Saturday, December 19, 2009

Backwards circles

So its that time of year again, the Off Season. The Rest and Recovery Period. I always struggle with the transition from the structure of training to the chaos of lounging around and eating and drinking. Even though I gave myself an absolute rule of no bike riding until the new year (besides the obvious to and fro) I made some 'adjustments' to my TT bike yesterday which involved riding the rollers for 2 hours. Its hard to let go. Even that didn't seem to quench the need for bikes completely, so I started pouring through some of my photos from the year.

I got a digital camera before the trip to Belgium this past spring and have managed to take something like 3000 photos and videos since then. I haven't really looked back on what I've taken or shared the stories of Belgium, which is why I created this blog in the first place. So I'd like to go through, a little at a time, and share some stories of the past season. Maybe this will help me stay off the bike for just a few more weeks.

So then.

Belgium, an introduction to Gent.

But, first a quick introduction to the travel companions. Jeremy Dunn of Embrocation Cycling Journal - trip planner and general instigator... try and keep up. Jennifer Park of Diesel and Bloc 11 cafes - coffee aficionado, bike enthusiast and marathoner.

There were to be many more people that we met up with and traveled with. I'll do my best to get everyone in here.

So that brings us to the first photos. When we arrived in Gent there was some wandering to be done. I believe we were on a quest for food, something I have many many pictures of and surely to be some sort of super post in the future. This post, however, is about when I got an inkling of the importance and abundance of bicycles in Gent.

This was the first bike parking spot I saw. Speechless. As I struggled to get my wits and take a photo Jen was trying to get my attention. We turned the corner of the block and my heart stopped. In front of us stretched a sea of bicycles. Thousands? Tens of thousands? I don't know, but that wasn't all (or even the half) of them. At every turn there was another mass of bicycles locked up. I never got to investigate further, were there attendants? Were these private lots? Did the lots empty out if everyone went out at night? Did they ever clear out? Who was riding all these bikes?

This I do know - hardly a drop bar in the bunch and bells aplenty.

Whenever anyone mentions Gent now my first thought is always of all those bikes.

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