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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    12

    Hi there - noob here.

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    Hello ladies,

    I thought I'd introduce myself and what better place to do so than the commuting thread, as I use my bike mainly to commute to and fro work.
    My name is Kate, I'm 38 (although I'd like to think I'm 28 with ten years of experience) and I'm from Belgium.

    I am currently trying to save up for a road bike (although I've never ridden one and I'm not sure I'd like it) but until I can stop myself from spending my hard-earned cash on bike-related stuff (Oh look, bike shoes!), my MTB will have to make do for now.
    Here it is:



    Isn't she a beaut?
    This picture is several months old and slight modifications have been made, such as commuter-friendlier tires. The only thing I still need to change is the saddle. Currently I'm using this one:



    To say that this thing is not the most comfortable of saddles would be quite the understatement. My butt hurts just looking at the picture.

    To be honest, it was perfectly fine for the occasional weekend ride but since I spend between 3 and 3.5 hours on my bike each day (I work about 39 kms - that's 24 miles for you non-metric people out there - from my house) I really am desperate for a saddle that's better suited for my undercarriage. My Quest for the Ultimate Comfortable Woman's Saddle is what brought me to these here parts.

    If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to drop me a line!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    478
    Welcome to TE and the wonderful world of bicycle commuting. I commute to work 16 miles each way. I had a Trek steel touring bike, but sold it for a cyclocross bike to commute on and hopefully do some CX races next Fall.

    I have a mountain bike also, but since my commute is pretty long, I opted for a road style bicycle for the job. The drop bars offer more hand positions and it is faster than my mountain bike.

    I was nervous about getting a road bike also and wasn't sure if I would like the riding position. I opted for a relaxed geometry Bianchi via Nirone road bike and absolutely love it. It didn't take long to get used to the different roadie position either. The key is to find a good fitting bike for your body. The only way is to test ride lots and see what feels best for you. Lots of threads on this if you decide to do a search. I would say go for a road bike if that is what you want, or at least try a few out to see if it works for you.
    2012 Trek Lexa SL
    2012 Giant TCX2
    2015 Trek Remedy 7
    2016 Trek Lexa C
    2016 Specialized Hellga-Fat Bike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Welcome from one Kate to another!

    You might want to peruse this thread about saddles.

    P.S. My husband and I spent part of our honeymoon two years ago in Ghent and absolutely loved it! I'm not sure what area of the country you're from, but we loved what we saw of Belgium. We also went to Bruges for the day and took a bike ride along the canal to Damme.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Trek-chick View Post
    Welcome to TE and the wonderful world of bicycle commuting. I commute to work 16 miles each way. I had a Trek steel touring bike, but sold it for a cyclocross bike to commute on and hopefully do some CX races next Fall.

    I have a mountain bike also, but since my commute is pretty long, I opted for a road style bicycle for the job. The drop bars offer more hand positions and it is faster than my mountain bike.

    I was nervous about getting a road bike also and wasn't sure if I would like the riding position. I opted for a relaxed geometry Bianchi via Nirone road bike and absolutely love it. It didn't take long to get used to the different roadie position either. The key is to find a good fitting bike for your body. The only way is to test ride lots and see what feels best for you. Lots of threads on this if you decide to do a search. I would say go for a road bike if that is what you want, or at least try a few out to see if it works for you.
    Thanks so much, Trek-chick!

    If I get a road bike, it'll more likely than not be a secondhand one. Belgium is quite the country of racing aficionados and every classifieds website I've looked at has more secondhand road bikes than you can swing a dead cat at. I'm not sure how keen people are on letting a perfect stranger taking their bike for a test ride though, especially one lengthy enough to tell me what I need to know. I'll guess I'll have to ask them nicely.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    Welcome from one Kate to another!

    You might want to peruse this thread about saddles.

    P.S. My husband and I spent part of our honeymoon two years ago in Ghent and absolutely loved it! I'm not sure what area of the country you're from, but we loved what we saw of Belgium. We also went to Bruges for the day and took a bike ride along the canal to Damme.
    Thanks for the link, Kate, I'll definitely have to check it out!

    PS: You came to Belgium on your honeymoon? I'm so sorry to hear that....

    Just kidding. Glad to hear you liked it. I absolutely love Ghent!! Everybody always rants and raves about Bruges, and I do think it's a lovely city, but I think Ghent is a lot nicer. I live near Brussels now, but I spent some of my childhood about ten miles north of Damme, at the coast.

    (I'll take this opportunity to add that I'm not all that fond of my home country. Wait, let me rephrase that. I would absolutely love Belgium if it weren't full of Belgians.. )

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikerkippie View Post
    Thanks for the link, Kate, I'll definitely have to check it out!

    PS: You came to Belgium on your honeymoon? I'm so sorry to hear that....

    Just kidding. Glad to hear you liked it. I absolutely love Ghent!! Everybody always rants and raves about Bruges, and I do think it's a lovely city, but I think Ghent is a lot nicer. I live near Brussels now, but I spent some of my childhood about ten miles north of Damme, at the coast.

    (I'll take this opportunity to add that I'm not all that fond of my home country. Wait, let me rephrase that. I would absolutely love Belgium if it weren't full of Belgians.. )
    Several people both here and on another cycling forum strongly suggested that we stay in Ghent over Bruges. I'm so glad we took their advice. Bruges just felt way too touristy and crowded, while Ghent--which is equally lovely--felt like a real, living city. Minus the fact that my husband had a sinus infection while there, we had a wonderful time and are dying to go back. We spent part of the trip in Paris, too. I will admit that we spent one cold and rainy day in Brussels. My husband was so sick and the weather was so miserable, I can't say that we enjoyed the city. Plus, I found the people in Ghent to be much nicer. Admittedy, the prevalence of very well spoken English there really helped.

    We highly recommend a B&B in Ghent called Simon Says. We just loved it. The owners are Brits if that helps! They helped get my husband to a medical clinic and pharmacy, on a national holiday at that. We were very grateful.

    I'm not overly fond of a lot of Americans either. Perhaps we're just too close to our countrymen to appreciate them.

    ETA: We loved Damme, too, btw. What a lovely area to spend part of your childhood--at least to us.
    Last edited by indysteel; 11-10-2011 at 01:11 PM.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    Welcome! Fellow bike commuter here, from Norway.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bikerkippie View Post
    I'm 38 (although I'd like to think I'm 28 with ten years of experience)
    I love this
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    Several people both here and on another cycling forum strongly suggested that we stay in Ghent over Bruges. I'm so glad we took their advice. Bruges just felt way too touristy and crowded, while Ghent--which is equally lovely--felt like a real, living city. Minus the fact that my husband had a sinus infection while there, we had a wonderful time and are dying to go back. We spent part of the trip in Paris, too. I will admit that we spent one cold and rainy day in Brussels. My husband was so sick and the weather was so miserable, I can't say that we enjoyed the city. Plus, I found the people in Ghent to be much nicer. Admittedy, the prevalence of very well spoken English there really helped.

    We highly recommend a B&B in Ghent called Simon Says. We just loved it. The owners are Brits if that helps! They helped get my husband to a medical clinic and pharmacy, on a national holiday at that. We were very grateful.

    I'm not overly fond of a lot of Americans either. Perhaps we're just too close to our countrymen to appreciate them.

    ETA: We loved Damme, too, btw. What a lovely area to spend part of your childhood--at least to us.
    Off-topic alert!!

    Bruges is very touristy and to be honest, I think it's quite overrated, but don't tell anyone I said that.
    Ghent has a lot more going for it, IMHO. Did you go to " 't Gravensteen" (the big castle in the middle of town)? Did you take the obligatory boat ride down the canals? If you didn't, you simply have to if you ever go back to Ghent. It's a little tacky, but I learnt so many new things about a city I thought I knew perfectly well.

    Brussels sucks. 'Nuff said. Unless you are shown around by a local (feel free to give me a call if you ever make it back here), the tourist traps are notorious and plentiful. It's so dirty too. Urgh.
    Paris, on the other hand, is absolutely wonnnnnderful. I lived there for 7 months and I loved. Every. Freaking. Second. Of. It.

    Another city to consider on your next trip to Belgium is Antwerp. It's where I work, and I just love going for bike rides through the city during my lunch break. There is just something about that city, I can't quite put my finger on... The locals have a bit of a reputation for being abrasive (and rightly so) but they're much nicer to Americans than they are to their own countrymen.

    I'm not sure if it is the closeness to other Belgians that makes me dislike them. I've never felt like your typical run-of-the-mill garden variety Belgian, to be honest. I guess I'm a bit of an oddball. I've lived in 5 different countries and I simply know that there are far better countries out there, or rather, people.

 

 

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