Trans Euro Trail: Belgium

The moment I write this it's very sunny, which is strange for the month of October in Belgium...

Once I’ve downloaded the most recent track from the TET website I saddle up my KTM and head out for that adventurous route crossing the country from north to south west. The 621 km route is passing my backyard, which allows me to skip the first 40-50kms off the Belgian trail. 

The fun starts near Tessenderlo where the first sandy tracks await me.  It’s a nice and easy mix of small and winding paved roads and sandy field tracks. Beside some minor parts with loose and deep sand it’s a smooth ride. I’m riding on my own so I’m not in for a chase and I’m keen on keeping the bike on its wheels.

Between Diest & Tienen there are some more paved roads than I hoped for, but all by all it’s a nice mix of - let’s say - 60% non-surfaced and 40% asphalt. I decide to make some small short cuts. In the region of Hoegaarden (just after Tienen) things are getting more interesting. A variation of wide-open dusty field paths, some smaller single tracks combined with cobbled narrow streets (which I believe can be very slippery if wet).

I’m enjoying this ride!

Lunch break is near Waver, I just jumped over the language border, so I order my sandwich & coffee in French and enjoy the autumn sun on a terrace at this quiet little market square.

The next stage gets me to the province of Waals Brabant and leads underneath the capital of Brussels. Again, a superb mix of field tracks and fantastic scenic roads. It's all feasible with my KTM 990SM and although I have to keep concentrated, there is more than time enough to enjoy the countryside and the sheer beauty of my country. In a far distance a remarkable landmark appears: the famous Waterloo hill. (yep, ABBA is singing in my head).

 

After a quick photo stop I continue my ride via the once so bloody battlefields of Waterloo further west. The route keeps surprising me. I would never have thought I could make such a scenic, adventurous ride in my own country.

In the distance I see another bike coming up ahead of me. We both stop and take time for a small talk. This friendly German is exploring a part of the Belgian TET on his KTM690. A more suitable bike for the job than mine, but I'll manage... However, when I see this small but rather steep uphill covered with some deep gutters I'm having doubts. I take a deep breath close my eyes and hope for the best. This makes all the fun, I'm telling myself as I'm wiping the sweat out of my eyes. Is it sweat from the effort or anxiety, I'm not sure...

 

The October sun is setting low, time to find me a place to spend the night. A real adventurer is camping in the wild. But I prefer to lay my old bones in a warm bed tonight. So, I leave the TET route and drive into the beautiful cosy town Geraardsbergen where I find a nice hotel. Dinner in a great Italian restaurant, a glass of wine,… life on the road can be pretty hard.

After a good night sleep and a delicious breakfast I’m off in the chilly morning.  Part 2 of the Belgian TET is awaiting me!

Again the route impresses me with his beauty. In a relaxing pace I’m riding trough the fields of the “Vlaamse Ardennen”. A hilly idyllic landscape. I find some more single tracks here. A combination of the wet grass, slightly muddy underground and a nervous 17 inch front wheel on the bike is making me wide awake.  

Beside 2 nearly crashes and a stretch of a few kilometres on a path covered with a 10 cm thick layer of stones – it feel like the bike can fall apart any minute - it’s all smooth and easy going.

I’m crossing south of Kortrijk where the track leads me further west. The day is too short to drive to the very end of the Belgian TET. In the neighbourhood of Ieper, I decide to leave the track. I’m heading straight to the sea to enjoy a marvellous sunset at the beach and look back on 2 days of strenuous but fantastic motorbike riding...

That's all for now...

See our other episodes about the Trans Euro Trail.

To know more about TET go to:

www.transeurotrail.org

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