Day 2 of Eindhoven – Paris by bike: Brussels – Guise (191km)

Posted: May 4, 2013 in Belgium, Cycling, France
Tags: , ,

On day 2, the quest to clock up those kilometres was on. Paris was a long way away and I had two more days. I knew the terrain between Brussels and Paris was hilly, and so the quickest way to get there was not necessarily the shortest way as the crow flies (I am not a crow), but to follow waterways or old abandoned train tracks that have now become bike paths. I followed these where I could, and in between these, I just followed my nose (well, GPS on the smart phone).

Brussels – Guise. 191km

Following a suggested Brussels-Mons bike route, I started day 2 being blown down the canal that joins Brussels with Charleroi and Mons in the south. I learnt more about how canals work and how they connect cities of quite different altitude. First you have sluices. You have huge ramps transporting goods uphill when no more sluices will do the job. You have aqueducts. And an amazing massive sluice like a cliff face in the landscape.
image

image

So I was officially in the hills. In fact, I had been in them for a while, and the canal had allowed me experience beautiful hilly landscape without the effort. Leaving the canal between Mons and Charleroi saw me start what I would do a lot more of. Up and down and up again. Through villages, across pastures, and through forests. I was following my nose connecting the canal with the start of my downloaded Eurovelo route, before I hit a Belgium bike route – RAVeL – that ended up connecting with Eurovelo at the French border.

I crossed over into France and was welcomed with a beautiful sight. A wonderful bike path following a river, and the hope that such bike infrastructure would be with me all the way to Paris – a mere 250km away.

Promise of bike paradise

Promise of bike paradise

With the wind at my back, the kilometres rolling past along a serene river, I was thinking – is that all – I though Paris was further. I am going to get there in the early afternoon tomorrow. I will have time to do lots of sightseeing. Just to be on the safe side, I decided to cycle at least 180km today to only have 150km tomorrow (assuming Paris was indeed 250km from that sign). Well, I cycled 191km on day 2, and Paris was a lot further away that the planned 150km on day 3. The sign was more an indication that biking infrastructure is planned. In places it existed. Most of the time it didn’t. Maybe Paris was 250km from that sign. It certainly wasn’t the way I went.

Well, for those that are interested, there is a beautiful bike path from the Belgian border to Mauberge, there is a signposted route along normal roads (sometimes main roads) to another cycle path from Ferriere la Grande to Glageon. These were part of the voies vertes bike network in France. The route I followed to my endpoint in Guise was quite pleasant along little country roads. Guise itself is a cute little country town on the Oise river where I set up tent and devoured a big pizza.

Near Guise

Near Guise

Comments
  1. […] Day 2. 191km. Brussels-Guise: Following bike paths (existent and non-existent) along rivers and train-tracks to beautiful France. […]

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