Forum home Road cycling forum Tours, routes, audaxes & organised rides Sportives/audaxes/training rides

tour of flanders

ram038ram038 Posts: 187
Planning on going to see the Tour of flanders in April I have never been to see a road race before so am a wee bit unsure of best way of going about this. has anyone been to see the the Tour and can recommend a good cheap hotel and travel arrangements and where the best spot to see the race would be? any advice would be appreciated. I don't drive a car so public transport information is needed.

Posts

  • hayesuhayesu Posts: 138
    Take your bike and you can a) ride the route or some of it on the Sportive the day before
    (http://www.sport.be/cyclingtour/rondeva ... /2008/eng/)
    b) ride between vantage points during the race. Oudenaarde is a good base, close to a lot of the cobble action.
  • vermootenvermooten Posts: 2,697
    The trains in Belgium are great, they run on Easter and are cheap. (Makes me wonder why it's so hard over here but that's OT.) I agree that oudenaarde will be the place to go - i say that cos it's where we're going the day after the sportive. Gonna get trashed.
    You just have to ride like you never have to breathe again.

    Manchester Wheelers
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Take your bike on the Eurostar to Brussels and then onwards to Bruges. The sportive ride is on the Saturday, starting either from Bruges, or circular routes from the finish in Ninove. If you stay in Bruges, then it's possible to watch the pros signing-on on the Sunday morning and then the depart. Take the train to Oudenarde/Kluisbergen and watch them on either the Oude Kwaremont, Paterberg or Koppenberg and then try and get to Geraardsbergen to watch the race on the Muur - about the last decent place for an attack. There's a big screen too so you can watch the finish. From 1pm the race is live on Belgian TV and you can watch is from just about any bar or cafe in Flanders. This is THE biggest sporting event in Belgium. All the details on www.rvv.be including a link to the Sportive.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • ram038ram038 Posts: 187
    Can you take your bike on eurostar as it is or do you have to take it apart and put in a bag. Sorry for the basic question but I have never done this before. Would it be wise to book a hotel with eurostar or would it be easy to get a hotel room once I reach Bruge?
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    You can take a bike in a soft bag on Eurostar provided it doesn't exceed a stated size - a bike box is too big and has to be carried seperately/in advance. The bag should fit on the luggage rack at the end of each carriage - details on the Eurostar website - but it means it's safe and accessible. Hotel accommodation in Bruges that weekend will be in demand because of the sportive/race, so worth booking in advance.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • There is a good article in this months Cycle Sport about spectating at all the major races including the Tour of Flanders
    The beer always wins
  • I'm doing it this year first time. A few questions -

    How hard is it on the bike - should I take my winter bike or my new carbon pride and joy (not been out since October)?

    Gearing for the short climbs. I run 50/34 and 12/23 and was thinking of going to 12/27 or is that overkill for these short climbs?

    Was reading that GP 4 Seasons 25mm are the tyre of choice for the cobbles, any views?

    Cheers in anticipation
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    I rode my carbon bike last year and it was fine. Gearing-wise, I used 53/39 x 12/25 and, again, was fine although I was out of the saddle on the Muur - purely because there was a jam at the bottom and it was easier to get going from a standing start in the 23 or 25 - and the Paterberg, where it kicks a bit towards the top and there was a bit of congestion to get round at that point.

    The possibility of congestion of some of the climbs means that it's important to keep the momentum up, so if you feel you'll do this best with a 27, go for it. Another reason might be that, if it's wet, you'll want to stick in the saddle to keep traction.

    On tyres, I used 23mm and didn't notice myself slipping between the cobbles and would use them again. The cobbles seemed to be more about technique rather than width of the tyres i.e. head down and charge like raging bull :)
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    How hard is it on the bike
    Not too bad - your best bike will be fine I think. Probably leave any deep section carbon wheels at home though.
    Gearing for the short climbs. I run 50/34 and 12/23 and was thinking of going to 12/27 or is that overkill for these short climbs?
    Yes - I got round on 39x26 bottom gear. The climbs are fairly short. The worst thing is the traffic jams that stop you rather than being unable to ride up. Once you get stopped on the Muur it's very hard to get moving again as it's 1-in-5.
    Was reading that GP 4 Seasons 25mm are the tyre of choice for the cobbles, any views?
    25mm tyres are less likely to pinch flat if you hit a big pothole or cobble and you can run at lower pressures accordingly which will give you better grip which is a big advantage if it's damp. Used the 24mm Vittoria Paves myself which were fine.
  • ram038ram038 Posts: 187
    Monty Dog wrote:
    You can take a bike in a soft bag on Eurostar provided it doesn't exceed a stated size - a bike box is too big and has to be carried seperately/in advance. The bag should fit on the luggage rack at the end of each carriage - details on the Eurostar website - but it means it's safe and accessible. Hotel accommodation in Bruges that weekend will be in demand because of the sportive/race, so worth booking in advance.

    beginning to get worried that I will not be able to take my bicycle on Eurostar. On their site they say the bag should be no bigger than a normal suitcase but do not specify exact dimensions. I assume all bike bags are roughly the same size, has anyone had any problems taking their bike on eurostar. i am faced with the decision on wether to go to the station without my bike or take a chance of not getting to Brussels. HELP
  • Odelay!Odelay! Posts: 58
    Sorry, I can't help with the Eurostar question, but I asked about where to watch the Ronde on the race forum, and got some useful responses:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12561657

    I live in Brussels and will probably go on the train to Gerradsbergen on Sunday morning (the Belgium railways site is pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it- the route planner is at http://hari.b-holding.be/Hafas/bin/query.exe/en?). I'm currently without my bike ( :cry: ) so won't be trying anything more ambitious than that.

    I was wondering though if Oudenarde would be better for watching, as it gets the race twice?

    Let me know if you have any Brussels-related questions.
  • ram038ram038 Posts: 187
    Odelay! wrote:
    Sorry, I can't help with the Eurostar question, but I asked about where to watch the Ronde on the race forum, and got some useful responses:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12561657

    I live in Brussels and will probably go on the train to Gerradsbergen on Sunday morning (the Belgium railways site is pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it- the route planner is at http://hari.b-holding.be/Hafas/bin/query.exe/en?). I'm currently without my bike ( :cry: ) so won't be trying anything more ambitious than that.

    I was wondering though if Oudenarde would be better for watching, as it gets the race twice?

    Let me know if you have any Brussels-related questions.

    I will be staying close to Midi can you recommend any good pubs in the area. i have Friday to waste any good bike shops in the area and touristy places to go?
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,398
    I've taken my bike on Eurostar in a normal bike bag loads of times without any problems. You'll be fine.
  • Odelay!Odelay! Posts: 58
    will be staying close to Midi can you recommend any good pubs in the area. i have Friday to waste any good bike shops in the area and touristy places to go

    Hummm... not sure about anywhere right by Midi. I recommed some nice bars at Place St Gery, which is near the Bourse in the center (get the premetro). Also around Rue du Midi south of the city center or around Grand Place.

    Brussels is surprisingly poor for good bike shops (there are actually surprisingly few cyclists in Brussels, probably something to do with the Brussels drivers :? ). As for tourist things, there is quite a lot, so depends what you want. the art gallery is renownded, quite nice round there and the Royal Palace. The Mannekin Pis is kind of a waste of time. Probably best just to read a guide or head to the TIC, and see what interests.
  • Mar geMar ge Posts: 88
    slightly off-topic
    I agree about the lack of bike shops in brussels. I work in sint-stephens woluwe and there is nothing near by whatosever.
    Close to my home nr Gent they are everywhere....
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,398
    The best bike shop I know in Belgium is the one in Aalst, west of the town centre on the Gent Road. I think it's called Van Eyk?

    It's the size of a UK supermarket! :shock:

    P.S. They don't take credit cards though so you'll need cash.
  • vermootenvermooten Posts: 2,697
    good luck everyone!
    You just have to ride like you never have to breathe again.

    Manchester Wheelers
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    vermooten wrote:
    good luck everyone!

    you better now?
    I'm still with lurgy! Going to docs this afternoon.

    Good luck on your weekend
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    How did everyone get on? No incidents on the cobbles I hope, given the weather.

    And how well di dthe Kwak flow on Saturday night?
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • ram038ram038 Posts: 187
    My first sportive experience not good, i cracked a rib f#$*d my wrist didn't get to see the pros today as back in merry england for A&E. Can't wait for next years tour will be much better prepared. Are cyclist totally mad or is it just me. Loved the atmosphere the camardie so many different countries represented all sharing the same passion. I have so much more respect for the pros now that I know what they put themselves through for their daily bread, they make it look so easy.
  • Mar geMar ge Posts: 88
    It was damn slippy!
    I only did the 140 so my first climb was the Molenberg. I don't think I have ever so seen so many people fall off...

    I was pleased I chose to use my MTB on slicks as the climbs were so slippy and heavily congested there was no way I would have cycled up on 41/26. Once anyone had been forced to stop on the climbs with cobbles there was no chance of re-starting as you had to have your full weight on the saddle to have any grip from the rear tyre.

    Damn cold in places too. Should have taken a waterproof jacket with me. (stupid decision).
  • I think my plan is to stay in Lille and travel in to Oudenaarde. on the Sunday does anyone know how far the final circuit/hill is from the town center
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,808
    I think my plan is to stay in Lille and travel in to Oudenaarde. on the Sunday does anyone know how far the final circuit/hill is from the town center

    The Paterberg, final climb of the day is about 10 Km from Oudenaarde... it is a shame that the final climb is likely to be a bottleneck with cyclists slowly walking to the top. My advice is to start very very very early (be at the start and ready to go one hour before the official start) and go like the wind or very very late and go slowly to avoid the crowd. Failing that, prepare to walk up the Koppenberg, Paterberg and if really unlucky even Molenberg and Taieeneberg...
    The other muurs are easy and hopefully even the lardy Mamils will be able to go up without obstructing the way
Sign In or Register to comment.