Kim De Baat, Kaat Hannes, Maaike Polspoel and Nathalie Verschelden are all part of the Lensworld-Kuota cycling team, one of Belgium’s top ladies teams, which also has quite a few international top cyclists among its ranks. They always train on the public road, but this is not without risks. “When you ride many thousands of kilometres every year, the question is not ‘if’ but ‘when’ you will ever become involved in an accident”, that is the unanimous assessment of Kim, Kaat, Maaike and Nathalie. “You may ride ultra-defensively, you cannot always predict the actions of other road users, let alone influence them”, says Kim. She rides with a racing bike for almost 20 years already and knows what she talks about. “A car door that is slammed open is the no. 1 nightmare among cyclists”, they confirm in unison. You can hear from their persuasive language that they speak from experience. The number of times that thanks to their own alertness they could only just avoid an accident, cannot be counted on the fingers of one hand anymore. Nathalie Verschelden: “When you then only just succeed in making an emergency stop, the driver in question will always react with an

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Rudy Rollenberg

Over the past few years, Rudy Rollenberg (52) has become a bit of a celebrity as ultra-cyclist. But before that, he was active as an amateur cyclist. He realises as no other the importance of good visibility on the public road, here with us in Flanders but also far beyond across the globe. “Ultra-cycling and cycling races: this already makes a world of difference but also the mentality among cyclists has changed drastically over the past few years”, explains Rudy while sketching the two totally different worlds in which he has been active. “Previously, when I saw someone riding with a trekking bike, heavily packed and with a rear-view mirror, I couldn’t believe what I saw.  I found it a really horrible sight.” Now, in quite similar gear, Rudy cycles over 20,000 kilometres per year. “When I was still competing races, a racing bike had to look as ‘clean’ as possible. A bicycle bell and mudguard were off limits. Not even to mention a bike rack or mirror.” With the experience that Rudy gained as lonely cyclist in inhospitable areas, he sees things completely differently now. “I really couldn’t do without my rear-view mirror anymore. I only should remember in

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Bjorn Mathys

For Björn Mathys, choosing between bicycle and car is easy. Together with five friends – all former cyclists working within the Brussels region just like him – he shirks stress and traffic jams by bridging the 30 kilometres between his home address in Denderhoutem and the capital in a commuter cycling group. “I can recommend it to anyone”, starts Björn, a 39 year old KBC Bank employee. He even has trouble understanding that there are people who do not follow his example. “To start with, I am faster at my work than if I would take the car. I never suffer from traffic jam stress. And I have my daily share of physical exercise. Because you have to stay focused on traffic the whole time, you are not preoccupied by other stuff. The stress of my own job and life seems to slide off of me when I am on my bike. In short, it’s a real win-win situation.” But also his friends are for Björn enough reason to choose for the bike. “I really love the social contact. It creates a bond when you get on your bike together every day, the whole year round. We have different jobs

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