Dan Patten talks about bikes, bergs and well . . . Belgium!

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As part of my ambassador role with Viva Velo, each month I’ll be writing a blog on a variety of different topics. With my past and present experience of cycling in Belgium, with the classics upon us and with Viva Velo’s first Belgium trip having just gone live, then a blog about Belgium seems somewhat appropriate to kick things off. . . like an excuse is ever needed when it comes to Belgium!

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Having come into cycling quite late, it was fortunate that my first ever cycling team (Pacific Flanders) had such an appropriate sponsor that soon introduced me to cycling in Belgium. The racing is arguably the hardest in the world and with races almost every day of the week during the season, it really is a racers paradise. No surprise it is a country has produced and continues to produce so many great champions.

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The racing itself however is not simply about the racers, its about the whole town or towns that it passes through. For any race in Belgium the crowds will be out and playing their part, race after race and year after year in this show played out on two wheels. It all makes for a very special place to race a bike and for all these reasons and more I’ve kept coming back year after.

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But Belgium isn’t just about racing, I learned that it was simply a great place to ride a bike. From cobbles to canal paths, country lanes to bike lanes, short and steep cobbled bergs to longer and smoother climbs, Flanders to the Ardennes, Belgium has it all. With so much history on and off the bike, it really does provide a special setting to ride a bike. And with cycling being so popular in this country, it truly is a pleasure, in all its forms.

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When it comes to describing Belgium I really could go on and on, but why not come and see for yourself with Viva Velo’s Belgium trip in July?  Based in Oudenaarde you will be in the heart of Flanders and the centre of this cycling paradise. A beautiful town in itself, with historic architecture, bars/cafes/restaurants, the Centrum Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders musesum) and more all based around Oudenaarde’s market square. Now the finishing town of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen and with all the main attractions of this historic race (and others) all a close ride away, it truly is, in my opinion, the place to come and visit . . . and ride your bike!

In the meantime feel free to follow my Belgian adventures on Instagram/Twitter @dfpatten and likewise to contact with any questions. Until next time!


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