Think of the Netherlands and bikes will likely be one of the first things to come to mind.
The Dutch love them – and Leeds’s baking-mad Saskia Roskam is no exception.
Saskia, 33, has lived in the city for the past five years and is as an avid cyclist, commuting by bike to Weetwood.
“I have been cycling since I was three, so it’s like second nature to me”, says Saskia. “My bike is more than just a way of getting to work – it is also how I get to start my day in the best possible way.”
In fact, Saskia’s typical journey begins with her two children, four-year-old Tumisa and one-year-old Miles, sat on the bike for an early walk from their Potternewton home to nursery.
Once the kids are dropped off, Saskia gets in the saddle and pedals the rest of the way to work.
“Both my son and my daughter absolutely love being out on the bike with mummy”, she says. “It is lovely to enjoy fresh air and nature with them, and a far more rewarding experience than driving the journey would be.”
“I cycle in all seasons and, although the terrain is harder in some places than in the Netherlands, my journeys are great for bumping into people and getting free exercise”, she says.
Saskia’s passion for baking recently saw her and business partner Lisa start the home-based Bloom Bakers, which sells Germanic-style biscuits and apple pies online and at markets in Leeds.
She is now keen to encourage others to try cycling for themselves by featuring in CityConnect’s Rediscover That Cycling Feeling campaign.
“I hope it will show people how they could make their own everyday journeys by bike, just like I do.”
“I make all my functional trips, like going to work, the shops or seeing friends, on two wheels. It means I can go anywhere at any point of day, I save money. Plus, I love the social aspect of cycling – if en route you meet someone you know, you can stop, have a quick chat and continue on your way!”
Saskia is happy to see her local area following in the footsteps of her homeland with infrastructure improvements.
“Everyone knows that the Netherlands is brilliant for cycling, so it is good that CityConnect is doing some of the kinds of things that make it easier for me as well as others who want to start cycling.”