I used to be a car addict. I took it to visit a friend living a few metro stations away, to go to the park, shopping, bring the kids to the nursery (500 meters away) and, of course, to work.
One year ago, we tested a cargo bike during the mobility week. We bought it and it turned our life around.
6 months ago, I changed job and started working in the centre of Brussels.
Now I bring the kids to school and nursery by bike, pedal further to my work every morning.
I’ll never go back to daily driving. 10 reasons why.
How long does it take from Tour & Taxis to Porte de Namur?
By car, mmmh… let’s say between 12 and 45 minutes. Search for parking spot excluded.
By bike : it takes me 16 minutes. Always.
Traffic in Brussels is unpredictable. Of course you know there will be. But you’re never certain how much. I used to be so stressed out behind my steering wheel, stuck in the tunnels’ jam at 17.53, calling husband, friends and apologizing to the nursery because I won’t make it in time.
Now, I know exactly at what time I need to be on my bike to pick up the kids at school.
2. Work out
Brussels is quite hilly and I confess I curse regularly on the Mont des Arts. But it’s sport !
It was a bit harsh at the beginning, but after a few weeks, I noticed feeling less breathless, sometimes overtaking other bikers (utmost pride)… toning muscles.
I definitely feel fitter, even though I only ride 15′ to my work. I guess the regularity of the physical activity matters also.
And if you don’t want to get sweaty (or don’t have a shower at work), why not try an electric bike? Recently, shared e-bikes even popped up in Brussels !
Urban cycling is fun. The combination of the exercise, a feeling of accomplishment and independance, making your way accross traffic, the sense of exploring the city… it puts a smile on my face every morning.
It also melts away work day stress.
Not quite like the bumper-to-bumper congestion or even the crowdy metro.
A small chat at the red light, an old lady waving to the kids, some encouragements in the climb… those quick contacts are an absolute joy. You know, a smile can make your day.
Furthermore, we tend to frequent local shops, we are more on the street and run into people from our area. It gives us the feeling of truly connecting with our neighbourhood.
5. Kids love it
From the baby bike seat to the cargo bike, until they get their own two wheels… kids prefer gentle mobility “and we go so much faster by bike, Mommy!”.
To them there is no comparison between being sunk in the back of a car, desperately trying to catch what’s happening behind the rear window, and a bike ride with a relaxed Mom, looking at the sky or at basically all the (oh so major) events happening on the street.
6. Rediscover the city
Urban cycling is a great and easy way to explore the city. All of a sudden, you understand where Ixelles stops and Saint-Gilles begins, how Brussels’ disparate neighbourhoods are connected to each other.
And more importantly, you look up. You embrace the whole scenery : the sky, the roofs, the balconies, the shop windows, the restaurants, the passers-by… and notice cute or funny details.
Even on my daily commuting, I sometimes change path, make a small detour, check out new spots I’ve heard of… and from time to time my daughter asks me to go and say hi to the tiny little boy peeing into a fountain. I can’t imagine making that kind of detour by car!
I don’t think I need to expand on this topic, right ?
8. Save money
It is obvious when you have a private car, but it is also true for company cars : the benefit in kind, the fines, the insurance deductible… yes, it’s worth a few pair of heels.
I used to need 2 coffees and 30 minutes of solitude before decently starting my working day.
Now, when I turn on my computer, I am awake, boosted by the fresh air, the physical exercise, the quick shower I took on my arrival.
10. It’s hype
Urban cycling is definitely hype. Vintage frames, fixies, colourful tires, expensive accessories… the bike is the extension of the hipster’s character.
Let me see your bike and I’ll tell you who you are.
I convinced you but you still don’t feel comfortable cycling in Brussels? Bike experience is a free service offering you to be accompanied in your first tests by an experienced biker who performs the same daily commute as yours. And if Brussels’ cobbled streets have no secrets for your two wheels anymore, become a coach and encourage others to forget about their car !