July 14th to 22nd, 2017

$2775

Difficulty: Difficult

Scenic beauty awaits! - Ardennes Challenge Tour
Scenic beauty awaits! - Ardennes Challenge Tour

Highlights

Looking for a challenging ride with the best liquid rewards?

This tour takes place in the southeastern portion of Belgium, in French speaking “Wallonia”. We’ll visit a least 8 breweries, three Trappist monasteries, and a WWII history site.

  • Wallonia is much more rural than Flanders, and we’ll be primarily in smaller towns with lots of peace and quiet to rest each night.
  • This tour feature road bicycle rentals! You’ll fly over those hills on our Giant brand bikes. See FAQ’s for photos…
  • This tour features around 400 kms / 250 miles in 8 biking days, averaging about 60 km / 37 miles a day in really hilly terrain. Flat stretches are rare here!
  • Trappist Beer lovers! This tour is for you. We’ll get to see Rochefort, Orval, and Chimay! Not all the breweries are open to the public, but we’ll make the most of it by visiting the abbeys, tasting the beers, and even attending a church service with the monks if you are interested. At Chimay we sleep at their B&B across the street.
  • 8-nights hotel, bike rental, breakfast, lunch, snacks, brewery tours + beer samples all included. Vehicle support included for groups at least 8. Everyone pays for their own dinner each evening.
  • Make new friends and visit a different brewery every day, as you explore the country at the perfect speed to soak in your surroundings.

Breweries

From Saisons to Wits, Trappist styles and Belgian IPA’s, this tour has something for everyone’s palette.

Typical breweries we visit on most tour include:

  • Brasserie C – Liege’s new city brewery. Private tour + beer tasting + tapas!
  • Brasserie Fantome – The small “ghost” brewery with a worldwide cult following. We’ll get a private tour and have lunch at the brewery.
  • Interpol – The smallest brewery in Wallonia! We’ll get a tour from owner Pol, a home cooked dinner from his wife Tine, and stay at their B&B.
  • Brasserie A’Chouffe – The largest brewery in Wallonia, just down the street from Interpol! Try their refreshing blond beer right from the source.
  • Brasserie de Bastogne – Some of the most impressive beers in Belgium. We’ll get a tour and tell some jokes.
  • Brasserie Caracole – The most unique brewery of this tour as they still brew under a wood fire! See if you can taste the smoke as you sample their delicious ales.
  • Super des Fagnes – One of the most fun breweries in Belgium. German-style beer hall full of energy, sometimes live music.
  • Trappist – We’ll visit the cafes of Rochefort, Chimay, and Orval. Orval’s cafe is extra special in that it is the only place in the world you can try the “Orval Green”.
Some of the brewery visits can get pretty "hands on"
Some of the brewery visits can get pretty "hands on"
  • Other breweries change based upon availability and time of year. Places we have visited on previous tours include:  La Rulles, L’Arogante, Brasserie Saint Monon, Brasserie Les Trois Fourquets.
Fun times with friends in La Roche
Fun times with friends in La Roche

Total Mileage: 260 miles / 418 km

Itinerary / Stats

Locations and distances vary from tour to tour, but generally fall between these guidelines:

  • Day 1 – Our tour meets today in the lively city of Liege, the 2nd largest city in Wallonia. Only an hour and half by train from Brussels, so plenty of time to meet up with the group today for lunch. We’ll have our bikes delivered and do a warm up ride to nearby Brasserie C… and of course have some famous “Liege Waffles”
  • Days 2 to 3 – Big hills and big view await as we cycle south, overnight in La-Roche-en-Ardenne and Achouffe. We’ll meet up with some locals for a secret “mystery event”. We sleep at the famous brewery / B&B of “Inter-Pol”, which is a highlight featuring a home-cooked meal.
  • Days 4 to 5 – The cycling continues south, utilizing more of the “Ravel” network which our bike paths made from old rail lines. We will visit a few of the World War II memorials around Bastogne. This area is famous for the 1944 battle of the allied forces (led by US troops) trying to make it from Normandie through the Ardennes to Germany. Further south in Orval we will have a chance to attend a church service at the Trappist monastery, which is a very special event.
  • Days 6 to 8 – Onwards towards the towns of Rochefort (home of our favorite Trappist quad), Dinant (birthplace of the saxophone), and Chimay, where we sleep at their famous B&B and can sample the Trappist ales and cheese to our heart’s content.
  • Day 9 – All tours officially end at Brasserie Super des Fagnes in the town of Mariembourg. Sadly, our bicycles will be collected here and we’ll all walk over to the train station just down the road. Hopefully we’ll all have some new friends, photos, and memories to enjoy!

Markers show start/end + overnight hotel and B&B locations…

Photos from this tour

Tour FAQ's

What is included in trip cost?

  • 8 nights hotel and B&B accommodation. Typically 3 stars, and when possible nearby the brewery we visit each day. All rooms include a private bathroom. One B&B is located on site of the “InterPol” Bernardus brewery!
  • Daily breakfast, daily lunches, and lots of snacks for each day. Lunch is not included in our rest day in Brugge.
  • All tours are lead by either Evan or Henk, Beercycling’s veteran guides. A 2nd guide is available typically only for groups of eight or more.
  • Daily route planning, including daily itineraries of our agenda and options for where to eat / what to do in each town / maps / etc.
  • A multi-speed touring compatible bicycle, helmet, and lock. (More about the bikes in the section below)
  • Vehicle support for groups of 8 or more. For smaller groups you will receive two rear panniers to carry personal belongings.
  • Entrance fees to all brewery visits, including lots of free beer tastings!
  • Included luggage storage at our bike shop to hold extra belongings you do not wish to carry on the bikes. All luggage will be returned to you on the last day of the tour.
  • A welcome package which includes a T-Shirt plus other goodies.
  • Email / phone contact with your guides prior to the trip. You get to ask as many questions as you like directly to the people taking you on the tour.

What is not included?

  • Airfare to and from the trip.
  • Transportation to the trip meet-up location. (Although we do offer an airport pickup service)
  • Lodging before and after the trip.
  • Gratuities for Beercycling tour guides.
  • Personal items purchased during the trip.
  • Alcoholic Beverages. (Although lots of beer is included at each brewery)
  • Dinner is not included which allows you the opportunity to explore regional cuisine on your own, or with the group as you see fit. There will be options for both. Your guides are happy to give you recommendations.

Let's talk weather

Our #1 question… what is it “typically” like each summer?

Unfortunately, the weather and weather forecasts in Belgium are unpredictable. In the summer it can be pleasant, it can be wet, it can be very hot. In the Spring and Fall it can get very cold. So riders need to plan for any situation. The number one thing that will ensure you have a comfortable tour is a good rain jacket that you have tested is fully waterproof. We will be riding each day rain or shine.

Wind is normal in Belgium as it is close by the ocean. So even though the routes are flat we can occasionally get a strong headwind which will make the cycling more challenging.

Tell me more about the bikes

On our Ardennes tours we use road bikes. They are 27 gears and disk brakes. The bikes can be delivered with whicher type of pedal you prefer.

What about the bike paths / difficulty of riding?

The landscape is Ardennes is extremely hilly. Flat stretches are rare! Proper training for this tour is required.

We will be on smaller roads, some low traffic highways, and when possible on the dedicated “Ravel” bike paths. Our guides have all the routes planned out ahead of time in order to ensure everyone’s safety, minimize car traffic, and make the ride pleasurable.

The daily riding mileage averages out to be 37 miles (60 km) per day, longest day is 55 miles. Expect about 5 hours a day on the bikes. (not including stops). Our pace along the rides greatly depends on the condition of our group but in general we will be traveling at a leisurely pace. For tours with two guides we can always split into two groups if necessary during the tour. Expect some stops for taking photos and breaks every 45-60 minutes.

I’m not a strong cyclist. What do I need to do to prepare for the ride?

This is a challenging tour, but a realistic one to train for. We recommend at least 2 months of cycling, with a focus on doing longer rides each time, and including as many hill climbs as possible. It’s also a good idea to practice being on your bicycle multiple days in a row to build your “saddle strength”. Also, keep in mind that we cannot control the elements. A possible windy, wet day will be much harder on the bicycles, so please take that into account with your training plan.

If you are looking for a motivational tool to get into cycling, this trip could provide it!

What are the maximum / minimum number of riders on this trip?

In order to keep the trip organized and give every rider individual attention, most trips will be limited to 14-16 people (including guides). The minimum for most tours is 5. We will notify you when the minimum has been met for your tour.

What if we don't have enough people to include vehicle support?

We will email the group once we confirm departure, and then again when we have enough to confirm the support vehicle. If we are not able to provide a support vehicle you will have the option to join us on a self-supported tour, or a full refund. We try to make these decisions at least 2 months prior to the start of a tour.

How do I reserve my spot?

Simply follow the link below to our registration page. You’ll need to fill in all of your information, including your 500 USD deposit per person now. We will send you a link to pay the remaining balance, which we must receive no later than 4 weeks before the start of the tour.

What if I change my mind or change my travel plans. Can I get a refund?

We can issue a partial refund if necessary as follows:

  • 90 days or more before departure date = 100% refund minus bank / credit card feeds.
  • 60 to 89 days before departure date = You will incur a 50 USD cancellation fee plus bank / credit card feeds.
  • 45 to 59 days before departure date = Will will incur a 100 USD cancellation fee minus bank / credit card feeds.
  • Shorter than 45 days notice = We cannot issue a refund after this time due to lodging, bicycle, and tour reservations already being placed..

If I select a “shared room”, who will I be sharing with?

If you are traveling with another person, we will place you together in a room. (there are 2 people and 2 beds per room). If you are traveling by yourself (or with an odd number of people) then we will do our best to match you up with another rider on our tour of the same gender.

If you are in a room by yourself you will need to pay a single supplement fee of $575 USD.

We cannot currently offer a triple room discount as not all hotels offer triples.

What ages are allowed to attend?

21 and over.

What about drinking and driving? Isn’t it illegal to ride a bicycle intoxicated?

Yes, it is illegal to ride a bike intoxicated. And because Belgian beer can include a lot more alcohol then an average beer, the follow items are put in place for this tour:

  • When possible, our beer / brewery / biercafe visits will be at the end of the day.

  • There are several days where the brewery visit is mid-day. Riders will be expected to use moderation when drinking beers during the daily rides. There will be several occasions where we will stop for lunch and have a beer, however, this does not mean we will accept or tolerate over-drinking when additional riding is necessary.

  • On most occasions our riders tend to share beers with each other. This helps everyone a sample a larger variety of beers, limit their intake, and also save money. We encourage this method when possible.

  • All riders are required to sign a waiver at the beginning of the tour removing us from liability if over drinking cases any damage of any kind. This is non-negotiable.

  • Due to each rider’s size / weight / body type, we cannot easily put a hard limit on the amount of drinks one consumes before becoming intoxicated. Since we’re all adults everyone will need to make these decisions on their own. (Although our guides won’t hesitate to let you know if we think you’ve had too much)

Can I bring my own bike?

Yes, you are more than welcome to bring your own bike (and get a discount) with the following conditions:

  • In must be in good enough condition to support you and your equipment for the length of the tour.

  • If the tour is self supported it must have a rear-rack that can hold panniers, which you we can loan you for a small fee, or you can bring your own for an additional discount.

  • You also bring your own lock.

  • You bring your own spare tubes.

  • We have plenty of extra helmets if you need to borrow one.

  • Beercycling will not be liable for damages made to your personal bike on the trip, although we will help when possible with mechanical issues or questions.

  • Meeting the above conditions also means you qualify for the lower rate on our registration page.

What languages do they speak in Belgium?

There are three official languages spoken in Belgium! The northern half (Flanders) speaks Flemish, which is very similar to Dutch (the national language of The Netherlands which is directly north of Belgium). In Brussels and southern Belgium French is the most common (where this tour takes place). In the very far East of Belgium (near Luxembourg) German is more commonly spoken. English is also widely used and recognized throughout the country, but more so in the north than in the south.

Our brewery tours on the Ardennes Challenge tours will always be in English.

What are the average prices for beer / food / etc in Belgium?

  • Bottle of beer = 3 to 4 Euros at a cafe (rare and speciality beers will be more)

  • Dinner = Expect about 15 to 30 Euros for a good-sized quality meal.

  • Tipping is not obligatory as this is service is included in VAT (Value Added Tax) at all restaurants. That said, a small tip 5% or leaving behind extra change is appreciated.

What kind of food will be served?

  • Breakfasts – will mostly consist of a typical “continental style” which will vary, but you can expect: Bread / Jams, Cereal, Milk, Juice, Coffee, Fruit, Pastries, etc. Every hotel we use on our tours provides breakfast, so it is convenient to eat whenever you wish in the morning before our departure time.

  • Snacks – Along the ride the guides will carry snacks that can be shared by the entire group. These will include candy, energy bars, fruit, extra water, etc. Everyone is encouraged to bring their own snacks or buy them along the way as well.

  • Lunches – Will consist of either picnic lunches, or dining at bicycle-friendly cafes. For the picnic lunches we will have spreads of meat, cheeses, breads, fruit, chips, among others. There will always be a vegetarian option each day. Again, if you prefer to buy or carry your own lunch every day you are more than welcome to. If you have any special dietary restrictions please make a note of this on your registration form. We will do our best to accommodate your requests.

  • Dinner – Everyone is on their own for dinner each night. Some nights we will go as a group to a beer cafe / restaurant, but this is optional. Typical Belgian cuisine is delicious and can include anything from pasta, sandwiches, salads, steaks, seafood, soups, and our favorites: Mussels and Fries.

What do I need to pack for the tour?

We recommend packing light. (More room to take beer home!) For self supported tours, the bags on the bikes are fairly large and should accommodate all necessary clothing for a 9 day tour. If you run out of room in your bags we can either help you mount another bag on the top of your rear rack, or place some equipment on one of the guides bikes if available. Please keep in mind that you will have use of a storage facility at the bike shop on Day #1 you can use and reclaim your items once the tour is over. A typical packlist for this trip is as follows:

  • Lightweight shirts = 3 or 4

  • Underwear = 3 or 4 pairs

  • Socks = 3 or 4 pairs

  • Pants = 1 pair

  • Shorts = 1 pair (Padded cycling shorts are recommended if you haven’t spent much time on a bike seat)

  • Waterproof lightweight rain shell

  • Lightweight jacket

  • 1 pair of shoes for on the bike (cycling shoes or running/gym shoes is fine)

  • 1 pair of shoes for off the bike (hiking sandals or flip flops, or just skip this and use your on-bike shoes)

  • Sunglasses

  • Gloves (for cycling, should be lightweight)

  • Water bottles are included with bicycle rental (or you can bring a camelbak which can double for extra storage)

  • Camera + batteries + charger

  • Personal documents (passport, credit cards)

  • Hygiene products / Sunscreen / Chapstick

  • Bungee cord (to strap extra items to your bike rack)

  • A couple zip lock bags (helps on rainy days to extra waterproof your phone or other items)

  • We do not recommend carrying a laptop computer due to space constraints. Several hotels will have computers you can use, or if you have a smartphone you can connect it to WiFi in order to get internet access. Some past riders have brought small netbooks which squeeze in nicely with luggage.

What kind of ID / documentation / visas / vaccinations will I need?

Depending on the country you are traveling from, please consult your embassy for visa information prior to arrival. In general, one does not need a special visa to enter/exit Belgium. Please remember to bring a passport to show identification when necessary along the trip. Sometimes hotels will ask for copies of your passport when we check in.

No special vaccinations are necessary for travel to Belgium or the Netherlands.

Is Belgium / Europe safe to travel in?

There has been a lot of discussion about Belgium and Europe and terrorism on the news recently. As a result, there is heightened security at the airport and main train stations. Belgians remains resilient and optimistic for the future. Life goes on as normal, the beer flows, and they make bad jokes with their strange senses humor. The majority of our tours take place in very rural areas away from large crowds. It’s now a great time to visit as tourism is important to their economy. If you have any other specific questions about travel safety, please do not hesitate to ask us.

Do I need travel insurance?

It is not required, but it is recommended. This can be used for lost luggage, medical expenses, etc. Each person is on their own for this, we do not offer an insurance policy. Also check with your credit card company, sometimes they offer included travel insurance.

What if Beercycling needs to cancel the trip?

In the very unlikely event that we need to cancel a trip each person will be issued a 100% refund. We cannot, unfortunately, provide a refund for your other expenses like airfare. In all cases Beercycling has backup tour guides waiting should something happen to your primary guide.

Am I required to tip my guides?

Nope. But tipping is very much appreciated and helps ensure the ability of our guides to run more and more tours each year!

Any other questions?

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We are happy to help answer even the silliest of questions!

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1.503.427.8253

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Welcome aboard!

Please email tours@beercycling.com for availability options.

2017/07/14 10:00:00
+ July 14th to 22nd, 2017

Please email tours@beercycling.com for availability options.

2017/07/14 10:00:00