In our series #aboutcycling, Veloine riders share how they got into cycling and what the sport means to them. In this edition, hear more from @henricyclinginparadise
Born and raised in northern Germany, cycling has always taken me places
In my hometown Oldenburg in North Germany, every resident owns at least 1.5 bikes and cyclists have priority on every street (at least that's what they think). No matter the weather I made the 6 km long way to school and back on my heavy Dutch bicycle. I even used my bike as a means of transportation to go out dancing in the club on the weekend, although this admittedly might not be the safest way to get around town after midnight. However, for me the bike had always been exactly that, a means of transportation that you do not have to sit on any longer than until you have reached your destination.
How I went from almost zero sports to cycling
Fast forward 15+ years later, I still used my heavy Dutch bike to go to work every day and to get around my new hometown Munich, but I did not really ride it for pleasure. The only sport I did was hiking and cross-country skiing in winter (the version seniors do), but I was far away from calling myself “sporty”. Then one day, I met this man who turned out to be a huge cycling nerd. After a few dates where he told me all about cycling, I got to try it myself for the first time on one of his bikes (luckily, we are the same height). I got on the bike, leaving the city behind, riding faster and faster. I was amazed at how my body could power this machine seamlessly. We saw the mountains on the horizon, drove past forests, greeted other cyclists, and made our way to Starnberg lake. A magnificent panorama, first rays of spring sun. We headed back with tail wind slightly downhill and I was hitting above 40 km/h for the first time on a bicycle. 60 km later we were back in the city and I was just incredibly happy and immediately hooked.
Lots of firsts
After this first ride came a lot of firsts: the first time riding on the indoor trainer doing intervals, the first FTP test, the first time buying my very own road bike, the first cycling vacation on Mallorca, the first time doing more than 100 km in one day, the first group ride, the first time bike packing with an overnight and the first time crossing the alps on a bicycle (riding almost 600 km from Munich to Bologna, to be exact). And yes, all of this in this order within the first six months of cycling.
Cycling has truly changed my life
I sometimes find it incredible myself how much motivation I draw from cycling, how cycling has enriched and changed my life so much. I went from partying until 4am in the club to getting up at 6am to go cycling. From working 100% to reducing my working hours to have more time for cycling. From eating whatever I find, to trying to eat things that will enable me to feel healthy and fit for cycling. From 0 sports per week to riding roughly 200 km per week on my road bike. I recently even moved outside of the city to live closer to the best cycling spots away from heavy traffic.
My biggest adventure so far
Starting with cycling has been my biggest adventure so far. And the best thing is, it is not over yet. I try to capture my journey on my blog at www.youmecycling.com (in German) together with the infamous cyclist whose fault all this is (and to whom I am forever grateful for giving me cycling :-). I share the best rides and routes there and all the challenges and joy cycling brings to me. I am so excited to see what cycling has still in stock for me, I cannot wait for the new season to start.
Written by @henricyclinginparadise