Cycling in Belgium
Belgium is best known for its beautifully crafted beer, waffles and Godiva chocolates, but there is more to Belgium than gourmand specialities and frothy, Lambic beverages. There are miles of rolling countryside, forests and stone farmhouses. The expansive countryside is dotted with urban centres like Antwerp, Brussels and Liege, but even these cities have a more rural, medieval flair than many of the cities throughout Europe. Wedged between France, Holland, Germany and the North Sea, Belgium is a small country. However, what it lacks in size it makes up for in natural beauty. From the beaches of the North Sea and the verdant Ardennes forest to the canals of Bruges, there is pristine countryside everywhere you look. Belgium’s rural charm and scenic landscape have turned it into a prime cycling destination. If you are going to try to work off some of that famous Belgium cuisine, then a cycling tour will bring you into the heart of the land and its people.
Most cycling tours of Flanders start in Bruges. Tourist brochures refer to Bruges as the Venice of the North. After you explore the cobbled streets and canals, it is time to take a ride in the Flemish countryside. There are several routes and bike loops in this section of Belgium, and the networks are well marked. Whether you are in the mood for immaculately paved roads, old train beds or towpaths, there are various different terrains to choose from. There are roughly over 1,200 miles of bike paths in northern Belgium. Flanders is a combination of flatlands, rolling farmlands and waterways. When you pedal through this historic region, it is more about enjoying the stunning landscape than preparing for the Tour de France.
Exploring the Ardennes
If you are looking for a more gruelling and strenuous ride, then check your tires, grab your gear and head for the Ardennes. Composed of dense forests and steep hills, the Ardennes is located in the southwest of Belgium. However, the Ardennes also covers portions of France and Luxembourg. There are several high-profile races held in the Ardennes each year. If you are a novice cyclist, then it is a good idea to sharpen your skills and stamina on Belgium’s other roadways before you venture into the more challenging Ardennes.
Following the Canals
Cycling along Belgium’s vast canal network is an ideal way to see the country. The majority of the canal paths are flat, and they often link the big cities. The canal path from Bruges to Ghent is one of the most popular routes in the country. The majority of these paths are well maintained and marked. Canal paths can become crowded at times, so if you are looking to race, these routes are not for you.
Belgium takes it cycling culture seriously. Whether you are a beginner cyclist or a professional cyclist, you will admire its many bike routes and scenic vistas. Just do not forget to stop for a late afternoon Chimay.
Belgium and why it’s a great place to cycle
Cycling is a very popular sport. This sport is popular across the globe and continues to expand. Why is cycling so popular? Bicycling uses the same amount of energy as walking does and will take you three times further in the same amount of time. Bicycling can be very relaxing and actually burns up to 600 calories an hour. Cycling is also popular because it is cheap and great family activity. Many students use bicycles as a form of transportation because it is much faster than walking.
One of the most popular places to cycle is Belgium. This country is a beautiful place and attracts many cyclists. The government of Belgium is very involved in creating a new track and improving old ones. Cyclists can enjoy riding on flat and hilly land. Gent, Brugge, Brabant, Limburg and Flanders are the most favoured cities to cycle for Belgium cyclists.
These cities contain many bicycle tracks full of natural settings for civilians to enjoy. Flanders is the most favoured cycling city in the country because it contains hundreds of bike routes that are great for beginners. Belgium is considered on the best places to cycle in the world because they focus on surrounding their cities with safe routes for cyclists to enjoy. These tracks are well maintained and are meant to keep cyclists safe from dangerous traffic and potholes.
Ninety percent of bike accidents in Belgium do not require ambulance assistance. The majority of bicycle accidents in Belgium are caused because the cyclist did not wear a reflective vest or helmet. It’s also common for cyclists to become injured when parked cars open their door. The Belgium government has recognized this common occurrence and now requires parked cars to give cyclists 80 centimetres of space.
Famous cyclists of Belgium
Many world-known cyclists are from Belgium. Eddy Marekx, Pini Cerami and Roger de Vlaeminck are the three most popular cyclists in the country. Among the three cyclists, Roger de Vlaeminck has earned himself the best title. He is also known as Mr. Paris Roubaix because he won the world title at the cyclocross.
Cyclist Rules in Belgium
In Belgium, cyclists are required to follow the same rules as cars. Cyclists are typically not required to ride in one specific direction. If you happen to see a sign that says “Excepted / Uitgezonderd,” that means that cyclists can travel on either side of the road. Cyclists in Belgium have a very low accident rate. Cyclists are required to stop at red lights, give pedestrians the right of way and cannot ride on sidewalks. These rules are unusual to most countries. If there is a designated bike path nearby it must be used instead of the road. Pedestrians also have the right of way on bike paths.
A popular crime in Belgium
A very popular crime in Belgium is bike theft. Most cyclists in Belgium purchase a lock for their bike. The average bike lock in Belgium costs 40 euros. The average bike costs 200 euros in Belgium. It’s much cheaper to purchase a lock than a bike. Bike racks are placed all over Belgium to help prevent bike theft. Bike engraving is very popular in Belgium. This service is typically free of charge and is performed at police stations and bike events. This service also helps prevent bike theft.
Belgium is a very beautiful country that truly has a lot to offer. The Belgium government understands the importance of cycling. Cycling has helped many people in Belgium remain physically fit. The environment is much healthier because many people who live in Belgium prefer cycling over riding in cars.
The Belgian Cycling Team
When it comes to international cycling, Belgium is considered a forerunner in any global event. Led by experienced and professional cyclists, the national team has a number of accolades and past achievements. This dates back to the 1948 London Olympics, which saw the Belgians score a number of gold medals. From Brussels to Bruges, cycling is widely utilized and very popular among residents as well. As a result, Belgians have always expected the best from their national and professional teams. While a myriad of amateur cycling clubs are available, it’s the professionals that capture the true essence of Belgian cycling. From local and regional races to international competitions, Belgium is truly known for their cycling performance and teams.
A Bright Future
According to industry professionals, Belgium has a bright future in the world of professional cycling. In fact, cycling continues to soar at alarming rates in this Western European nation. This has propelled several youngsters into amateur and even minor professional leagues. Primarily a summer sport, the Belgian teams are currently training the next generation of top-notch cyclists. This will ensure Belgium’s cycling program for decades to come. It also helps to cement their legacy as one of the world’s top cycling nations. With a strong foundation that is set in stone, Belgium’s teams will continue to surpass the competition in the years ahead.
As the national team prepares for this summer’s events, they are currently training for a string on national tournaments. While this is commonplace amongst team members, they have been able to secure a range of new sponsors as well. It’s this incentive, along with pure drive and determination, which promises to be a memorable season for the Belgians.
Throughout Belgium, one of the best ways to get around is on a bicycle. Not only is this mode of transportation good exercise, but it also gives visitors a chance to experience the local scene like the natives do.
Rules for Bikers in Belgium
Bikes are a great way to navigate Belgium’s streets. Nonetheless, knowledge of a few rules of the road can make the experience safer and more enjoyable. To begin with, a bike should never be ridden on the sidewalk. This prevents collisions with pedestrians and makes for more efficient riding. Bikes are allowed on most two-way streets and one-way streets. Unless prohibited by a sign, cyclists may be permitted to ride the wrong way on some one-way streets.
Aside from that, many of the rules of the road that govern cyclists in Belgium are the same as those that pertain to drivers. Right of way should always be yielded to pedestrians. All traffic lights and signs should be obeyed. Many streets in Belgium’s cities are equipped with a bicycle lane. Where one of these is provided, cyclists should certainly make use of it. However, they should realize that pedestrians may also use this lane and cyclists may need to yield to them occasionally.
Safety is a key concern for cyclists no matter where they ride. Most accidents in Belgium that involve bicycle riders occur when a driver opens a car door in the path of a cyclist. The law provides 80 centimeters of space between cyclists and cars. It’s a good idea to keep this distance in mind when riding, as it can keep cyclists much safer.
It pays to be visible when riding a bike. Accordingly, bikers who wear reflective vests and lights are less likely to be involved in a crash because they are more visible to drivers. For personal safety, wear a helmet at all times and consider adding knee and elbow pads, just in case.
Belgium may not be an overly large country, but its various municipalities and cities may have their own set of traffic rules and regulations for cyclists. When possible, bikers should try to research the rules of the road for locations they will be frequenting. Cyclists can be cited for traffic violations just as easily as drivers, so it pays to know the rules of the road and to obey them at all times.
Riding in Heavy Traffic
Riding in any urban area can be a harrowing experience. Heavy traffic, busy intersections and a plethora of signs are more than enough to distract cyclists and make what should be an enjoyable time a trying one. Bikers who prepare in advance for some of these challenges will find that they have an easier time navigating the streets. They are also less likely to be involved in accidents and far less likely to be cited for a traffic violation.
Riders who enjoy the privilege of being able to settle into one of Belgium’s gorgeous cities will learn through experience that certain intersections should be avoided. Without question, some city streets are easier to navigate on than others. Similarly, some streets help cyclists avoid massive hill climbs, while others seem to lead them straight up the side of a mountain. With familiarity of the streets and highways comes comfort cycling along them.
Belgium’s biking community is a close knit one. A novice rider can make contact with seasoned riders to discover the preferred routes through a city and what places should be avoided. Getting around by bicycle in Belgium can be a magical experience.