After running her own company and producing events all over the world, the unplanned arrival of her son meant Julie's life took a new turn. Ever since, she's been focused on teaching her son a sense of adventure but making their daily journey a lot easier with Cowboy. We caught up with Julie and Basile on a ride along their typical day together in Brussels.
How did you first come across Cowboy?
I was looking for an electric bike and I think it was really the beginning of Cowboy. I was attracted by the weight of it. In Brussels, it's usual to have a house with a lot of stairs to climb. And I'm not tall or big, so it was complicated for me to have a heavy bike.
Right, you're one of the first women with this bike. Tell me about that.
Since I was a kid, I always thought the boy bike was better looking than the girl bike. It's like a dream come true to have the opportunity to buy a boy bike. I've also worked a lot with men through the years, so I'm not really scared by things like that.
Has your bike received a lot of notice on the streets of Brussels? What's the typical remark?
Yeah, that it's beautiful. People look at the bike when you're riding.
You've added to the bike so you can carry your son around, right?
Yes. Brussels by car is hell. I spent so much time in my car in a bad mood, screaming at everybody, with my son in the back, and we were always late. Late for the morning school and late for me at the end of the day, always late. I thought it was stupid. So I was looking for an electric bike because I'm not a biker at all. I don't like to bike, actually.
Oh! That's interesting.
My work is at the opposite end of Brussels from my home so it's a long road for just a regular bike. So I started using the Cowboy and it completely changed everything. In the morning, I used to spend 35 minutes just from home to school; by bike it's eight minutes.
Now you must be wondering what to do with all this time?!
Yeah, in between his school and my work it's 30 minutes less. So it's really cool.
Does your son like riding?
Yes, he likes screaming at the car we overtake: “We're going faster than you, ha ha!”
So he gets the context, the comparison to the car?
Yes. I always try to teach my son it's the adventure, not the journey. When you go from point A to Z, the adventure is not the Z. By bike, it's always an adventure. You can see the birds, go through the park, it's a good way to teach your kid about the journey.
Is he always asking you to ride?
Yeah, he asks basically every morning. But when it's too rainy we don't take it. “Can we take the bike?” “Nope.”
So is it fair to say that now, with Cowboy, you like to bike?
Tell me about Brussels. How would you describe the city?
I spent two years of my life in London, and when I came back to Brussels it seemed more like a village. I enjoy that you can hear the birds. There are a lot of birds singing in Brussels. It's a great city, just that it's a little rough. Everything in the city is a little bit complicated. By car, by bike, by subway…
Is that what you mean by rough?
The neighborhoods are rough, the weather is rough, it's always a little bit humid. But it's a nice city, it's a human-sized city.
What keeps you in Brussels?
I like the people of Brussels. They're not always happy, that's not the word. Yeah, familiar, like family everywhere. It's really mixed. My neighborhood is a big mix between Turkish, Flemish, French people… it's all mixed. When you walk out on the street, everyone says hello. It's fun, you know?
Schaerbeek. It's one of the biggest districts. It's changed a lot. There have been efforts to improve biking, to make it more ecologic, stuff like that. Also the population changed quite radically. Now everyone wants to come to Schaerbeek.
Where do you and Basile typically venture by bike, on a day off or weekend?
I'm basically always with my son. When it's spring or summer, we go to the market, usually prepare a picnic and go to the park. Josaphat Park. It's a place Basile knows better. He climbs the trees and builds mud houses. We do that. All the time. My best friend has a son the same age so they are basically growing up in the park so they know everything about it.
When in your life did you most feel like a cowboy? Or cowgirl, if you will.
I don't know if I can tell that. [laughing] My son was a surprise. Yeah, that was a Cowboy move because I had to change my life to accept it, to stop traveling and be an adult, a fucking adult. I made a promise to myself to raise my son to be a good man. I always tell him, he doesn't have to save the world but he has to be a good man. Someone good. I hope I will achieve that.
Before him, I was always on a plane, always jet lagged. Producing million-Euro events in China, Russia, India. Always surrounded by men with big noise, construction hat and boots, building stages, making content, a really stressful environment. It was a crazy time. But the most complicated thing I've ever done would be my son. I'm not afraid of a lot, except my son becoming a fucking bastard. The most stress ever in my life! [laughing]
But that's nice, you have a mission. He'll turn out just fine.
Yes, I have a mission. He's good.
What's your next Cowboy move? Anything in the works?
Try to find some meaning I guess in my life, for Basile and for me. Now I have a lot of time cause I'm not traveling anymore. But yeah, I want to build a good house with my son, I want to travel with my son a lot. He's now an age where he can travel so it's really cool.
Yeah I have a lot of projects too, it's messy. I don't know my next move. I'm not sure I want to know it now. It's tough when you try to full plan it, it never ends up that way. I guess the next Cowboy move can't be planned. You know? It's something that just arrives.