My origin story as a cycling enthusiast (and as Pédaleuse)

Every superhero has an origin story. And – since Pédaleuse is kinda my “secret” identity, my alter ego online – here's mine.

My origin story as a cycling enthusiast (and as Pédaleuse)

Every superhero has an origin story. Not that I’m a superhero, or was thinking about superheroes when I was trying to come up with a good name. But Pédaleuse is kinda my “secret” identity, my alter ego online. And maybe it’s more than that – a state of mind I get into when I go cycling, an adventurous one. But, I digress.

This is my origin story.

The cyclist

Somewhere in the early 2010’s I started cycling to work as a way to get fit again. It was a five kilometre commute, to the North side of town, and I rode it on a regular city bike. Until, one day, I fell and broke my leg.

The doctor decided the best way to go about it, was to put a titanium pin in my leg, which was held in place by two screws – one just below the knee, and another one above the ancle. The fracture healed up nicely, but the pin (and mainly the screws) kept bugging me. So, a year later, I went back under for a second surgery, and they took it all out. The thing with that pin, however, is that they put it in through my knee. And now, my knee had been operated on twice, leaving me with some unfortunate side effects. During recovery – ironically – the doctor told me cycling would be the best medicine.

So I took his advice and mounted my old bike again. The city was my playground. It still held a lot of secrets for me, because I had only moved here about two or three years before. And while I rode my bike to the outskirts of Antwerp, I discovered I really enjoyed the rides and the exploring. Not long after, I purchased a brand new road companion – a TREK Lexa SLX – which has been my faithful servant ever since.

Dreams and ambitions

I must say I’m not one to chase QOM’s and segments, or go on dedicated cycling trips to tackle legendary climbs. The flats out here in Flanders (the northern part of Belgium, home to the spring classics) suit me just fine. I prefer riding at my own pace, deciding for myself when I want to take it up a notch.

My ambition has always been (and still is) to build endurance and go on longer rides. I have done the Rapha Women’s 100 twice, and rode the Dodentocht (initially a 100 km walking sportive) and Classico Boretti. My longest ride – up until now, at least – was 146 kilometres. But I keep dreaming of even longer rides, multi-day bikepacking trips (on my own or with my family), and more gravel.

The alter ego

Pédaleuse came to be when I wanted to start a blog (or a YouTube channel, or whatever) about cycling in 2016-2017. Doing some brainstorming and researching cycling lingo proved to be very useful, because suddenly it just hit me: if pédaleur is the French word for “cyclist,” what is its female counterpart? After buying the domain name and checking if the username was still available on all the prominent social networks, I assumed my new (online) identity as Pédaleuse.

The blog never really took off. By the end of 2017 our first son was born and writing (and cycling) had to make room for diapers and bottles. Now that my personal peloton of two very energetic boys has grown a bit older, I hope I can make the time to pick up where I left off.