A common question we hear is “Why Belgium”? Our first response is “Why Not”!
There are many ways we could answer this, but let’s focus on some highlights.
Crazy for cycling: Belgian’s in general, are nutty-crazy for cycling. Everyone. Country-wide. Yes, it’s true. The passion is clearly obvious and is not only a beloved past-time, but is a current affair. Cycling is a main mode of transportation for many. It is a hobby and a lifestyle. There are just as many cycling clubs as there are street lights. Who wouldn’t want to bike in an area that is so bike friendly?
Famous Cyclists: Eddy Merckx, the best cyclist in the world, is from Belgium. He helped foster the cycling spirit and continues to do so. His bike factory still located in his home town showcases a glimpse from is legendary career with the amazing action photography on the walls. The cycling industry all looks up to him, no matter where we are with our individual cycling abilities.
Chocolate: The world’s finest and richest chocolate is made in Belgium. After a great ride, you will smile in the coffee shop when they serve you a tasty piece of chocolate and cookie with your latte. Chocolate tours are informative but the sampling part is by far the best. Arrange your own taste test at a variety of chocolatiers and determine which truffle is your personal favorite.
Beer, Beer, Beer: Even though Belgium is a tiny country in Europe, it has a significant beer production. In fact there are over 500 unique beers brewed in Belgium from 200 breweries. It’s strong. It’s sweet. It’s sour. There’s no limit on what is produced. The choice is enormous. There are hundreds of breweries in the country and they range from microbrewers that produce 1-2 beers, to the large-scale producers who have several labels tied to their name. It’s common to drink a beer at lunch everywhere you go. Brewery tours give you a glimpse at how beer is mixed, bottled, and labeled. Of course they all end with a tasting so come thirsty.
It’s NOT France or Italy: Everyone seems to have been to France or Italy to ride their bikes. We have too. Belgium is different. It has a special feel to it. It has a local sense of pride. There are less tourists so you get a true sense of how people live. Because it is usually traveled after the big, well-known countries, cyclists already have an idea of what to expect with European cycling.
Belgium is at sea level and the terrain is mostly flat with rolling hills. There are cobbled hills in Flanders which makes the pro races so thrilling to watch. The routes in the pro cycling races contain extremely steep hills which are generally short, but the maximum gradient can head up near 20%. There are lengthy hills in the Ardennes, in the Wallonia Region, which seem to take all day to climb. The weather is mild and the countryside is lovely.
Belgium is a hidden gem! That’s why! And this is why we ride in Belgium.