headed out! Let me take you on a tour through the countryside surrounding my hometown.
Belgium has a long standing biking tradition. Since like forever, great biking champions were born and raised here. As soon as a kid can stand, it is put on a bike. Looking at the large number of bikers I meet when I go out for a ride, I think it’s safe to say bike riding is a very popular way to spend your Sunday afternoon!
One of the main reasons so many people go out on their bikes, is that we are spoiled when it comes to bike routes! Within 2km of my home, there are 10 marked trails, ranging from 20km to 65km in length. And on top of that we have this great system called fietsknooppunten. It is an ingenious system of numbered nodes that covers the entire country. Small signs indicate how to get from one node to the next, with the distance between 2 nodes averaging about 4km. Before setting out, you take out the node-map, jot down the numbers of the nodes you want (depending on how large a tour you want to make), and tape the piece of paper to your handlebar. Now you’re all set to go on your own personalized bike tour!
The bike-node network intents to use roads that are low on car traffic, which makes for a more enjoyable and relaxed ride. The downside is that, at times, you are sent down paths that are, well, not really a path anymore… And when an angry farmer decides that barbed wire is the best way to make sure no biker treads on his field, well, things can get quiet hairy!
I really like to go for a ride through the fields surrounding my hometown, even though there is not much more to be found than farms and fields. It’s amazing how the landscape constantly changes over the course of a year, from freshly plowed and bare, to fields covered in fully grown crops. And dropped in between, you’ll find the occasional plot that is home to cows or horses.
Going out for a ride through this peaceful scenery on a sunny afternoon is enough to put a smile on my face! Enjoy the rest of the gallery!
Photos were made with either a Lubitel 166+ on Fuji Velvia 50 or with an LC-Wide on Agfa CT Precisa. Developed with Rollei Digibase C41 kit.