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Spring Classics - Travel Advice/Suggestions

tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 16,674
edited September 2014 in Pro race
This going to be all a bit vague but....

Thinking of a weekend break away to watch some cycling in the new year.
Needs to be easily accessible via a cheap flight out of Belfast - so probably into Paris and then rail(?)
Needs to be somewhere interesting enough to pass a couple of days and keep a non cycling other half amused too.

I think it would be the Flanders or Roubaix I'd be aiming for....

Any thoughts?
Believe that a farther shore
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Posts

  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    For Flanders, Gent is close to the action and a very pleasant city to spend a weekend in: nice historical centre, lovely pubs, museums and not overrun by tourists as Bruges is; and Antwerp (Northern Europe's haute couture centre, to throw in a gender-stereotype) a very easy day trip away.
    I'd check both Paris and Amsterdam for flights. The cobbles are roughly half-way between both
  • mm1mm1 Posts: 1,063
    Do the Flanders sportive (cyclo tourist ride really, they know the difference between racing and riding around over there), stay the week for Flanders and catch the Scheldeprijs mid-week.
  • Won't be riding a bike myself
    4 day limit for childcare reasons
    Cafés, mussels and beer essential
    Believe that a farther shore
    Is reachable from here.
    Believe in miracles
    And cures and healing wells
  • durhamwaspdurhamwasp Posts: 1,239
    mm1 wrote:
    Do the Flanders sportive (cyclo tourist ride really, they know the difference between racing and riding around over there), stay the week for Flanders and catch the Scheldeprijs mid-week.

    I'd love to see them racing then, the speed of some of the riders at the start was pretty much full gas, and it was no surprise when I saw the first person being put into an ambulance on a stretcher about 50 metres before the official start line!

    Fantastic sportive and weekend though, I would definitely pick this one over Roubaix, the circuits make it much better for watching as well as the fan parks and huge screen TVs
    http://www.snookcycling.wordpress.com - Reports on Cingles du Mont Ventoux, Alpe D'Huez, Galibier, Izoard, Tourmalet, Paris-Roubaix Sportive & Tour of Flanders Sportive, Amstel Gold Xperience, Vosges, C2C, WOTR routes....
  • mm1mm1 Posts: 1,063
    That was slightly tongue in cheek. Worst thing I ever saw was someone piling into the back of a car on the descent of the Kapelmuur the 2nd time I rode the Ronde Van Vlaanderen vor Wielertouristien (clue's in the title). Funniest, on the same day while fixing a puncture, was the American screaming down the phone for his wife to come and collect him - no idea where he was and sounded like he was calling in an air strike.

    TWH, make sure you go to Oudenaarde and the Flanders Museum. Women's race started and finished there this year, men's race came through once and finished there. Plenty of bars where you can watch tv and enjoy the atmosphere if you're not able to hare round the countryside. Plus team buses park in the middle of Oudenaarde if your thing is gawking at bikes and stalking riders after the finish.
  • It's a brilliant idea - me and a mate take a long, boozy weekend to a different Classic each year, and absolutely love it. Have now done P-R, RVV, Gent-Wevelgem, Amstel Gold (twice) and LBL. My twopenn'orth:
    • Use the Eurostar - you get free travel from Brussels to any station in Belgium as part of ticket. Even if you're going on elsewhere, you only need to buy the difference (did this when we went to Maastricht as a base for Amstel Gold). After renting a car one year, we found you could get around pretty easily just using local trains. Perhaps the one exception to that would be Roubiax, where a car helps get out to the more remote bits of pavé.
    • Agree with Gent as a great base, it's a lovely place, and near to lots of the Belgian races
    • Also good fun - Maastricht, Lille and Liege.
    • You'll have to work very hard not to get loads of great beer in!
    • I've not done the "chase the race in a car" properly - we tend to catch the start, then pick one decent place on the route and make it out there and stay. In the vast majority of cases, even the smallest villages will have erected a beer tent, portaloos and some TVs so you'll be able to follow the race, and get some more beers in :)
    • You need to experience Amstel Gold at least once - get yourself to Valkenberg. The race passes there 3 times, and you'll witness (and indeed participate in) a staggeringly large amount of drinking. It's more like a huge beer festival, through which a bike race happens to pass, rather than an actual sporting event.
    @shraap | My Men 2016: G, Yogi, Cav, Boonen, Degenkolb, Martin, J-Rod, Kudus, Chaves
  • joelsimjoelsim Posts: 7,552
    I imagine if you leave now, you will give yourself enough of a buffer to get through the lorry/farmer strikes.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,405 Lives Here
    Oudenaarde's alright for Flanders - given it finishes there & all that.

    Near a lot of the hills & important bits, as well as the finish, and if you're on the square you can a) see the women sign on and set off (if you have interest in that) and b) mooch about the busses at the finish / catch the riders as they finish...

    Wouldn't recommend the hotel on the east side of the square however - as much as I am a fan of a bit of Euro techno, the bar that plays it untill 3:30am is directly underneath and it literally shakes your bed.

    Being at the front compounds the problem when the lights from the "tour of Flanders bar" shine into the room every 10 seconds.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 23,216
    durhamwasp wrote:
    mm1 wrote:
    Do the Flanders sportive (cyclo tourist ride really, they know the difference between racing and riding around over there), stay the week for Flanders and catch the Scheldeprijs mid-week.

    I'd love to see them racing then, the speed of some of the riders at the start was pretty much full gas, and it was no surprise when I saw the first person being put into an ambulance on a stretcher about 50 metres before the official start line!

    Fantastic sportive and weekend though, I would definitely pick this one over Roubaix, the circuits make it much better for watching as well as the fan parks and huge screen TVs

    I be they were british (or possibly Dutch). But ayway out of 25000 cyclists (or something like that) there will be some keenos. My experience last year was riding gently along the roads talking to whichever Flandrian/French/Italian/German/Dutch/American/British/Russian/etc cyclist that happens to be next to you at the time before we all go hard as we can along the cobbles or up the bergs then all relax again. C+ did a review of it a few months back and said broadly the same thing. If you want to go there to bag Strava Segments then do it another weekend.
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • Anybody needs any route tips or advice on places around Gent, feel free to PM me. I managed to not only give Chrisday a fine walking tour of the city and get him roaring drunk too the day before GW
    "In many ways, my story was that of a raging, Christ-like figure who hauled himself off the cross, looked up at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said 'My turn, sock cookers'"

    @gietvangent
  • Anybody needs any route tips or advice on places around Gent, feel free to PM me. I managed to not only give Chrisday a fine walking tour of the city and get him roaring drunk too the day before GW

    I can vouch for the excellence of DG's guidance and drinking consultancy :)

    If you call on his skills in this area, please ensure he takes you to "Gent's Most Unusual Bar" for some unspecified beer in a cup *grin*
    @shraap | My Men 2016: G, Yogi, Cav, Boonen, Degenkolb, Martin, J-Rod, Kudus, Chaves
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