Bikes and beer - mini tour of Flanders

Julia9054

Guru
Location
Knaresborough
To celebrate @Almartino getting a job for September, I have booked us a little bike tour for May half term. We are driving down to the south coast, staying in Deal over night and catching the early morning ferry to Dunkirk (leaving the car in Dover).
From there, ride to Ypres and stay for 2 nights then Ypres to Bruges, stay for 3 nights and then the coast road back to Dunkirk. We are staying in Airbnbs - so touring for softies!
Just got to work out routes, find somewhere relatively cheap but safe to leave the car and work out how to pack stuff for 6 days into panniers when my usual holiday packing style involves the boot of an estate car!
Any tips, things to see on the way, or route, parking or packing advice welcome!
Really looking forward to it.
 

derrick

The Glue that binds us together.
You should visit Ghent while you are there. Much nicer than Bruges.
 

srw

It's a bit more complicated than that...
Alternatively, while you're in Bruges, Ghent is a decent distance for a longish daytrip. For a shorter ride, the canal to Damme and Sluis in the Netherlands is very pleasant.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
The Langemark-Kortemark rail trail is a joy but food opportunities along it are limited. There are supermarkets in Ypres and Torhout.

Leaving Bruges for the coast, the obvious canal to Oostende past Wagglewater (probably misspelt that) is good. When you get to Adinkerke, there's a new cycleway I think on the north bank of the Furnes from junction 1 to junction 39, then you can turn north to the old border post, then left turn and do just a bit of the nasty old D60 before joining the new bit of EuroVelo 4 in Bray-Dunes which should take you all the way into Dunkirk town, then cycleways/voies vertes alongside D601 take you all the way to Loon Plage except a little bit through the centre of Grande Synthe. Or don't. Please yourself :smile:
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
I'm probably the least well-travelled person you know, but I have been to Bruges.

The central market place area was pleasant to walk around without being too big.

Food was dear, a plate of sausage, egg, and chips was about twice what I was paying in the UK, but it was excellent quality.

The beer on tap was very much to my taste - I've never had a nicer drink before nor since.

One pub we wandered into had a large photograph of Margaret Thatcher behind the bar.

The lass who served us didn't speak much English, so we never found out why.

Might Margaret have been admired in Belgium for some reason?

I've no idea.
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Thatcher was connected to the Bruges Group. That might be it.

If you eat on the market square (which is dear but sometimes the only central area with much open), avoid the Pannier d'Or, despite the name. It was a basket case ;)
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Thatcher was connected to the Bruges Group. That might be it.

If you eat on the market square (which is dear but sometimes the only central area with much open), avoid the Pannier d'Or, despite the name. It was a basket case ;)
Good spot - seems Margaret was the founding president of the Bruges Group.

https://www.brugesgroup.com/
 
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Julia9054

Julia9054

Guru
Location
Knaresborough
Thank you for all the advice guys, the route stuff is particularly useful. I may try Ghent as a day trip. We actually know Bruges quite well having done a house swap holiday there about 22 years ago. We got lots of recommendations from the family who's house we were staying in and have returned to Bruges several times since. I have passed through Ypres once before and stopped for lunch where - bizarrely- there was a brass band from Huddersfield playing in the main square! (Those who know me will know i am heavily involved in the Yorkshire brass band scene!)
 
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mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Just posted on another thread a mate and myself will be doing this https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29499469
Starting end of April for three days, We rode to Ghent a couple of years ago, we did a mini tour of Belgium. Ghent was my favourite town, Alway wanted to go back, The best bars and restaurants.
You might want to double-check whether you can join the cycle route through Dunkerque at Boulevard Corelli (instead of at the east of Petit-Synthe which is an annoying bit of road) and stay on the Veloroute from Zuydcoote to Bray-Dunes. Bonne route!
 

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
Leave the car in Deal
If you cant arrange to leave it where you are staying there is loads of free parking as long as you are not within half a mile of the sea

Cycle from Deal to Dover - it's under 10 miles and takes less than an hour and is mostly on cycle paths
One hill on the way, which even on a loaded tourer is mostly easily cyclable.
Probably the best view of the very impressive Dover castle en route

With the benefit of hindsight, day one we would have done Deal to Dover, cross on the ferry to Dunkirk and then found a place to stay within 10 miles of Dunkirk (Loon Plage maybe).

Then done from there to Ypres on day two
 
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