Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

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chrisday
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Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby chrisday » Mon Jan 21, 2013 22:03 pm

Evening all - long-time lurker, occasional poster...

Me and my mate make a trip to a spring classic every year for bike/beer related fun, and this year it's RVV at last.

Does anyone have any recommendations for the trip - particularly where to stay? Doing some nosing round, Oudenaarde would be first choice given the route this year, but hotels and B&Bs seem to be in short supply.
Any other good locations you know of (esp. those also including good bars for non-cycle time) - previous years have seen great fun in Maastricht for Amstel and Lille last year for Roubaix, so something along the same lines would be ace, like.

Local knowledge (or Chasey-like all round omniscience) particularly appreciated.

TIA,
Chris

Danlikesbikes
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby Danlikesbikes » Mon Jan 21, 2013 23:21 pm

Stayed in Ghent last year as plenty of cheap hotels, B&B's and lots of places for beer after/before the race. Got the train from Ghent to Ronse on the day of the race and was 35 Euros return for 4 of us. The organisers put on a free shuttle bus service from the train station to the course with the police flashing the bus through the madness of car drivers trying to find somewhere to park.

Got off the bus about 3/4 of a mile from the village of Kwaremont, on the way to the town the organisers put up a massive tour village with good cheap food & beer with toilet facilities too. From there walk into the village and into the square which on race day is converted to a beer & food area with large screen TV's too for the spectators & the race route is basically at the end of the square. Used 3 times for the men and once for the female race so a pretty good spot to watch it from.

If your after something a bit more quite opposite the square is a road called Keuzelingsstraat, used on race day as a quick access for the photo bikes exit as they all get off there to take pics of the riders coming up the Kwaremont cobbled section, there is a little hotel/B&B about 100 yards on the left and in the court yard as the rear they have some large screen TV's and sell drinks and food where you can watch the rest of the race from as the main square can get a bit mad towards the end.

Then its a quick walk back to the bus shuttle pick up point & your off back to the train station. Bloody good frite shop opposite the station on Stationsstraat on the left.

The organisers website is pretty good for PDF's of race info but recall the bus info only appearing on the Friday before the race but all the rest is added as time gets nearer the race.

If your well organised you can get off the train from Ghent to Ronse and watch the roll out at one of the big spectator villages in Oudenaarde and then get back on the train to Ronse.

Sure others will add there are lots of other places to go I just figured that unless I got there early in the car it might be a bit manic & opted for the train, plus meant we could all have a few beers in the day too, as it happened the trains were pretty good.

Seem to recall the organisers had about 4 or 5 areas all with their own free shuttle bus service so you should have plenty of options on the day and if you look on the route map (already on their website) your sure to find a couple of spots where you will see them a few times.

Pretty sure we are going again this year and may do the same spot or pick somewhere different.
Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.

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OCDuPalais
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby OCDuPalais » Tue Jan 22, 2013 02:17 am

Pretty good sounding advice from Danlik...
If you're doing car with bikes option (to do full route ride on the Sat), we regularly stayed in Oostende - only 15km or so from Bruges start. Bit of a drive to start of ride if doing shorter routes, but can mean you can catch race start for the bigger boys on the Sunday.
We'd then criss-cross race route by car - usually with few probs with good nav skills/sat nav - and end up in Gerardsbergen beer tents and vid screen. Not sure where you're best going now race misses Muur... But beer and screen = essential.

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chrisday
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby chrisday » Tue Jan 22, 2013 08:33 am

Dan - outstanding advice, exactly what I'd hoped for, thank you! Hadn't considered Ghent at all, but with it being that easy to get into Ronse and environs, it sounds poifect.
OC - sounds similar to what we normally plan: hooning round in a hire car doing our navigation boy scout badges, then finding tent+screen somewhere :)

Thanks, gents - proper appreciated! Will now, of course, return to my lurk hole for another year or so - I'll be the one shaking my head and smiling when FF gets uppity about AC again.

Richmond Racer
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby Richmond Racer » Tue Jan 22, 2013 09:27 am

chrisday wrote:Dan - outstanding advice, exactly what I'd hoped for, thank you! Hadn't considered Ghent at all, but with it being that easy to get into Ronse and environs, it sounds poifect.
OC - sounds similar to what we normally plan: hooning round in a hire car doing our navigation boy scout badges, then finding tent+screen somewhere :)

Thanks, gents - proper appreciated! Will now, of course, return to my lurk hole for another year or so - I'll be the one shaking my head and smiling when FF gets uppity about AC again.



Come out to play more! Come on...

Danlikesbikes
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby Danlikesbikes » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:53 am

Too be fair we only opted to Ghent as by the time we were booking in early Jan we couldn't get any decent but cheap accommodation for 4 adults. Plus as I'm the only cycle nut & being my birthday the deal was we would go watch the race then have some tourist stuff too.

As OCDuPalais says it can be done by car & just takes a good co-driver and having a bit of a plan of where you want to go to watch the race. Personally for me I found the whole train, free shuttle bus thing really easy and it wasn't busy at all. Plus not sure of my co-drivers experience/ability to get me exactly where i wanted to be.

I'm sure that wherever you go with the new circular route on parts of the race course you can either stay in one place and watch the riders go by several times. Or you could download the estimated timing sheet and work out if you want to watch in several different places.

If your taking your bikes too most hotels, B&B's are pretty cool with it. Ours hotel in Ghent had an underground car park and most people just took their bikes to the rooms without any issues.

Whatever you go for I'm sure you will have a great time I know we did and have been back since & as Flanders falls over my birthday think we might go back again this year.
Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.

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Rick Chasey
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby Rick Chasey » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:37 am

If you can it obviously makes sense to head for the loop.

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chrisday
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby chrisday » Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:48 pm

Thanks again gents. Rick - yup, we're basically looking for anywhere close to the loop(s) on this year's parcours, while carrying a little bit of resentment that the Muur's not in again (largely from the POV of wanting to spectate on it, and especially to see "squatty, shouty, screamy blond guy" is his regular pose!)
RR - I'll make an effort to post more: certainly wouldn't take me long to double my post count, eh?

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Rick Chasey
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby Rick Chasey » Tue Jan 22, 2013 13:54 pm

Also, don't be afraid or intimidated to ask and rely on those who are local and have the flexibility to use their advice.


Might also be worth looking at last year's race and identity where on the loop you'd like to be.

E.g. where Boonen briefly looses touch with Pozzato and Ballan.

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chrisday
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby chrisday » Tue Jan 22, 2013 20:20 pm

Aye, good shout, Rick. We've been pretty lucky over the years, often stumbling into someone or somewhere that led us to a cracking position - some very messy hours learning Dutch drinking songs at the bottom of the Cauberg and blagging into a private party.
Last year _almost_ got it right at P-R - stood about 400m short of where Boonen launched his attack!

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chrisday
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby chrisday » Tue Jan 22, 2013 22:16 pm

Thanks all - Eurostar and Ghent hotel booked :)

Excited like a little boy - the Classics (and therefore proper bike racing) feels just that little bit closer now! And getting closer to completing the set *grin*

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Mooro
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby Mooro » Tue Jan 22, 2013 22:43 pm

this is really helpful info. We are planning week over there to see Paris Roubaix, maybe a midweek race then amstel gold. We just winged it when we went to the worlds over there last year but reckon we will have to plan good spots for each race, and then routes etc for parking.

I quite like the train idea though if there are mini buses... Is this the same for all of the bigger classics or just flanders?

tempted to try and get a pass to go back with mates the following week on the beer for flanders but will see...

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gsk82
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby gsk82 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 16:31 pm

who'd have thought driving abroad would be so much faff?

headlight deflectors
high vis jacket
warning triangle
gb sticker
breathalyser

all compulsory. i'm going to struggle to fit my bike in at this rate!
Rule #72 // Legs speak louder than words.
Unless you routinely demonstrate your riding superiority and the smoothness of your Stroke, refrain from discussing your power meter, heartrate, or any other riding data

Danlikesbikes
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby Danlikesbikes » Thu Feb 14, 2013 15:37 pm

chrisday wrote:Thanks all - Eurostar and Ghent hotel booked :)

Excited like a little boy - the Classics (and therefore proper bike racing) feels just that little bit closer now! And getting closer to completing the set *grin*


Good luck with it mate, I enjoyed it last year and am going again this year!

Depending on where you stay in Gent its worth using the tram to get around & to the train station for race day. You just buy a day ticket at the machine next to the stops.
Pain hurts much less if its topped off with beating your mates to top of a climb.

Cycloslalomeur
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby Cycloslalomeur » Fri Feb 15, 2013 07:15 am

gsk82 wrote:who'd have thought driving abroad would be so much faff?

headlight deflectors
high vis jacket
warning triangle
gb sticker
breathalyser

all compulsory. i'm going to struggle to fit my bike in at this rate!


Is a breath test kit compulsory in Belgium? If it is I didn't get the memo. Hollande had the (French) breath test law scrapped after it emerged that Sarko's lot had came up with it as one of his mates just happened to own a company making the only test kits cleared for sale in France. The law will remain in force until July, but the fine's only 11 euros. Don't bother buying any.

http://www.lesoir.be/170800/article/act ... -en-france

I've lived in Belgium for years and have never carried any of the items you mention in the car. I make frequent trips to France and Luxembourg and occasional ones to the Alps. You'd have to be really unlucky to come across a policeman/gendarme who's bored enough to be bothered to have a rummage in the car for said items.

Is UK headlight homologation different to the one over here?

AngryNortherner
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby AngryNortherner » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:36 pm

We stayed in Kortijk last year, it's quite close to Oudennarde so we were in a great position to drive the car and parked in Kluisbergen and went off on the bikes to follow the route.

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gsk82
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby gsk82 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:18 am

Cycloslalomeur: we're using the tunnel so will pass through france briefly. I already had some of the stuff anyway, just paid £7 for a breathalyser, GB sticker and headlight deflectors so no biggie.

From what i read the breathalysers are still compulsory, although you can no longer be fined for not having one. For the sake of £2.50 i decided to get one off ebay anyway.
Rule #72 // Legs speak louder than words.
Unless you routinely demonstrate your riding superiority and the smoothness of your Stroke, refrain from discussing your power meter, heartrate, or any other riding data

esafosfina1
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Re: Flanders 2013 trip - advice wanted

Postby esafosfina1 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 20:15 pm

Try Lokeren or Dendermonde or most smaller towns in Waasland... pretty central, easy to get to and from... also Lokeren is where a few of the teams stay when in Belg... failing that try my old haunt, Den Steeg in St. Niklaas - great beer, and live tv! :wink:


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