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How to Respond to the Terrorist Attacks in Brussels and Turkey

Central Kortrijk, Belgium

How should you respond to the attacks in Brussels and Ankara? For one, if you can, travel to Brussels and Ankara. Continue reading

belgium / Europe / international / travel

8 Reasons Cyclists Need to Ride the Tour of Flanders

Originally published at Matador Network.

1. Because it demands the endurance of a wolf.

Unless you’re riding during Sunday’s professional event, riding the Ronde is a day affair. For me, cycling the whole 245-kilometer course was about 10 hours from start to finish. Just 90 minutes of that was rest, with everything else taking place on the saddle, my body absorbing every bump as I maintained one of the more unnatural positions in sports for the same amount of time normal people complain about sitting at their desk. Continue reading

belgium / Europe / international / travel

Riding The Ronde: Belgium’s Tour Of Flanders Cycling Sportive

245 kilometers? Cobbled climbs? No problem!

For reasons beyond my comprehension, BMC Switzerland graciously selected me to join five other cyclists from across the globe to join their granfondo experience, more tortuously known as the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Here I document my experience with a bit of Ronde history mixed in for flavor.

Indeed, cycling here does not suck. And someday, I hope to be back on the cobbles of Flanders.

belgium / Europe / international / travel

Cycling Belgium’s Tour of Flanders with BMC Switzerland

Nobody riding with the BMC Granfondo Experience team got more than four hours of shuteye before taking on the Tour Of Flanders — a 245 kilometer cyclo through Brugge, Kortrijk, Oudenaarde, and all the other villages and scenic Flemish countryside in between. Unfamiliar climbs such as Valkenberg, Paterberg, and the soul-crushing Koppenberg would soon become maniacal tortures that I would argue ought to be subject to something in the Geneva Convention.

And let’s not forget the cobbles. Ball-busting, ass-annihilating cobblestones aptly laid out throughout northern Belgium during a period of time with equally dismal connotations, the Middle Ages.

Oh, how I loathe thee. Continue reading

belgium / Europe / international / travel

Kortrijk, Belgium: Traveling and Cycling Before the Tour of Flanders

Kickin' It In Kortrijk - JoeBaur

Looking off into the distance with deep thoughts… Or something.
Photo: Alexandre Cruz

Remember how I said it still didn’t feel like I was actually going to Belgium to ride in a 153-mile granfondo, even as I was finishing packing?

Well, I’m here now. And I’ve been as giddy as a 90’s schoolboy opening their first TMNT toy since I crossed into Belgian airspace, which is when it finally dawned on me that I was indeed going to Belgium. Continue reading