Autumn has arrived and the change of season is starting to become visible: yellow, red and orange have begun to appear in the parks, in the forests and green areas surrounding the cities. A great opportunity to take your bicycle out and enjoy some of the cycle paths available in Brussels and all over Flanders.
Routes in Flemish Brabant and Brussels
1. On the wheel of Eddy Merckx
Would you like to try for yourself how Belgian cycling heroes prepare for races in their own area? If so, you can do it on the three circular cycling routes marked out for this purpose. Armed with a cycling map you can start and stop wherever you like at the information panels along the route. You can also take the digital option using your smartphone. Just scan the panels along the way and we will immerse you in the experience.
2. The Hageland Eddy Merckx loop
Starts from Boerenhof cycling café near the church in Meensel (Binkomstraat 12, 3391 Meensel-Kiezegem) and takes you along the same roads where a young Eddy Merckx trained for the first time. This 30 km recreational route follows the nodes of the Flemish Brabant cycle network. This 70 km sporty route has its own signposts. Be prepared for a few challenging slopes. We think a break now and then will be more than welcome, especially if you can see some amazing sights along the way.
3. Sven Nys Cycling Route
The Hageland hills, which are lined with rows and rows of vines and fruit trees, provide a stunning rural backdrop for your ride. But the steep hills also make for a gruelling trek requiring you to stand up on your pedals. Just ask Sven Nys, who criss-crossed through the Hageland from his Balenberg during his many training sessions. This sporty route starts from the Sven Nys Cycling Center. Sven Nys himself mapped out this 93 kilometer loop, which follows his favourite training route. A challenging ride, with a few beauty spots en route to take a break.
4. De Brabantse Pijl Cycling Route
Bravely battling the wind through open fields, then coursing downhill to conquer the climb on the opposite side of the valley while pedalling standing up. Thundering across the cobbles while you take in the fresh forest scent and then breaking into a sprint to the next village. When the 2021 spring classics seasons starts, you can ride your own classic cycle race along the roads of the Brabantse Pijl.
Make sure your legs are up to the job on this varied route, where only the greatest cyclists cross the finish line in triumph. Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Freddy Maertens, Eddy Planckaert, have all taken the top spot on the podium in the Brabantse Pijl. Edwig Van Hooydonk even did it four times. Unlike them, however, you have plenty of opportunities to stop and catch your breath in one of the many nice cafés and restaurants along the route.
This sporty cycling route takes you to into Southern Dijle country, winding its way through Oud-Heverlee, Korbeek-Dijle, Leefdaal, Duisburg, Vossem, Tervuren, Eizer, Huldenberg, Sint-Agatha-Rode, Overijse, Tombeek, Ottenbrug, briefly crossing the language border to Pécrot, Nethen, Beauvechain after which you make your way back to Oud-Heverlee via Opvelp. About 98 km long, with 1,033 altimeters. The route is signposted, but you can also download a gpx route file for your own satnav.
Routes in Antwerp
1. Cyclo cross trail in Lichtaart.
Practice your cyclo cross skills on this 2500m long trail in Lichtaart, near the Floreal Kempen campsite. Open from the first of September to the end of February.
Routes in Limburg
1. Climbing in the ‘Toscane of Limburg’
Gorgeous and tough route from the centre of Borgloon through the rolling countryside of South Limburg with beautiful views. Along the way, you will conquer various climbs. The route uses the cycling network and is suitable for recreational cyclists who like a sporting challenge.
2. Limburg Cycling Tour
Ride the Tour of Limburg track. Discover and enjoy the stunning scenery with tough slopes and challenging cobbled streets.
Here you can enjoy the beautiful South Limburg scenery while taming the most challenging slopes in the Tour of Limburg, like the Slingerberg in Kanne or ‘petit L’Alpe-d’Huez’ with its ten serpentines. Start and finish are in the Land Commandery Alden Biesen, one of the largest castle complexes in the Euroregion.
4. Tongria Classic
You ride along the beautiful castles and rolling countryside of South Limburg and Haspengouw. Enjoy the beautiful vistas and flowering blossoms. On these low-traffic roads you can quietly enjoy a tour around Tongeren and Borgloon.
Routes in East Flanders
1. Flemish Ardennes
Created by Tourism East-Flanders, the Tour of Flanders Route takes you on a tour of the most legendary hills and cobbled sections. ‘Bergs and Cobbles’ is a guide full of practical information with four varied routes in the Flemish Ardennes. The guide is specifically designed for four different types of cyclists: the athlete, the gourmand, the culture lover and Tourfanatic. The routes range from 42 to 181 kilometers.
The longest route named the ‘Spartacus Route’, a loop with 8 cobbles, 18 slopes and 2029 meters of climbing. The numbers on the cycling network of the 4 routes are included on a sticker, so you don’t have to take the pocket with you on your trip. Apart from new cycling routes, the pocket also provides a complete overview of bicycle-friendly accommodation, cycling cafés and sporting events in the Flemish Ardennes.
2. On the wheel of Lucien Van Impe
The summer of ’76 was Lucien Van Impe’s summer. That year, cycling-mad Flanders was absolutely rapturous when Lucien Van Impe won the Tour de France. Find out why Lucien loves the region around Aalst so much and follow this cycling legend for 35 km. See where he trains and discover his favorite spots en route. And don’t forget to drink a Saison de Lucien beer.
Tourism East-Flanders also has a number of brochures available on both pro and recreational cycling in the Flemish Ardennes. All routes in these brochures are loop routes. Some follow the cycling network, others deviate from it but they are all marked with the rectangular green and white signs of the cycling network, hexagonal red and white signs or the rectangular Tour of Flanders route markers.
Routes in West Flanders
1. Hellingenroute Heuvelland
You can choose between three routes. The longest one tackles 40 hills (the Kemmelberg is the most famous one), over a total distance of 116 kms and makes you climb 1498 m.
2. West-Vlaamse Bergenroute
Cyclists will puff and pant their way up Heuvelland’s ancient chain of hills, which have played such a prominent role in the region’s history and still dominate its landscape. In addition to the famous Kemmelberg (Kemmel Hill) and Rodeberg (Red Hill), the route also takes in Mesen (Messines), a small town situated right on the Belgian language frontier (with French-speaking Wallonia), as well as the Palingbeek provincial domain.
3. Freddy Maertens route
Freddy Maertens is a former cyclist who became world champion in 1976 and 1981, won the green jersey in the Tour de France 3 times and won 28 stages in the Tour and Vuelta. More than enough reasons to name this cycling route after him. The 42 km long route takes you along the coastline and the quiet landscapes behind it.
4. Michel Pollentier route
Michel Pollentier is a former professional rider. Among the highlights of his career where his overall win in the 1977 Giro d’Italia and his win in the 1980s edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. The 62 km route starts in his birth town Diksmuide and takes you to the coast.