The Tour of Flanders by bike – Part 3

Here we are ! After the first two parts, discover the last part of our tour of Flanders by bike.

Day 8

We leave Kortrijk on an old train track, converted into a cycling path. We continue along the canal and reach the river Scheldt towards Oudenaarde. The road is flatter than flat for those who start feeling a little tired after a few days on the bicycle. Oudenaarde is only 37 km away. However, some of us do feel the need to get the true “Flandrien” feel. We have reached the Flemish Ardennes. So called, because they are almost as hilly as the Walloon Ardennes. This is the country where Eddy Merckx, Louison Bobet, Mathieu and his father Adrie van der Poel, Jacky Durand, Tadej Pogacar and many others won the most beautiful road race in the world. At which point we decide to do part of the race trail…

Paterberg bike route

We put the chain on the smallest gear, because when we leave the Scheldt we cycle towards Kwaremont, a household name among bicycle enthusiasts. As the Paterberg is nearby, we obviously include it in the ride. In Belgium it is legally forbidden to have two without three. So we also add the mythical Koppenberg to the route. This alternative route is only for hardcore crazy people. With slopes of up to 22% on cobblestones that feel as if they were thrown on the road from a distance, you can count on a tough challenge. Approach the Flemish hills with fear and respect, as they will crush your hopes and dreams if you don’t. 

Yet again, we reach a beautiful small city. If you have any interest in cycling, you can visit the Tour of Flanders museum.

Day 9

There is only one thing that separates us from Brussels : the Flemish Ardennes region. Cobblestones, steep hills, wind, pouring rain, hail, and cyclists lying in a fetal position on the side of the road calling for their mother. The next three days consist of finding a way that is acceptable for normal people who don’t cycle 1000 km per week, and yet thrilling enough to show a hint of this truely amazing part of the world. We part ways and leave Oudenaarde along the river and beautiful country roads, with little to no traffic, to check the many possibilities. We reach the mythical town of Geraardsbergen almost at the same time.

 Geraardsbergen, Manneken pis
Geraardsbergen, Manneken pis

Geraardsbergen is the lifelong competitor of Brussels. In Geraardsbergen, they also have a Manneken Pis, which is allegedly a lot older than his Brussels’ nephew. Two more things they are proud of are mattentaart (you will want to taste a few of those, it’s a cake made with buttermilk) and the world famous Wall of Geraardsbergen. Not a wall in the real sense of the word, but a steep cobblestoned hill right in the middle of town. 

We decide to climb the hill, because on the top there is a restaurant and we are hungry. I have climbed it many times before, but that was many kilos ago. Aurélie enjoys my little help and swiftly climbs to the chapel on the top. We are stunned by the magnificent view and an excellent dinner at the top.

Day 10

An extra day to find some alternative ways in this region. We feel that the thousands of meters we have climbed in the past days have crept into our legs. We cycle to Zwalm and Ninove. Along the way, we discover a lot of steep hills, cobblestone roads and even a very busy road, unsuitable for cycling. This is clearly not the way we want to present to our customers. After another 65 km we have a meeting to pick one of the several ways we have cycled the past two days. Plus, we have a well deserved beer on a terrace overlooking the Wall of Geraardsbergen. It was yet again a hard but rewarding day.

Wall of Geraardsbergen
Wall of Geraardsbergen, chapel

Day 11

Today is our last day of cycling : we are cycling back to Brussels again. The roads are excellent, but hilly. We have discovered, the past three days, that Jacques Brel has clearly never cycled in his “Flat land”. The countryside is beautiful and we notice more and more that we are reaching the capital. Traffic gets busier, roads are congested and suddenly we find ourselves in the Brussels traffic infarct. This is clearly not the way to go.

Turning back to one of our last reference points at the outskirts of Brussels, we let fate decide which way to turn. A brilliant move as fate shows us the way through a park and over a wonderful boulevard where cyclists have gotten their own cycling lane in the middle. With hardly any interference from cars, we reach the canal and find our way back to the bicycle rental agency. And a beer, obviously !

Grand-Place, Brussels

It was a wonderful tour of Flanders by bike! Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t rain all the time in Belgium. During our 10 day bicycle tour, we had about 3 hours of rain. The Belgian art cities and the Flemish countryside are wonderful. The food is amazing and the people are genuinely welcoming. From our litlle adventure, we have created two new bike trips which, we hope, you will like!

From our litlle adventure, we have created two new bike trips which, we hope, you will like!

The Tour of Flanders on a bicycle in 7 days

A long cycling weekend in and around Brussels

Welkom in Vlaanderen ! (Welcome to Flanders !)

Laisser un commentaire


Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *