Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Host Housing

     An essential for all cyclists looking to travel and race, especially to foreign countries, is host housing. Thanks to the generosity and compassion of both communal living arrangements and private living arrangements, it is possible to maintain a comfortable, healthy lifestyle, while living the dream.

Communal Living
     Communal living is the primary host housing for cycling teams or large groups of cyclists. This type of living arrangement is comprised of numerous bedrooms, shared bathrooms, common rooms, and a cooking area. Cyclists are responsible for shopping, cooking, cleaning, and maintaining a healthy, sanitary location. Communal living is typically on a short term basis. However, some communal houses offer long term attractions. Within Belgium, "The Chainstay" is a well maintained and comfortable communal living arrangement. "The Chainstay" is located in Oudenaarde, Belgium and it remains open for the entire year. Additional information, on "The Chainstay," may be found here.

Bicycle storage.
Second floor hallway.
Common area.
Cycling is life.
Independent Family Living
     Independent family living is generously offered by families who are willing to host cyclists. Living with a host family is usually reserved for individuals or small groups of cyclists. During the second part of my stay in Belgium, I have been staying with a host family. They have been absolutely amazing! In addition to having precise knowledge of terrain and location, they have the ability to assist with food and laundry. Food and laundry are two necessities.
     My host family connection came at the hands of my current Belgian team manager. Host families are usually interconnected with cycling, cycling managers, and cycling culture. Living with a new family is certainly a give and take relationship. It is imperative to provide for the family and not interrupt their daily schedules.

Host families know the best local bakeries.
Here is a quick video of a post-Tour de France professional criterium. The criterium was approximately 25 kilometers from my host house.

     All in all, I have been extremely fortunate throughout my time in Belgium. It has been a privilege to compete against some of the best cyclists in the world, all while fostering new friendships with young adults, teammates, and adults. Thank you very much for the support and always consider opening your doors to an aspiring cyclist. A little support has the potential to go a long way.