The Brussels Bike Hundred

100 portraits, stories and bicycles

We’re teaming up with Bike for Brussels to put together a 100-strong selection of local heroes shaping the city each in their own way. From designers and DJs to performers and publishers, these are the creatives riding Brussels forward.

Fien Prophete

Fien Prophete

Sales at Underwear (1986)

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I was born at the seaside, in Oostduinkerke, and came to Brussels to study socio-cultural work and law. Fourteen years later, I’m still here. I started working at Underwear – a lingerie shop on rue Antoine Dansaertstraat – in 2008 as a student and kept working there after I graduated simply because I love it. Together with Geertje Milis and my sister Tine Prophete, we try to make every woman feel confident about her body. Buying lingerie or swimwear shouldn’t be a struggle; it can be a nice moment. The three of us form a dream team. Besides that, I do a lot of sport. I started when I was diagnosed with Bechterew’s disease and I got so hooked that I want to become a personal trainer myself.

How has Brussels shaped you as an individual as well as your professional activities?

To me, Brussels is a big village with the benefits of a big city. Everybody knows each other but you have the freedom to be yourself and grow as an individual. In a village, everyone plays a specific role: you have the doctor, the bartender, the butcher, etc. In the centre of Brussels you have that too. My role is the lingerie salesgirl. I think I know the breast size of 50% of the female population in Brussels. Brussels is my home. You have to learn how to love it, but once it’s in your heart it’s not easy to let it go.

I like to wear high heels and it’s more comfortable on a bike than walking around.

What do you like the most about Brussels?

  • My shop Underwear
  • The laidback mentality: it’s not hip or trendy, there’s no dress code, hotspots and it’s not Pinterest-perfect. You can just be yourself, do your own thing and I like it like that.
  • Being anonymous: as I said, Brussels is a small village and everybody knows each other. However, it is really easy to disappear and walk around Brussels anonymously.
  • Go to the other side of Brussels and you’ll feel a completely different atmosphere. You can keep on discovering pretty and interesting places every day. Get on your bike; you’ll be surprised where you end up.

List three deciding factors that converted you to bicycle use.

  • I used to go everywhere with the bike when I lived at the seaside, so it was naturally that I took it with me in Brussels. But it wasn’t the same. You have to learn to ride in a completely different way. After I had a few crashes, it took me a while to get back on my bike, but I did and I’m happy about it. It makes me feel free.
  • Public transport doesn’t cover all areas in Brussels.
  • I like to wear high heels and it’s more comfortable on a bike than walking around.

What are your favourite bike routes in Brussels?

I like riding along the canal from Anderlecht to Halle. It’s a good bike lane and so nice to ride there just to free your mind after a busy day or on a day off. I also ride to work every day, but we need more cycling paths in the city centre to make it safer.