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  • Foto van schrijverfoeshel

When the wheels start turning

Colorful illustration depicting a young girl riding a bicycle with joy, seemingly soaring off a hill. The bike appears airborne, and a playful cat clings to the back. The girl wears a broad smile, radiating happiness.

Right under the Netherlands and just above France, there's Belgium—a small, kinda surreal place. I'm from Flanders, the part where we speak Dutch. Like our Dutch neighbors, we love our bikes, but man, our bike lanes are a whole different story... Think of the Dutch and their love for order and straight lines, just look at the art of Mondrian which is a fine example of Dutch thinking, then flip that. In Belgium, you might find a street where a hacienda sits next to a minimalist villa, next to a castle, and then, why not, a wooden shed. And good luck finding them in a straight line. Then there is a bike lane or is it... At some point, we thought, "Maybe a bit of structure wouldn't hurt?" But then shrugged and threw that idea into our pile of surrealism. I think surrealism is more then just an art movement in Belgium it is a way of being. I guess this kind of chaos is why we're so good at cyclocross. It's basically going down the street to the bakery to get a loaf of bread.

Riding my electric bike, with a chair on the back for my daughter, is almost like therapy. It clears my head, helps me sort my thoughts, finding balance in the chaos, and yeah, lots of my drawing ideas pop up when I'm biking to work or dropping my daughter at school.

I remember getting one of my first big bikes? It was freedom on two wheels. Suddenly, I could zip around town to the video library and grab movies, meet friends, or just feel the wind as if I was flying. That simplicity sticks with you.

Seeing my daughter now, she's got a bit of my stubborn streak. Took her time deciding to learn to bike. She had her balance bike and seemed fine. I tried telling her, "You know, a real bike is faster, goes further, and it's a blast." But push too much, and she'd push back. Kids, right?

But then, school announced a biking day at the traffic park, and suddenly, she's all in. We had a bike that was too small and one a bit too big. Do we borrowed one from the neighbors, and just like that, she was off, no training wheels or anything. Makes you wonder if she secretly practiced somewhere because she just took off like she's always done it.

This new sense of adventure, of her finding freedom on her bike, inspired my latest drawing. It's her, flying off a cliff on her bike, huge grin on her face, with our cat clinging on for dear life. That moment of pure joy, freedom, and a bit of madness—that's what I wanted to capture.

And with every ride, it feels like that chair on my bike will soon be history. Watching your kid find their own path, it's bittersweet but beautiful. Life's about those moments of letting go, watching them grow, and finding their own freedom. And for us? We just keep riding, through memories, dreams, and every leap of freedom along the way.

If you are interested in more or the drawing process of this illustration then check out the video below on YouTube.

See you all soon.

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