Bikepacking

ToB-Tour of Belgium/Beer

England/Netherlands/Belgium 2022

Riders: Paul Hunt, Peter Elsegood, Maciej Malyszka

The whole idea for the trip was rather simple: 1-Ride Easy, 2-Not more than 100mi (160km) each day, 3-Flat, 4-Start and finish at home, 5-Beer…

Stage 1: Marham to Harwich

Night ride from Home to Harwich. We started at 1am fully aware of incoming rain but couldn’t wait longer or start earlier as we had a ferry departing from Harwich on 8am. Dry and really enjoyable first two hours of riding and when we thought we are super lucky the Mother Earth decided to test our rain kits. We had arrived at the port 6am and spend 2 hours waiting and literally shivering from cold and trying to warm up from lukewarm drinks from the vending machine which the owner dared to named Cappuccino. A hot shower and fresh dry clothes on board lifted our spirits and 2h nap helped in recovery. 120km, Ride: 4h38min Elaps.:5h 07min, Elev.:817m, TSS203

Stage 2: Hook of Holland to Breda

We arrived late afternoon at Hook and rushed to Breda. It was supposed to be short easy transition stage but rain brought a real challenge upon us once again. When we arrived at the hotel we were soaking wet and so dirty from the road spray, we started to worry that we would not be welcome inside. Our cheeky plan was to send Paul in, after taking off his dirty rain kit and quickly wiping off most of the grey dirt, to secure our sleep. 82.7km, Ride:3h23min, Elaps.:4h32min, Elev.:157m TSS136

Stage 3: Breda to Namur

Great breakfast and a proper coffee ahead of the first proper day in the saddle. Our spirits were high when we saw the sun shining outside at least on our 3rd floor. However the ground floor exit welcomed us with heavy rain. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Short trip in the lift, just 3 floors and from heaven to hell..and wet again. We couldn’t wait long, our schedule pushed us to start in heavy rain with hopes for some better weather on the other side of the border in Belgium. We rode 3-4h in proper downpour stopping time to time to drain the socks or rest a bit where found a shelter. As we hoped Belgium welcomed us with warm sunshine and cold beer. We stopped in Aarschot at Fietsfabriek.be bike shop to buy cheap bells tired of shouting “excuse me or pardon moi” when passing slower riders on the never ending cycling path. Quick chat with the staff and I’m leaving with a free shop bottle as well. 153km, Ride;6h46min, Elaps.:9h49min, Elev.:640m, TSS265

Stage 4: Namur to Kortrijk

Fantastic day in the saddle. Warm and sunny and full of beer and frites. Less cycling paths and more rural roads passing small villages and towns and some fantastic pubs. We are leaving Belgium in the late afternoon and crossing to France for a quick visit at Roubaix’s Velodrome for Paul who had never been there. A few victory laps remind me my last time here when Matt Hayman won sprint with racing for the last time Tom Boonen. Goodbye Wallonia, Hello Flanders. 167km,Ride:7h13min, Elaps.:11h14min, Elev.:829m, TSS284

Stage 5: Kortrijk to Breda

Leaving the hotel after massive breakfast and heading to Ghent where we ride through the centre full of squares with fantastic pubs and crowd of sipping beer locals and tourists. we did join them without any hesitation of course.When passing Antwerp we rode entirely on super smooth cycling path. One of them taking us under the river Sheldt. Back in Netherlands. 142km, Ride: 6h40min, Elaps.:8h15min, Elev.:48m, TSS264

Stage 6: Breda to Hook of Holland

It supposed to be easy and kind of a boring stage. We had planed 1.5h extra time to arrived at the port minimum 1h before departure. We had found time to stop and visit one of the biggest bike shops in Rotterdam. During the visit we received text with information about new departure closing time , 1h earlier than planned. From that moment it wasn’t an easy ride anymore. We start a proper tempo but still full of confidence in us arriving in time. The next 40min it’s still blurry….Peter puncture…no panic….his pump stoped working….no panic…he used my pump but valve unscrewed...slight panic…pump again….panic. We rode 40min over threshold shouting and apologising slower riders…We made it just 6min before they close the gate…. 84.7km Ride:3h21min, Elaps.:4h27min, Elev.:172m, TSS143

Stage 7: Harwich to Home We had arrived 7pm and took a train to Norwich as every perfect adventure has train involved. From Norwich was just easy night ride home on familiar roads. We had split just after midnight to arrived safely at homes c1am.

Gear:

Bike:Kinesis RTD -Moon Knight

Front pack-custom camera bag

Top Tube bag-Restrap Race Bag

Rear bag-Restrap 14l

Handlebars Food Pouch- Alpkit

GPS- Hammerhead Karoo 2

ZIplock