The Belgian media has got all enthusiastic about cycling this week because this weekend is the start of the Belgian cycle racing season, a time for grim faced strong men (and increasingly women) batter their way around country sampling rain, … Continue reading →
This time last Sunday I had just completed a wonderful mountain bike ride with the participants at the annual European summit for the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA Europe), I mean it is all very well to stand around discussing … Continue reading →
Many elements came together last week for a memorable bike tour around Ljubljana, capital city of Slovenia. I had already rather fallen for Ljubljana’s charms on previous trips, (post here) but this time I had a glorious spring afternoon and great … Continue reading →
I am going through a very strange time in the calendar at the moment. The year has a sort of “spring phase’ when a range events and activities begin to pick up momentum. And in a normal year this is … Continue reading →
Three days to refresh and revive last week. I promise I was working, but a trip to Portugal in January to escape the Belgian winter is a real bonus. Even better was the location for two of the days – … Continue reading →
I am going to write about a short but wonderful bike ride, a ride that left me buoyed up by the beauty to be found in a familiar landscape. But make me a promise. Before you read this in full … Continue reading →
Close followers of this blog will perhaps have noted that my “first day” blog post from Taipei Cycle Show was nearly 12 days ago and there has been nothing since. Yes, there were some memorable experiences on the following days … Continue reading →
As I sat here this afternoon looking out at the driving cold rain and huddling a bit closer to the fire it was hard to imagine that just a few hours earlier I was feeling spring in the air. The … Continue reading →
Some of the fun things about Belgium country life are the local festivals, markets, walks and indeed bike rides that are put on by community groups and local councils. There is always something happening in Lasne and at least twice … Continue reading →
After its winter break the Belgian cycle touring season kicked off again on the first weekend of March. Unlike the UK where I have done most of my cycling the clubs here don’t ride through the winter.
So this means that the March rides are a bit if a “get to know you” and find out who spent the winter doing the kilometres and who were doing the kilogrammes. And it brings a little trepidation, a slight return of cyclingclubaphobia until I have checked that that I can fit in to the club.
I missed the first two weeks in Taipei so this was my first ride of the year with my ambition to drop into group 2 and hide quietly in the slipstream. With the hazy sunshine I was optimistic that there might be a good few riders out so I could chose my level. And wow – 75 starters resplendent in the new club kit.
There were about 35 in group 2 and my hopes worked out quite well, because in a stiff breeze the enthusiasts that had been riding regularly were happy to take the lead, and the big lads provided what might less politely be called a solid wall of Belgian beef that provided excellent shelter!.
Wonderful spring day, I could have stopped and taken hundreds of views of blossom and open fields as we skimmed the open countryside. In Nivelles the splendid Church of St Gertrude was ringing out its bells with great energy as if to welcome us, or just to celebrate the day.
At this stage of last year’s winter we still had two months to go before the snow stopped. As newcomers to Belgium it was quite a shock to the system. And as a cyclist it meant lots of frustration.
But this weekend we were out in the sunshine, almost without hats and gloves. I had the great pleasure of showing a friend round the area and we ended up soaking up some sum and a small beer at one of my favourite cafes at Chateau Solvay.
Along, so it seems, with many others who got the message that the outdoor season has started. The wildlife certainly thinks so, the birdsong seems to have lifted several decibels in the mornings.
Oh gosh I hope this lasts, my system craves warm riding, not worrying about hitting ice, light mornings, no gloves………………….