[ blog » 2019 » UK_tour ] d24, Belgium pt 2: Geraardsbergen to Dinant Houx campsite (by Philipp Gesang)
2019-06-23

More Cobbles

In the morning, Geraardsbergen was almost empty except for a flea market on the main square. Cycling past the offers of second hand clothes and used kitchen utensils I made my way up to the start of the Muur itself. For the most part the cobbles are decent: they have a smooth surface and their alignment matches that of the road. Nothing compared to the chaos that is the Koppenberg.

Flanders being riddled with famous climbs it is possible you end up riding one by accident. Which is exactly what happened to me when not far after the Kapelmuur I stumbled on the Bosberg which turned out to have been part of my planned route all along without me noticing.

Somewhere near the Bosberg I came across a huge group of casual road cyclists on their sunday ride. It must have been more than fifty of them. That moment likely doubled the number of roadies I'd met since the start of my trip.

Industry

Leaving Flanders I soon passed through a less scenic region, the sillon industriel formed by the Sambre and Meuse basins. Its past industrial relevance and subsequent decline resemble the history of the Ruhr valley in Germany. So does the countryside which is dominated by gigantic industrial ruins and spoil piles.

Charleroi in particular flaunts the landmarks of an industrial past. Riding along its canals one gets an idea of the productivity the coal works achieved in their prime. The atmosphere remains similar for the stretch up to Chatelet where I left the valley.

Ardennes

At tge beginning of the final section of the day I discovered a rather serious issue with the bike: the cable that actuates the front derailleur is about to disintegrate. Several of its constituent wires have sprung ans only a few remaining ones hold the derailleur in place. This does not look like it would last another day. Which is a rather bad situation to have on a sunday ... For the rest of today's route I avoided shifting on the front as much as possible. Tomorrow I will have to find a bike shop to replace that cable.

Metaphorically hamstrung I continued on into the hills. Another three of them with summits above three hundred meters later I could finally see down the valley of the Meuse. Descending on an old railway track I arrived at the river near Houx under the looming Ch√Ęteau de Poilvache. The campsite operator assigned me a wonderful pitch directly on the bank of the river. What a day!

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