Liesbeth Deseins is standing at the Dutch border with her racing bike when we call her for this interview. ‘Can you call back in about two hours?’ she asks. ‘I’ll be home by then.’ It is immediately clear to us that this sports-minded policewoman uses every free moment to plan beautiful, long bike rides.
‘Two years ago, I was having a hard time with my knee. In an impulsive mood I bought a bike. I’ve always enjoyed spending time outdoors and I’m quite athletic, even though doing sports wasn’t really encouraged at home. At first, I went cycling alone but I soon decided to join a team. We have a tour scheduled every Sunday.’
You can always ride your bike
‘My work schedule at the police, which is in shifts, often prevents me from taking part in my team’s tours, but that’s okay. I also like to cycle alone. That’s the big advantage to this sport: you can hop on your bike and take off whenever you like. I especially love being outside and the feeling you get afterwards, when you’re completely satisfied with the effort you’ve put in.’
‘Climbing isn’t really my thing. I prefer long tours. I developed quite a taste for them during the Ride2Champagne with Little Black Bike. I found the information about that women’s cycling trip on Instagram and signed up without really knowing what I was getting myself into. I had never done such long bike rides before. That’s why I started out a bit uncertain, but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I got to know some wonderful ladies. And cycling more than 100 km every day felt like a real victory to me.’
Mountain biking in Uganda
‘I have never been on a real cycling holiday, but I want to change that next year. Then I will be going on a 14-day mountain bike trip in Uganda. A new cycling adventure ... I’m looking forward to it!’
Riding your bike in comfort – and in style
‘When I started cycling, I immediately invested in good equipment and decent cycling clothes. Comfortable ladies’ cycling pants seemed indispensable to me. And I also bought good cycling shoes straight away. Cycling wear is not cheap at all. But I’d rather save a bit longer and then buy a great-looking outfit that will last me several years, like one from Little Black Bike. I think it’s important to look good on my bike too.’
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Running was my way to blow off steam with a preference for long distance running. I was forced to stop. The sports doctor advised me to take up cycling.
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.