Go on an adventure starting from your own home!

19 March 2020
Rs2717 Bohan Semois 4334

While we are living in a disrupted time thanks to COVID-19, the coming weeks will be long following the confinement measures imposed by the government. Perhaps it is the time to return to the essentials and unwind. In fact, due to the incertitude that reigns at the moment, how can we entertain ourselves for a whole month? What holidays can we anticipate this summer? We suggest that you move straight to plan B: prepare your first mini bike adventure as a family. A bicycle trip of a day (or even several weeks) first needs to be prepared at home. All you need to keep you occupied and to set out in the fresh air once the crisis has passed.

Belgium is full of bicycle paths that are accessible to everyone and could therefore become your new best friend for your holidays. There’s no need to follow the whole path, but you could simply take advantage of the opportunity to leave your house as a family for a day’s excursion. We are giving you information on the equipment to take and the route to follow from your house.Your journey begins with the preparation of your adventure.

But, first of all, what are the EuroVelo routes? This 90,000km network is made up of 16 long distance cycle paths crossing the European regions. With the development of the EuroVelo bicycle routes, bicycle tourism is now accessible at all levels. Belgium is crossed by five EuroVelo routes representing more than 1200 kilometres of countryside to discover.

  • EuroVelo 3: Pilgrims Route borrow the Saint Jacques de Compostelle route. In Belgium, this represents a 210km route from Maubeuge to Aachen
  • EuroVelo 5: Via Romea Francigena, the only EuroVelo route that crosses three Belgian regions over 420 km from Roubaix to Martelange. All you need to give you a wonderful overview of what Belgium has to offer!
  • EuroVelo 19: Meuse Cycle Route, 196 km from Givet to Maastricht to discover one of the most beautiful river valleys of Europe.
  • EuroVelo 4: the Central Europe Route, which will take you along around 80km of the coast of Belgium, like the EuroVelo 12, the North Sea Cycle Route

The EuroVelo routes are embodied by a common logo: the European Union flag with the route number in its centre. Each number corresponds to a EuroVelo route. Currently, EV3, EV19 and part of EV5 are marked on Belgian land. This long-term work progresses from year to year.

However, the logistics of a bicycle ride can frighten the uninitiated. Nonetheless, with good organisation, there is nothing simpler.

The equipment needed is relatively small for a day’s excursion. Here is a little check list so you don’t miss anything:

  • A working bicycle with pumped up wheels, functioning brakes, a bell, reflectors and a repair kit.
  • Helmet and vest
  • Clothes appropriate for the season (rain jacket, etc.)
  • Possibly gloves and a hat if the weather is still cold.
  • Sunglasses and suncream if the weather is nice.
  • A bottle of water that you can refill at water stops, a picnic.
  • A lock in case you stop and saddle bags are always useful for carrying your belongings and food.

The weather is changeable in Belgium so it is important to check the weather before leaving and take all the necessary equipment. Buienradar is a good app to use to follow the weather from hour to hour.

Once you are well equipped, all that is left is to plan your route. Between the RAVeLs, the points-nœuds (knoppunten in Flanders) and the EuroVelo, the information out there is vast and you need to know how to unpack it. What is more, the routes and infrastructures are in constant development. So don’t hesitate to keep an eye on the improvements that are made from month to month! Your mini adventure starts by researching the ideal route.

But maybe you’re not on a EuroVelo route. In that case, we suggest you use a combination of resources to create your route.

Do you want to do a loop circuit?

To go from yours and join a EuroVelo route, there are several solutions:

*Do you live in Flanders, Walloon Brabant, Hainaut, on the edge of Marche-en-Famenne or in the cantons of the East? Then you are lucky enough to be able to benefit from the points-nœuds network. Combine the points-nœuds and the EuroVelo route. You can create your route from to the section of the EuroVelo route you want to join. Then on the EuroVelo route, you just need to follow the EuroVelo logo. You can also download the gpx section of the EuroVelo that you want to follow. And as soon as you leave the EuroVelo section, you can retake the points-nœuds system.

*Do you live in Wallonia near the RAVeL network? Combine RAVeL and EuroVelo. Go on the RAVeL website, join the RAVeL to the section of the EuroVelo that you’re going to pedal along. From there, on the EuroVelo route, you just need to follow the EuroVelo logo. You can also download the gpx section of the EuroVelo that you want to follow and then return to the RAVeL.

*Do you live in Brussels? Combine the ICR cycle system and the EuroVelo 5 that passes through Brussels.

Do you want to do follow a route from your house to a point B?

Use the same combination of resources listed above. And to return, take the train! Currently, the train is the only public transport in Belgium that allows you to return with your bike. For a surcharge of four euros and travelling outside of rush hour, you can return to any point in Belgium! You can find more information here on travelling with your bike!

Lacking inspiration? On the Eurovelobelgium website, we suggest some turnkey bike rides going from one day to several days. All you have to do is follow the route that is suggested to you and take advantage of the places given to you to take a break. Cycling doesn’t mean pedalling all day (except for aficionados), but having the freedom to stop when you want to experience cultural getaways, swim, play in an amusement park, etc.

Going out on your bike as a family or with friends is also and even more importantly a time of relaxation, a change of scenery and a sporty breath of fresh air. An opportunity to discover your region with a new eye. The EuroVelo routes running through Belgium offers you a variety of landscapes and a varied cultural offering that you would not expect. The odyssey starts from your door!

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EuroVelo 3 in Belgium nominated for award of most beautiful cycle route 2020

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During the Fiets en Wandelbeurs festival in Utrecht, the Netherlands, due to be held in February 2020, the award ceremony for the most beautiful cycle route of the year will take place. The chosen routes for this 9th edition have already been announced: four amazing itineraries between 120 and 320 km long that allow cyclists to discover European cycle routes along natural and urban spaces. These routes uncover the richness of the French, Swedish and Belgian territories. The results of the competition will be announced on the 28th of February on the opening day of the event.