Soprano Astrid Stockman was completely addicted to running and ran half marathons until an injury threw a spanner in the spokes. So, a year and a half ago she cast off her running shoes and took up cycling.
‘Running was my way to blow off steam. I was a pretty fanatical runner with a preference for long distance running. Running was also easy to plan. You can put on your running shoes any place and any time, and just close the door behind you and take off. But when I suffered a persistent injury – which could only be helped with surgery that would put me completely out for six weeks – I was forced to stop.’
Saving for a bike
‘The sports doctor advised me to take up cycling. At first that threshold was rather high for me: I was reluctant to invest in a bicycle. That’s a pretty expensive purchase. Eventually. I started saving up for my own racing bike and bought the cheapest Trek bike there is.’
Cycling during the pandemic
‘Normally I ride my bike only sporadically, preferably alone or with only one other person. Because I am often on tour, it is difficult to ride my bike consistently and more frequently. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic I spent much more time cycling because my diary was suddenly completely blank. Which type of cycling tours do I like most? I’m happy if I can cycle for a few hours at a steady pace. A three to four-hour bike ride: wonderful! I don’t want to set myself any big challenges ... or at least not yet,’ she says with a smile.
‘Now that I am cycling more often I notice that I am becoming more agile and feel more confident on the road. Cycling sort of gives me a feeling of freedom. Particularly during the lockdown I loved to extend my radius to 2, 3, 4 villages.’
‘My most unforgettable bike ride was when I was on tour in Girona. I rode to Tossa de Mar, a very nice trip of over 100 kilometres along unspoilt beaches, with my boyfriend. I hadn’t been cycling for very long and had rented an e-race bike. But when you reach speeds higher than 25 km/h with such a bike, the support drops out and pedalling becomes quite heavy – more difficult than on a normal road bike. Halfway through the trip my battery also gave out. Everything went wrong, but the surroundings were beautiful.’
Collection of cycling shirts
‘My “Trekske” is a fine bike; good value for money. All I did to it was change the tyres to make it more comfortable. Good cycling equipment is very important to me. So yes, I dream of getting myself an even better bike sometime. My boyfriend bought me my first cycling pants and I soon invested in a few jerseys myself. I now have an entire collection of cycling shirts in my closet. I think it’s great that Little Black Bike has named a cycling jersey after me. Although I also feel a bit embarrassed about this; I am only a novice cyclist after all. But I am a fan!’
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Two years ago, I was having a hard time with my knee. In an impulsive mood I bought a bike. At first, I went cycling alone but I soon decided to join a team.
I took up cycling about ten years ago. I used to ride my brother’s old racing bike and sort of grew into the sport one step at a time.
When riding your bike, you’re in the middle of nature. It’s like a totally new world opening up for you. It’s nice to have a shared passion as a couple.