Today is both a working day and a holiday: up at six, first work meeting at seven thirty – there’s a few early birds at work and these early hours are the best for complicated meetings. It’s quite busy, lots to do and somehow I manage to finish most of my list before wrapping up around five. I had already set aside a set of cycling clothes, a set of working clothes and the bunch of camping items that Mom gave me, so now it’s a matter of gathering the rest: laptop & charger, camera gear (though not the big lens this time), some food items like nuts, tea and energy bars.
It sounds easy, but I run around the house for an hour or three before everything is packed on the bike. In the end I have 20 kgs of luggage, excluding water. Arne arrives about halfway and follows the procedure with some amusement, simply provides me with food (chicken wings, pizza for him and a fruit-cottage cheese bowl for me) and a loving hug when I’m ready to leave right after eight.
It’s dark, so I put on all the clip-on LED lights that I own, as well as a fluorescent jacket. I know the route by heart, as I cycle most of it several times a week on my way to work. Don’t really need the light to illuminate the road but simply to be more visible to others. I get a few surprised looks, we don’t see a lot of bike travelers in this area, especially not this late at night. It takes a couple of kilometers to get used to the loaded bike.. I ride literally thousands kilometers per year on a speed bike, which is top heavy and big. Dad’s traveler’s bike is the opposite: light and maneuverable, but with the loaded bags the center of balance is different than what I’m used to, so I wobble a bit in the beginning.
At my Mom’s apartment in Antwerp town we park the bike and drag up the bags. She is amused as well, asks how it’s possible that I have 20 kgs if she’s carrying the tent, but I point out that her tent weights only as much as my laptop, never mind the camera and accessories! Each has their own priorities and must carry their own stuff and she agrees it’s a fair exchange if I sleep in her tent and she can enjoy my pictures 🙂