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.

Malte Arhelger

Malte Arhelger, 1984

From Malte With Jazz

Describe yourself, your background and what you do today.

I sometimes spin records from my collection and I’m one of the active members of Critical Mass Brussels – that bike ride you’ve always wanted to join, but never had the time to. It takes place every final Friday of the month, from 18h at Porte de Namur / Naamsepoort.

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

Brussels gave me a day job that I carry out with a clean conscience, and which pays for more records. Brussels also made me do funny things, like learning Dutch. It makes me feel like a mystic visitor from the future – my hometown introduced 30km speed limits back in 1983. People still move around in cars here because they’re scared of getting hit by other cars. 

People still move around in cars here because they’re scared of getting hit by other cars.

List three things you like the most about Brussels, bike-related or not.

  • It’s small enough for the fearless to get around by bike.
  • It’s so small that the kid who knocked me off my old Gazelle on Place Fernand Cocqplein came up to me three years later to compliment my DJ set at Café Central without realising that I was the person he had almost killed while drunk driving. (In case you’re reading this, you still owe me money for the bike repairs.)
  • In fact, it’s so small that I was featured in Bike for Brussels’ “look and feel” focus group and on a hip website promoting the very same initiative. Hi mom!

List three deciding factors that converted you to bicycle use.

  • Two legs
  • Two arms
  • No time to waste

List three favourite bike routes in Brussels.

  • From Chaussée de Gand / Gentstesteenweg to downtown Dansaert, because that’s where I’ll run into friends.
  • Through the pedestrian tunnel underneath the Ring to Château de la Hulpe in May, when the rhododendrons are blossoming, because the view onto the purple fields on the right is pure gold.
  • Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat, anytime and in any direction, because cycling by long lines of cars makes you ponder the foundations of a society in which people feel obliged to accept jobs they barely like, and living far away in order to forget about it.