Wherever you meet Maarten, Bob is not far away. Literally so: Maarten puts in the miles on his bike with his dog behind him in a trailer. We chat with the pair out on the road. How many miles has Maarten travelled, he on his bike, his dog Bob in the trailer? No idea, but it must be thousands, Maarten suggests, unafraid of a little exaggeration. We met up with the happy couple somewhere on the road in West Flanders - on their bike, of course.
I never got a driving licence”, confesses Maarten. “I often started to have driving driving lessons, but I never got on with the traffic. So for years I went to work by public transport. With that unsatisfied impression at the back of my mind. Until I retired and it finally clicked: not driving a car was a deliberate, green choice. Of course, I still miss Marjan, but Bob keeps me company.”
" At the same time, Maarten very deliberately opted for a new hobby: cycling. “In the beginning I used to cycle with my wife Marjan. But sadly, she passed away away a few years after I retired. I was lucky enough to get a lot of support from my grown-up children, not forgetting Bob, my dog. “Of course, I still miss Marjan, but thanks to Bob I don’t feel alone.”
Bob brings sunshine into Maarten’s life, even when it rains. “When I was 65, my children gave me a trailer so Bob can come with me on all my rides. Safely and at his ease, while I pedal and pedal,” chuckles Maarten, visibly happy.