EVERYDAYRIDING DAY #93 - EVA SPIJKERBOER
Bicycle messenger, student at the University of Humanistic Studies, mountainbiker, bikepacker; for someone who discovered cycling a few years ago, Eva is a very complete and versatile cyclist. Three bikes hang on the wall in the living room of her student house. Her favorite one, a self-painted, self-built bike hangs above the sofa. On the table is a chain ring as a coaster, and on her keys is a section of bike chain. She doesn't have a car, she manages everything with the bicycle or the train. Does that mean every day riding? Asbolutely, but not every day as a messenger. "Nobody can keep that up."
When we ask why, the answer is simple. “As a bike messenger you will ride about 100 kilometers per day through the city. Sometimes with a heavy backpack, sometimes with a heavy cargo bike, which is great fun but also quite tiring. It takes a lot of energy.” Eva herself rides two days a week as abike courier. There are colleagues who do three days, and one who rides four days sometimes. But that is really the maximum.
It is tough, but gives a lot of satisfaction: "I really enjoy cycling through the city, and also delivering goods by bicycle through the city. Especially because it is really better and greener than by car. By bike you can also get through the city center much faster. "
Eva works for De Fietskoerier Utrecht, which is fully dedicated to the collection and delivery of mail, parcels and medicines in and around the city of Utrecht, the Netherlands. A socially committed company that has long pursued the slogan "Cycling makes the city more beautiful". Eva takes us to the inner garden of the University of Humanistic Studies, located in the heart of the city center, in the shadow of the Pieterskerk, which is close to the Domkerk. "I certainly think that cycling makes the city more beautiful. Absolutely. It's a very nice green little haven here, in the middle of the city. If everyone wanted to go into town by car and if everyone would park their car, this place wouldn't be there."
"Cycling makes the city more beautiful. Firstly for yourself. By bike the experience of the city is much more intense. Because you are not in a tin can so to speak, but out in the open. I experience a lot by bike and really from a different perspective. Yes, I really like that too. Cycling also makes the city more beautiful as a whole, because it is a much greener way to get around. Much more sustainable, cleaner and better for people and the city. When more people go cycling then there will simply be a lot more space for people and a lot more space for greenery. I think everyone needs that. "
Even when Eva changes the shirt of De Fietskoerier Utrecht for casual clothing, she can be found in the city, and she enjoys the many green places in the old city center.
WIN the "City Cycling" Prize Package
Do you want to enjoy the city even more, just like Eva, then participate in our giveaway and you could win our unique City Cycling package worth (worth more than 350 euros)
This promotion runs until May 31st.
Back to the beginning, when did the great love for cycling start? Like all other Dutch people, Eva grew riding a bike. But it all really started with a long cycling holiday trip with the Vrijeschool. "I really came in contact with cycling during that trip. With a group we cycled from southern Germany to Bosnia. On the second day we crossed an Alpine pass. Ever since then, I have been completely devoted to bicycles." Later, extraordinary travels and experiences followed. Like a bicycle trip from Turkey to Iran, a mountainbike trip through the Scottish Highlands, 24-hour races and much more. But it mostly pushed her towards being a bike messenger.
From a cycling holiday to working as a bicycle messenger was a small step. “Because I liked cycling so much, I started delivering pizzas for Deliveroo. And once at the Dutch Bike Messaging Championships, there was a Food category. There I won and was scouted by someone from De Fietskoerier Utrecht. And I've been working there ever since."
"What I like about being a bicycle messenger, is variety. The small surprises, meeting a lot of different people, discovering a lot of different places, and experiencing different companies. It actually feels like a kind of game in which you get different assignments that you have to complete within a certain amount of time.”
"The game element for me, is maneuvering, anticipating, split-second assessing traffic situations and moving through. I would prefer to really stay in the flow and move between cars and cyclists and overtake people. Also challenging myself, wanting to go faster. Finding the nicest, most beautiful, and fastest routes as much as possible, really gives a feeling of fulfillment.”
Of course there are also risks involved, especially if you always want to go faster, like Eva. "As a cyclist I sometimes feel vulnerable next to cars. I also realize that when I ride in a car myself, which almost never happens. Then suddenly I experience how vulnerable cyclists are. Because I know the other side so well. But I never really find it scary. When I fall, it is usually my own fault. Actually, always."
But the disadvantage disappears compared to the big advantage: "When I ride my bike, I quickly notice that I can empty my head. Kind of being in the moment with my body. That's why I think messaging is a very nice job in addition to studying because I am physically on the move all the time. That's a really nice variety besides studying, where I sit a lot and have to read and write. Which I also like to do, but the variety is very nice and important. Yes, it just feels good."
Eva thinks carefully before answering our questions, sometimes she looks for the right words. But if it is simply about the pleasure of cycling, the words come naturally. “I really enjoy cycling. You can do many things with a bike, literally. There is also a lot of possibilities in different types of bicycles, different areas and different ways of cycling. Messaging, mountainbiking, cycling holidays, I just really enjoy all that. Especially because it is so diversified. I ride the bike almost every day. Especially in those different ways."
Cycling dreams? She doesn't really have any concrete dreams, but she says about it: "I hope that I will actually always continue to cycle. Now that I notice it brings me so much, I hope that I will just always keep doing it. In a way that fits then."