Greetings from Germany
My name is Susan and I'm an American expat living in Germany. I'm really a long-distance runner instead of a cyclist. But I cycle for cross-training; and I also cycle to work when the weather permits from April through October or early November. My family goes out for easy weekend bike rides when the weather is nice. I found that cycling strengthens my quads and helps me run the hills stronger and faster. The city where I live is very bicycle-friendly. All of the locals here know to watch for cyclists on the roads. It's also easier to get around and find a parking place in town with a bicycle than a car. Just about every business here has either bike racks or a special parking area for bicycles. There are lots of bike trails in the area where I live ranging from gentle, flat paved paths to steep mountain bike paths. My husband cycles for his primary exercise in the spring through fall.
When I was in college I dated a bike racer who had a large poster of Eddy Merckx in his dorm room. I learned about racing (and all about the Cannibal) from him. I've actively followed the Tour de France and the other Grand Tours since Greg Lemond won the TDF. During this year's TDF I discovered this forum and found the people posting on it to be much more knowledgeable than those who post on Yahoo or even the Eurosport website. Even though I'm American, I appreciate cyclists from all countries. I was most impressed with Alberto Contador, the Schleck brothers, Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin, and several of the other younger riders in the '09 TDF.
I just turned 50 this year and will read the "over 50" section in this forum. It's always good to see other older athletes out there.