The Belgian!

My first 7 months in the US…
It all started at the end of December 2011… my company offered me a 2-year assignment in the US. It was a bit overwhelming, but I was willing to take the opportunity. I still remember that my biggest concern was the location: Chicago, Illinois … Google maps did not show any topography, all flat. Not ideal for a cyclist!

The Tour of Flanders Cyclosportive: Cobbled Madness

At the end of April I made the move and traveled to the US. No family, no friends and no girlfriend…and a totally different culture. The first thing I did that first weekend was went looking for a decent bike shop. I looked on the internet and found Get A Grip Cycles where I met Ken. He suggested joining a group ride with the Spidermonkeys…

Arrival @ my apartment…shipping bikes is always stressful

It took me two missed team rides before I even could join the ride. I live in the western suburbs (Elmhurst) and have to drive 35 minutes to get started. Not easy for a foreigner to find the meeting point. Luckily, the second time I had a look from the other side of the parking lot and found the meeting spot. In Belgium it’s pretty straight forward. If you want to join a team ride, you just show up at 8 AM in front of the local church. It doesn’t matter in which village or city you live, this is the general rule. If you missed the start, you just wait in the local bar…every cycling team is having some beers together after the ride.

Racing in Belgium
Topography! (Not Chicago)


Every weekend I look forward to riding together with a great group of people. When you are riding you don’t need to think of anything and everything seems to be so simple. After each ride I feel good and realize that I’m really fortunate to be a Spidermonkey….the only Belgian Spidermonkey!

Jan Van Nuffelen