Cycling in the time of Corona - Julia Fouquet
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, cyclists around the world are certain of one thing: bikes still aren’t canceled. We talked to a few of our friends on how they are navigating riding during this time—adapting to new regulations and restrictions, coming up with novel ways to ride at home and stay creatively and socially stimulated, and keeping race legs primed for the days when we can ride (and race) together again.
Julia Fouquet arrived in Paris ten years ago to study jewelry but originally calls northern France home, where she grew up with a father who was a professional windsurfer and often went mountain biking with her family. She met her architect partner, Anthony, through bikes, and together they participated in many fixed gear races in France and Europe (Rad Race, Red Hook Crit, French fixed gear championship). Now, the two of them are mainly on road bikes and love to travel around the world to ride.
Are you still riding outside?
Unfortunately, no. Since four weeks ago, France has forbidden leaving your home. I can't go out to bike anymore. We can only go out to buy food. I am a jeweler, so I can no longer work in my workshop either.
What do those rides now look like for you? Have your reasons and intentions for riding a bicycle changed during this time?
When I wake up, I take advantage of the first rays of the sun to do fitness. With my boyfriend, Anthony, we continue to ride indoors with the Zwift training program. However, we love to have fun, and our creativity in this time of confinement has led us to move our pain cave regularly—even to outside in our garden! We are very lucky because it is difficult to find accommodation in this style in Paris. [We use] our van for our screen; it felt like we were really racing, and our neighbors cheered us on from their window! We [also] play ping pong and indoor archery [to stay active].
Afterwards, I often like to listen to my vinyl records while cooking.
Have your reasons and intentions for riding a bicycle changed during this time?
A few months ago, I started the Zwift program because I broke my vertebrae. So I had to be careful on the road because my back was fragile. I was just doing Zwift for fun, but I discovered that this application is very complete and allows you to train seriously!
How’re you staying motivated? Any tools you’re using to help you?
Zwift meet-ups motivate me to maintain physical activity and keep a daily sports connection with my friends. Zwift organizes many races and challenges during this pandemic period—it's very attractive! I [also] have time to read a lot, and I often find inspiration for my future projects in books. For example, I enjoy the magazine Les Others, which is a multidisciplinary review combining photography, illustration, creative projects and travel stories. Their objective is to have their readers reconnect with nature, imagining a new definition of adventure: more creative, more responsible and more accessible. The second magazine that inspires me is Petrosilicious, dedicated to classic car enthusiasts. I love old cars!
Lastly, do you think how you approach riding will change after this? What do you miss most?
I can't wait to rediscover the outside world, to be able to resume cycling trips with Parisian cyclists! Sunny days are coming, so it’s a great time to get some fresh air. And what I will miss from this period at home is taking my time to do things. It’s been nice to take advantage of the calm to reflect on future projects.
One in particular we are working on is our cycling events project (@mobilecycleclub). A few months ago, we bought a Volkswagen van, and quite naturally we came up with the idea of offering our own rides with our van, Ridéon, which is our identity, our image, our name. These will be organized social rides in Paris, with our van serving as a "food truck" bike stop for riders for breakfast and lunch. For instance, at the start of the rides, we will offer food, tea, coffee and handmade energy bars in collaboration with Mojo, a very refined Parisian caterer close to athletes—perfect for our concept! Then, we will take the cyclists to discover the Paris region by bike before stopping for lunch. We don't just want to make a simple trip where everyone goes home after the ride but instead has the opportunity to share a friendly moment between riders. We are also looking to do some road trips in Europe. We can't wait to start the rides!