Q. When did you start riding?
I started riding when I was 56. Bill Birrell encouraged me to try it out. He lent me one of his spare road bikes and we together joined the Friday ride. Going up San Vicente I thought I was going to die but with Bill’s help and Bill Mock’s advice I was able to reach 26th Street alive and reasonably well. I felt great afterwards and I was bitten by the bug.
I became a LG member after a couple of weeks and improved gradually. My biggest accomplishment that year was when Bill Birrell thought I was ready for Mandeville. Scaling that last wall was another victory! Looking back I can’t believe how pitiful that actually was compared to what I do today… I still wear the infamous La Grange “Blob” jacket Bill gave me in 2003.
Q. What is your favorite local ride?
I love to climb and that is very strange for a guy who grew up in a flatter than flat country like The Netherlands. My favorite climb is Latigo. The grade is just fine for a steady climb and the landscape around you is fabulous. Traffic is light and if you’re early enough the motorcycles will not give you much annoyance and you can silently climb to a Zen-like state which is the ultimate stress relief.
Q. What is your favorite post-ride meal?
The biggest reward after a ride is still my English Breakfast Tea in a pot at Peet’s. Meal-wise I can only say that after the Nevada Senior Olympics in Las Vegas we always go to a fantastic Thai Restaurant where I wallop in the hot dishes and extinguish the burns with lots of Thai Beer.