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Flanders/PR/Spring Classics Going/Tips/Advice/Meet

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Anonymous

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As in the original cafe thread, anyone thinking of travelling out next spring for the classics.. (i know this is cycling, but its for an event 6 months time and some people have already discussed meeting up, its less likely to get lost in here)

For about the first time PR co-incides with the school holidays (the wife is a teacher) so we are seriously considering it..

Neither of us drive so we are a tad restricted, at the moment the best we can figure is eurostar to paris, then train up to lille and head to the route from there, we are thinking Gruson, final cobbled sector should be reachable from Lille then camp somewhere around there, but if people with more experience have tips on better places accesible than that would be great..

(even better if anyone is driving from the uk and wants help with ferry, petrol etc.. :D)

We have looked at the tours and frankly they are unnafordable.. and whilst i would love to ride a section it would mean buying a suitable bike prior to then, and the wife is still recovering from the 70k we did last week)
 
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Anonymous

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dimspace said:
As in the original cafe thread, anyone thinking of travelling out next spring for the classics.. (i know this is cycling, but its for an event 6 months time and some people have already discussed meeting up, its less likely to get lost in here)

For about the first time PR co-incides with the school holidays (the wife is a teacher) so we are seriously considering it..

Neither of us drive so we are a tad restricted, at the moment the best we can figure is eurostar to paris, then train up to lille and head to the route from there, we are thinking Gruson, final cobbled sector should be reachable from Lille then camp somewhere around there, but if people with more experience have tips on better places accesible than that would be great..

(even better if anyone is driving from the uk and wants help with ferry, petrol etc.. :D)

We have looked at the tours and frankly they are unnafordable.. and whilst i would love to ride a section it would mean buying a suitable bike prior to then, and the wife is still recovering from the 70k we did last week)

You might also look to the Belgian town of Tournai. The PR course zig-zags the last 30 or 40km. I don't know if there is a bad place to watch. My wife and I have been in Camphin en Pevele the last two years. It is the last really hard/nasty sector as it sort of connects to the Carrefour de l'Arbre, which is where Hushovd crashed while on Boonen's wheel. It's a fun place, lots of Belgians.
 
Apr 3, 2009
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watching Paris-Roubaix

We watched last year (April 2008) - after cycle touring Belgium to see Tour of Flanders (citizen's ride the day b4 race) and parts of Ghent-Wevelgem, we cycled to Kortrijk. From there, it was I think about 40k ride to the Carrefour L'Arbre sector, which was a great vantage point. Make sure you get a good map however, as it's easy to get lost. Kortrijk is a nice place to spend some time - not as touristy as Bruges or Ghent...
 
Jul 16, 2009
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good advice
get there and ride the event on the saturday. magic day out. taken me 9, 9.5 and 14 hours (dont want to talk about the company on the 14 hours. "im tired," "the road is bumpy" :bumpy....................

and watch the race on the Muir in Geardsbergan (im sure someone will spell this correctly. ) 22k from the finish and 40,000 people cant be wrong. full passion. big screen in the centre of the town and pubs open.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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dimspace, this is the right place for this thread. We'll call it a travel thread more than cycling, but I'm sure that any of us fortunate enough to make the trip will also combine the beer thread too. Hope to be able to make it, if not it will have to be ATOC instead.
 
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Anonymous

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Flanders

For anyone going to Flanders... the race starts in Brugge (Bruge?). Fantastic town with lots of great pubs (among other things). There is a free concert the night before, rain or shine. The start is at the Markt, right at the base of the Belfry. Go early because it gets packed. Lots of fun.:D
 
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Scott SoCal said:
For anyone going to Flanders... the race starts in Brugge (Bruge?). Fantastic town with lots of great pubs (among other things). There is a free concert the night before, rain or shine. The start is at the Markt, right at the base of the Belfry. Go early because it gets packed. Lots of fun.:D


see thats tempting but the lack of cobbles perterbes me, think we are going to stick with our rather brainless plans for PR which still involve going via paris :D
 
Mar 19, 2009
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www.ridemagnetic.com
My favorite spectating point for Roubaix is the Café de l'Arbre just north of Cysoing. It's right before the last section of really bad 5 star rated cobbles known as Carrefour (crossroads) de l'Arbre, or Pavé Bleu. At this point in the race the major selections have already been made, so you'll be able to pick riders out more easily.
 
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
My favorite spectating point for Roubaix is the Café de l'Arbre just north of Cysoing. It's right before the last section of really bad 5 star rated cobbles known as Carrefour (crossroads) de l'Arbre, or Pavé Bleu. At this point in the race the major selections have already been made, so you'll be able to pick riders out more easily.

+1

The front end of sector 5 is Camphin en Pevele. It's nasty AND the is a huge party with a band, a big diamond screen TV, tons of drunk Belgians and more beer than you can drink in 5 lifetimes. Who can top that?
 
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Anonymous

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the map, save me having to find it everytime someone mentioned a sector...

map.gif


so what is public transport like around there the days before the race (ie out on friday, return home mon or tue) for getting out on course and camping etc, like i say, we plan to get the train to Lille, anybody know if their are local bus services etc

found this thing> http://www.transpole.fr/ but i cant make head or tail of it, i managed to get to the option to travel from Lille to Gruson (i think), but then it through some error regarding lille at me that i didnt understand.. My french is ok, but not that ok.. anyone with a command of french beyond basic, and a bit of time on their hands able to tell me where we can get to on public transport from Lille.. :D pretty please...
 
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Anonymous

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well blow me.. you can eurostar from london to lille :eek:

now we just need to figure out how on earth to get from Lille to the course.. buses and trains appear to stop at Cantons.. :/ grr.. wish my french was better...
 
Mar 18, 2009
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OK - I am trying to organize my trip and need some help with the Ronde. I have a conference in Birmingham from 8th-10th April. My plan at this stage is to fly into Brussels before my conference to watch the Ronde (and perhaps do the 75km sportif the day beforehand - I'd love to do the longer one but this would probably be my first outside ride for the season), present at the conference, and then make may way to Lille to watch Paris-Roubaix at the end of sector 5 as recommended.

Where would you recommend is the best place to watch the Tour of Flanders? I have previously been to Ghent and would like to visit Brugge, but I've seen the starts of stages of the TdF before and they're not that exciting and I am not an autograph hound, I'd rather see some good action, drink Belgian beer with the locals and tourists, and eat frites!
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Nice post RDV4...

Oh if I'm ever torn between the upcoming ski season and wanting spring to get here NOW!!! :confused:

Me and a mate are actually planning to drive/ferry down there...

Should be a kick-*** road trip :D
 
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Anonymous

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Kappelmuur. Muur de Geraardsbergen. Grammont.

RDV is right. My wife and I have been at the top of the Kappelmuur for the last two editions of the RvV and it's a scene. I'll be there in 2010, although I may be a littlle wiped out. I'm doing the full course on Saturday. 240kms. Never ridden that far in a day....
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Kappelmuur. Muur de Geraardsbergen. Grammont.

RDV is right. My wife and I have been at the top of the Kappelmuur for the last two editions of the RvV and it's a scene. I'll be there in 2010, although I may be a littlle wiped out. I'm doing the full course on Saturday. 240kms. Never ridden that far in a day....

Good luck. Assume you'll give yourself ample time to "recover from the jetlag" before taking the line...:D
 
Mar 18, 2009
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The Kapelmuur it is then. Thanks RDV and Scott SoCal for your advice. I'll get my plans rolling now for flights and particularly accommodations.
 
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elapid said:
The Kapelmuur it is then. Thanks RDV and Scott SoCal for your advice. I'll get my plans rolling now for flights and particularly accommodations.


I don't know how long you plan to stay at any one location but if it is more than a few days you might try homeaway.com.

http://www.homeaway.com/

My wife has a home rented in Brugge, and a charming farm house in Eprave (Belgian Ardennes, 6kms fro Rochefort). She has discovered it is much less expensive to rent someone's house than stay in Hotels. Plus, we have become friends with the homeowners which is a nice bonus.
 
Jul 14, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
I don't know how long you plan to stay at any one location but if it is more than a few days you might try homeaway.com.

http://www.homeaway.com/

My wife has a home rented in Brugge, and a charming farm house in Eprave (Belgian Ardennes, 6kms fro Rochefort). She has discovered it is much less expensive to rent someone's house than stay in Hotels. Plus, we have become friends with the homeowners which is a nice bonus.

I swapped houses with a family from Italy, It worked out great, they also left some nice Christmas tree ornaments as gifts when they left.
 
Apr 24, 2009
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dimspace said:
the map, save me having to find it everytime someone mentioned a sector...

map.gif


so what is public transport like around there the days before the race (ie out on friday, return home mon or tue) for getting out on course and camping etc, like i say, we plan to get the train to Lille, anybody know if their are local bus services etc

found this thing> http://www.transpole.fr/ but i cant make head or tail of it, i managed to get to the option to travel from Lille to Gruson (i think), but then it through some error regarding lille at me that i didnt understand.. My french is ok, but not that ok.. anyone with a command of french beyond basic, and a bit of time on their hands able to tell me where we can get to on public transport from Lille.. :D pretty please...

If you book the Eurostar London - Lille far enough in advance you'll probably get a day trip for £55 per person return. From Lille you could go to Roubaix Velodrome there is fast tram link to Roubaix and then a short walk to the velodrome. They have live TV playing from when the riders hit the first cobbles and after the race has finished you can get to see loads of the riders team coaches etc as all usually end up at the velodrome and its surrounding roads. You see the race, the finish and dont have to get involved in the annual rat race across northern france to catch glimpses of the race.
First train from St Pancras on sunday is around 08.50 you arrive in Lille wth plenty of time to get to the velodrome, I usually come back around 20.00 in the evening....always a good day out...Ian
 
Oct 29, 2009
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Wow, talk about hiding a superb road thread in a place I did not expect it.

Thanks guys for all the superb pointers for picking a good spot during PR et al. Trying to time my bike trip from Scotland -> Spain with those Classics, so I finally get to see 'em in the flesh (and quite likely pretty saddle sore myself for added ambiance).

I was gonna do some digging to finger a few good spots before I set out, but that's one bit of homework I can strike off already.

Thanks!
 
Mar 19, 2009
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RDV4ROUBAIX said:
On the famous cobbled Kapelmuur climb in Geraardsbergen, Just 10 min south of Gent. The beer flows freely, and you can eat frites until blue in the face.:rolleyes:

Better make it 40min. Don't forget to get there about 3h before the riders if you want to have a decent view at the top of the Muur.

And if you get tired of eating Belgian fries, try a mattentaart.

NOTE: I took the picture out, it was just too big and messing things up for too many people.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Scott SoCal said:
Kappelmuur. Muur de Geraardsbergen. Grammont.

RDV is right. My wife and I have been at the top of the Kappelmuur for the last two editions of the RvV and it's a scene. I'll be there in 2010, although I may be a littlle wiped out. I'm doing the full course on Saturday. 240kms. Never ridden that far in a day....

Are you an experienced bike rider? What does your preparation look like? Do you plan on discovering the course by car?

A little tip: find a decent peloton to hide in during the first 150km. Don't get tempted to pull the peloton yourself or to close gaps. And make sure you're trained to eat at fixed times while riding.
 
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Anonymous

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Yes. I've been racing my bike for 20+ years. My body type is more suited to the RvV than something with lots of climbing.

My program for Flanders started mid-September so I am just now entering the Strength/Endurance phase. In fact, I'm really sore today as I had a 5 hour (mostly tempo) ride on Saturday followed up with three hours on Sunday including (4) 10 minute intervals at 5bpm below threshold with 5 minute recovery in between. Ouch. Around Christmas will be the end of the first block. Of course then in January I will be heavy in to volume with intensity. I have apologized in advance to my wife as I will be worthless in January and February.