With so much time having been spent in Belgium over my career and with the classics having just passed it seems somewhat appropriate to do this first favourite rides blog on Belgium, and more specifically in this blog, Flanders.
Perhaps I’m biased but it simply is a great place to ride a bike, the weathers not even as bad as people think, just look at the spring classics! From cobbles to canal paths, country lanes to bike lanes, short and steep cobbled bergs to longer and smoother climbs, Flanders to the Ardennes, Belgium as a whole has it all. With so much history on and off the bike, it really does provide a special setting to ride a bike. And with cycling being so popular in this country, it truly is a pleasure, in all its forms!
With so many “attractions” packed into a relatively small area, it provides so much flexibility and versatility for whatever type and length of ride you’re looking for. With that in mind this ride blog is more about an area in general than a specific route, simply because there are so many routes that you could take!
Having been based in and around the town of Oudenaarde, the finishing town of the Tour of Flanders, it seems more than an appropriate central point. It literally is the centre of Flanders and with that in mind, nothing truly is far away. Whether it’s a short or long, flat or hilly ride, it’s easy to customise a ride to anything you require.
Here are some of my favourite options;
A pan flat ride – Simply jump on the Schelde canal path (below) and 1hr later you’ll find yourself in Gent. Go the other way along the path and you’ll soon enough find yourself in Roubaix (close enough), somewhat appropriately joining the two biggest cobbled classics.
Flat but a little more twisty-turny? – Head out into the huge network of Belgian lanes that saturate these parts.
Tackle some climbs on a few hills but not too long of a ride. Simply pick a sequence of hills and with so many packed into the area and coming so close to each other, it’s so easy to do so. Cobbled or non cobbled (yes they do have them too!) there are plenty to choose from.
Why not ‘Go the whole hog’ and do a longer ride taking in it all? Get set for a spectacular day on the bike, one where you’ll know you have ridden come the end of the day and one you’ll never forget.
Whenever I need to do a long/hilly ride in these parts, I know exactly what to do. Tick off berg by berg in the heart of Flanders and you’ll have plenty of climbing meters, despite popular belief that Belgium and this part in particular is “flat”. Sure it’s flat if you want to make your route flat, but far from flat if you want a hilly ride.
The looping nature of the roads also allows you to have a day on the bike and never be all that far your starting point, yet never be bored. Most of the famous cycling landmarks in these parts are sandwiched into a relatively small area making it even easier to include them into your ride. And ofcourse if you’re wanting to refuel, rest or simply a sit down along the way it’s so easy to do so in Oudenaarde or other towns which you’ll pass through or atleast pass close to, making it so so easy to take in a little (or long) stop before continuing on with your ride.
Fancy riding here!? I’d be happy to show you the way and let some my favourite roads become some of your favourite roads too!
Would you like to BE more Belgian? As well as stocking Ridley bikes, we now also stock Ridley clothing, so everybody can be more Belgian. Check out the Ridley clothing here.