LIAN VAN LEEUWEN


Where are you based?
Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Where's your favourite place to ride?
Most of my rides start in the area around Rotterdam but I try to get out to more rural places as much as possible. The Netherlands is not best place for that, but there are some really nice areas. The more I ride, the more I discover. It's never vast, but it is definitely possible to find quiet roads and beautiful views. Especially around National Park de Veluwe, along the coastline, or around the few hills we have in the South. Apart from that I like the fact that I can do a three-countries-in-one-day ride without too much hassle. 


What type of riding do you like to do the most?
I love winter rides. Empty roads, no distractions, sometimes hard work, but always worth it in the end. In general, I cycle for the scenery almost as much as for the ride itself. As we don't have magnificent scenery around every corner I do need to put a bit of effort in, but that's also a nice challenge. Really paying attention to what's around you and finding the beauty in that. 


I'm on a road bike most of the time and prefer the longer rides, as it gets me places. Sometimes solo, sometimes with friends. And although we're mainly a flat country: I like climbing as well. It seems to be easier to get into a good cadence.


How do you discover a new route? Do you plan ahead with maps or just see where the road takes you?
I always make a rough plan before I leave, but I love trying out new routes. That's a huge part of the fun for me. It's the closest you can get to having a one day adventure, so I try to vary routes as much as I can. But even going out before sunrise can add a sense of adventure. 

And I love having a special target. Cycling somewhere instead of doing a round. For instance following a river, or ending up at the seashore. It's pretty hard getting lost in our country, but if I do, I use my GPS.


What equipment do you use to capture your ride?
Right now it's usually my Iphone 4S. I own a Canon EOS 550D with some good lenses but that is way to bulky to bring along. I am thinking about getting something compact with a bit more quality though. But maybe the Iphone 6 I'm getting soon will do.


What destination would be on your riding wish list?
I am heading up the Ventoux for the first time his May, so that's a good start. But other than that I have a pretty long list of places I would love to discover by bike: the Dolomites, the South West of Norway, California, Colorado, Scotland highlands, Iceland, Patagonia... I have traveled quite a bit and have visited some of those places before, but never by bike. Still a lot to look forward to!