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A Texan cycling in Belgium...my random thoughts



 
 
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Old August 10th 06, 02:58 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
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Default A Texan cycling in Belgium...my random thoughts

The past two years I have been fortunate enough to be able to spend
some time in Eastern Belgium and the famous Ardennes Forest.During this
time I spent a lot of days riding my bike in the countryside and
skipping around from one small town to another and enjoying the
stunningly beautiful countryside.

One day last summer myself and a friend planned to bike from south of
Liege to Francorchamps.We got a late start and about the time we
reached Spa,belgium darkness caught us along with a fierce rain and
lightning storm.Our bikes both had lights however with the rain the
tail lights were pretty dim and we were sharing the road with auto
traffic.The stretch between Spa and Francorchamps is only about 5-6
miles.However this consists of primarily two very long inclines so the
cycling is pretty demanding on this stretch.Somewhere along this road
my friend and I stopped to regroup after enduring a massive
thunderstorm.We both agreed that if we had been back in Texas and in
this situation we would have already been run over at least a dozen
times.However the Belgium drivers seemed to be really wary of keeping
their cars in their lanes and most of all paying attention.Nonetheless
I felt pretty relieved when we reached Francorchamp.

I have also made a few rides to the Abby located in Aubel.This area is
verey hilly and I think this years Tour de France came thru Aubel on
the 3rd stage.In most of this area you share the road with auto traffic
but the traffic is very light and they have great awareness of
cyclist.If you visit the Abby take good care to not drink too much of
the beer.This stuff is high octane and will create problems.I suspect
if you drink too many you might find yourself crawling back to your
bike.While at the Abby I have met some local people who are always
amazed to see a 45 year old Texan wandering around this rural area on
bike.

I have a couple of tips to anyone wanting to transport their bike on
the train.If you are in Maastricht Holland (located just north of the
Belgium border) and want to transport your bike into Belgium on the
train I would suggest this....ride your bike from Maastricht to the
border crossing at Vise Belgium.Vise is the first Belgium stop after
leaving Maastricht.At Vise buy yourself a ticket for the "fiets" and
one for yourself.If you purchase this type ticket in Maastricht it will
cost you 25-30 Euro but buy riding across the border before buying a
ticket it will only cost you a fraction of that.
Also when you get ready to load the bike on the train you will need to
find the car that has bie sign.Usually a conductor will make sure you
find the corrct car.I have found that if you assist the conductor with
loading the bike they seem to really appreciate it and tend to want to
help you if you have a question.When you reach your stop hop off
quickly and help unload the bike as well.During summer months bikes are
allowed on about any train.However the rest of the year there is a
certin time that bikes are not allowed to be transported.I think the
time are roughly 8-10 and 4:00-6:00.I am not certain about these times
but a restriction does exist.

I hope these tips might help someone....If ya have any questions let me
know.Happy cycling 420

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