Who are you?
I’m Katia, “La nomade Sédentaire” on social media, and I live in Schaerbeek.
Why do you cycle in Brussels?
I started cycling in Brussels 6 years ago. Before that I mainly travelled by car. But I was fed up with traffic jams, and I’d had enough of spending half an hour looking for a parking place after work and the frustrations and stress of driving.
So, I finally decided to get rid of my car 3 years ago, because I no longer had a use for it.
It’s no exaggeration to say that my life is much easier now. I’m done with frustrations and stress. My bike has changed the way I move around on a daily basis. I cycle everyday, actually, all year long – to get around, for some fresh air, to go on holiday, in Brussels or elsewhere. Everyone can cycle in Brussels now really, as the infrastructure has improved everywhere.
Due to my own experience, I wanted to dispel all the clichés about cycling in Brussels and cyclists in general. And I wanted to encourage others to get cycling just like me. That’s why I started a blog and a YouTube channel, where I post videos that will hopefully get other people on their bikes. And they show car drivers what it’s like travelling round Brussels as a cyclist, as well. Because I think that if we understand each other better, we’ll be able to accept and respect each other better too.
What are your 3 favourite places in Brussels?
What wonderful places have you discovered with your bike?
During the lockdown I cycled an enormous amount in Brussels, and outside Brussels as well. I wanted to stick to the social distancing rules and meet as few people as possible. I went on long cycling trips of 60 to 80 km outside the city. I simply fell in love with the Pajottenland. Did you know that people also call the Pajottenland the “Tuscany of the North”? And it’s true, as well! It’s really lovely, and the landscapes are so incredibly peaceful.
The Pajottenland starts just beyond Anderlecht, but I don’t think many Brussels residents are aware of the existence of these beautiful and easily accessible places.
What’s your favourite restaurant / café / bar / ... that you can reach on your bike?
I go everywhere on my bike, hahaha! I can’t image how else I would get around.
At the moment, I like to go for drinks on Place Flagey. St. Boniface is terrific too. Recently I started exploring the Tour & Taxis site again, as it’s been completely renovated. At the moment they’re organising lots of open-air activities, with bars, music, and so on.
That’s the nice thing about Brussels, there are lots of things to discover in the summer.
What is your favourite cycling route in Brussels?
I think I mainly look for safe cycle paths in Brussels. In the city, I love cycling along the canal or coasting down unfamiliar streets in the centre. And Forêt de Soignes, of course, and Bois de la Cambre, where we can cycle without having to worry about cars. I try to find places in the city where I can cycle in peace. If I’ve got the time, I sometimes go out of the city too, by train or by bike and then I look for a new place to cycle!
What would be your ideal summer’s day on your bike?
I’d start off with a coffee and a pistolet with cheese on the terrace at Belga. Then I’d take a bike ride round the ponds in Ixelles. And after that, I’d head for the centre to be a tourist in my own city: coasting down the Mont des Arts so that I can marvel at the buildings, a spin round the Grand Place, then worm my way along narrow alleys, waving to the tourists.
And then I’d try to muster all my courage to cycle up the rue des Colonies to the Cinquantenaire, along the new cycle path at Arts-Loi. We’d have a picnic with friends at the Cinquantenaire. And then we’d end the day at Tandem, which has just opened at Madou, where we’d discuss at length how we’d build the world and the city, while knocking back plenty of beer.