Nostalgia, scoundrel nostalgia.
The guys from Enough Cycling returned home a few days ago from their cycling trip in Flanders and they already miss waking up in the morning with the only idea of pedaling until the sun goes down.
So what? They thought of looking at some photos and highlights collected on the roads, or rather on the Flander’s cycle paths two weeks ago, and to make a small summary useful for those who want to take a couple of days to go up in the North.
Ready to discover their itinerary? We leave it to them to tell you about it directly!
First of all, it must be said that we have made an itinerary and you can safely take it as it is, without problems. But it is only ONE, because one thing we have discovered about the Flanders is that there are more than 10,000 km of cycle paths, all connected to each other. Some of these are part of the Iconic Routes, nine tracks have already been studied and are ready to accompany you to the main places of the region.
In short, you either take ours, or you take one of the Iconic Routes or just connect the cycle paths as you wish. Getting lost is impossible, because at every single intersection there is an indication, so you can follow those.
We left Leuven and left our bike transport bags at the hotel. The real start would have been the next day, so we took the opportunity to take a lap on the 2021 World Cup route and feel a little like Alaphilippe and Elisa Balsamo. Ok, maybe we went a little slower and we even made a few stops at the bar. Also because Leuven is really cool and there is also what they call “the longest bar in the world” or an endless expanse of bars attached to each other. Like La Rambla in Barcelona but without having your wallet stolen.
It was evening then morning, day 1 and we’re off for real. Johan accompanies us and we leave Leuven through a forest of beautiful and important straight roads. Cars and traffic are already a distant memory. Today you cycle on the “Hilly Route” and in fact there is little lowland. The scenery changes and we are in the middle of the apple fields, which are in bloom at this time: it feels like cycling in paradise.
Compulsory lunch break in Hoegaarden, to drink a beer 1 meter from where they produce it and we leave for an afternoon of flowering fields and hills, until we reach the destination for the night. Cafè Coureur is a bike hotel and bar completely dedicated to cyclists. Each room is named after a great Flemish victory. We sleep in the one of Roubaix 2011.
We wake up and once again the weather is perfect for cycling, and off we go. We leave the Hilly Route to cycle on the Meuse Route. We are moving east to the Dutch border. Today there is a lot of difference in altitude and you can pedal really calmly on the river, until you reach the city of Genk, where we visit an old mine: there are many in the Flanders, and in Belgium in general. We end the day cycling in a forest, as always away from traffic, until we reach our destination for the day.
And even here the evening ends in beer and chips because we really deserve them.
On the third day, time is tight because there is a train to catch, but on the road we have a lot of things to do today. The first is pedaling through trees, which is really cool. After a while on the cycle path suspended between the trees, we move to Ter Dolen for lunch: a small family-run brewery, where the owner shows us the production process before letting us taste all the beers they produce.
And there are more than a few.