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.

Isabel Naesens

Isabel Naesens

Founder at Comme les Loups (1987)

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today

I’m the designer behind the tie and bowtie brand Comme les Loups. We make a contemporary interpretation of traditional neckwear for today’s men. I founded the brand five years ago, while I was still working as an architect at Stephane Beel Architect. Besides that, I’ve also studied graphic design and information at Luca School of Arts in Brussels for the last two years.

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

Brussels is definitely a city that broadens horizons. It makes you look for new kinds of beauty and inspires you to combine elements from different cultures, just like the mix you see on the streets. On a professional level, we are lucky to still have old makers and a very present textile industry in areas like Anneessens and Anderlecht. The sewing atelier we work with is only five minutes by bike from our apartment.

Cycling speed is the perfect pace to get to know new areas

List three things you like the most about Brussels.

  • We have many different neighbourhoods, each with their own identity. It sometimes reminds me a bit of Berlin in that sense.
  • When the world comes together in the Abattoir and the Midi markets.
  • Whether it’s the urban Warande Park, the contemporary Tour & Taxis or the Rouge-Cloître forest, Brussels has a lot of different parks. Unfortunately, the congested west side of the city centre is still lacking a large green area for its locals.

List three deciding factors that converted you to bicycle use.

  • It’s the quickest way to get around the city
  • Cycling speed is the perfect pace to get to know new areas
  • You can park right where you need to be

List three favourite bike routes in Brussels.

Brussels is actually one of the least bike-friendly cities I‘ve lived in due to its hills, cobblestones and car emissions. But these are a few routes I do enjoy:

  • From Porte de Ninove/Ninoofse Poort to Ikea Anderlecht: this flat 20-minute ride next to the canal is much more pleasant and fast on your bike than in a car. After riding five minutes on a decent bicycle path through an old industrial area, you reach a lovely park with houseboats next to the canal.
  • From Schuman to La Monnaie/De Munt (only downhill): this is one of the only roads in Brussels where you can confidently cycle down at full speed thanks to the separate bicycle path. On top of that, it’s sort of a scenic route passing the Warande Park and Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudule/Gudula.
  • From Maelbeek/Maalbeek valley to Josaphat, Marie Louisa Square, Leopold Park, Flagey and La Cambre/Ter Kameren: I haven’t done this one myself yet, but I have been very intrigued since some friends told me about this effortless way to cross the city.