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  • Bill Weidenfeller

Day 17...July 21...Bruges to Geraardsbergen, Belgium 59miles/96km

Today we rode the pathways and country roads in the Flanders Region of Belgium, through the fields of wheat, corn, and potato farms. And yes, poppies still grow “In Flanders fields” and along the roadside reminding us of what took place in this war torn region 75 years ago. It was a beautiful bicycle ride along the Bruges-to Ghent canal.

Dan, Rick and I rode together all day today enjoying the sunshine and the absence of cars

and the quiet, empty streets in the small towns we passed through. It is a Sunday morning on a Holiday weekend, which explains the lack of activity ....with ONE EXCEPTION; the Belgian cyclists and their bike clubs were out on the trails with us in big numbers. Great to see!

We stopped in Ghent for a coffee and a quick look around this city famous for “The Treaty of Ghent” which ended the War of 1812. It is now a university town, and one of the prettiest cities in Belgium. We peddled on to Geraardsbergen, one of the oldest towns in Flanders, and one that is visited often by the professional cyclists racing in the annual Tour de Flanders. On the way we had some rolling hills, and once there we had the challenge of the famous “Muur“ (wall of cobblestones) highlighted in the tour de Flanders.

It is very steep (a 20 % grade) long, and difficult, as I found out 3/4th of the way up when it was over for me. I wobbled into a retaining fence and then walked up a short distance to the top; unhurt, and glad I gave it a try!