July 6th to 11th, 2018

$1400

Difficulty: Medium

Get on your hay and ride!
Get on your hay and ride!

Highlights

By popular request! Join us on our first style-specific tour, searching for the best Saisons / Farmhouse / Bier de Gardes on the planet!

This tour takes place in two countries! We’ll enjoy cycling and brewery visits in rural parts of both Belgium and France. Farms, Houses, and Farmhouse Beers!

  • Intermediate level tour due to some rolling hills. Ride between 25 and 40 miles each day.
  • This is a rural tour. Lots of small villages, traditional family-owned breweries, farms, and quiet cities.
  • On this tour we will visit at least 8 breweries, and receive a private tour at many of them! Beer tastings are included in your trip fees!
  • 5-nights hotel, bike / bag rentals, 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 a country at the perfect speed to soak in your surroundings.

Breweries

This tour features mostly older traditional Farmhouse breweries, with a few more modern buildings thrown in the mix!

Typical breweries we visit on most tour include:

De Blaugies – Your tour guide’s favorite producer of Saison. We’ll receive a private tour of the old brewery + a catered lunch in their cafe (paired with beers!) If we are lucky we can also try their collaboration with Hill Farmstead! The brewery is right near the Belgian side of the border.

Saison Dupont – The quintessential Saison! Even more refreshing from the source. We’ll tour the brewery and see their bottling line.

Brasserie Au Baron – Our favorite French Saison. We’ll enjoy a few of their beers while having lunch at their restaurant, right on the French side of the border.

Brasserie de Brunehaut – Another great brewery on a farm property. They make wonderful organic beers and we’ll get a private tour from the owner.

Brasserie De Ranke – One of our all-time favorites. Excellent Saison and Sours, we are in for a treat!

Brasserie CAMBIER – A young brewery nearby Lille, making great Saison and even IPA’s.

Le Bierodrome – The newest brewery in Tournai with a bicycle theme! They make small batch beers and also host a giant bottle shop where we can collect and try different regional Saisons.

Brewmaster Sebastian showing us around Brasserie Deseveaux
Brewmaster Sebastian showing us around Brasserie Deseveaux

Other breweries change based upon availability and time of year. Places we may also visit on tours include: Brasserie de Cazeau, Brasserie Desevaux, Brasserie L’Abbaye des Rocs, Brasserie St-Feuillien, Brasserie de Silly, Brasserie des Légendes, La Brasserie à Vapeur, Brasserie des Carrières, Brasserie du Pavé, Alvinne, Brewery Omer Vander Ghinste, Brasserie Dubuisson, Brasserie Jenlain

Mons, Belgium, our starting city

Total Mileage: ~150miles / 241km

Itinerary / Stats

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

Day 1 – Meeting today in Mons at 10 AM. Drop luggage at hotel, get bicycles setup. We’ll be taking a warm up ride to Brasserie Blaugies for a tour + lunch. Tonight back in Mons we can explore town together and have dinner at a fun beer-themed restaurant.
Day 2  – Prepare for some amazing bike trails, farm roads, and quiet fields. We’ll tour two breweries today, including lunch at the legendary Brasserie Au Baron in France. Home tonight is in Peruwelz back in Belgium at a great hotel (with Air Conditioning!)
Day 3 – Two more breweries await us today including the one everyone is the most excited about: Brasserie Dupont! We’ll end in Tournai which is home to the best bottle shop of the tour, Le Bierodrome.
Day 4 – Another brewery awaits today as we cross the border into France to Lille. This will be the largest town of the trip, and hosts many great beer bars we can explore.
Days 5 – Today we head north back into Belgium, visiting two breweries on our way to Kortrijk. Kortrijk is also the starting city for our “Taster” tour, and we are big fans of the local beer bar, “Gainsbar”
Day 6 – There are lots of breweries nearby so today will feature one last brewery tour + lunch, the tour officially ending back in Kortrijk near the train station around 3 PM. Plenty of time for those that need to return to the airport for a flight, or to Brussels to catch the high speed train to another destination.

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

Photos from this tour

Tour FAQ's

What is included in trip cost?

  • 5 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.
  • Daily breakfast, daily lunches, and lots of snacks for each day.
  • 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!
  • 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 can assist with 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 and sometimes during lunch)
  • 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. 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 Flanders tours we use lightweight Belgium-made hybrid bikes. They are 21 gears, and include a cushioned saddle. The bikes do not have clip in pedals. No special footwear is required for these bikes. However, if you prefer to bring your own pedals this would be fine.

What about the bike paths / difficulty of riding?

The landscape is Flanders is extremely flat which allows for easy pedaling. 90% flat, with some hills starting as we cycle into Leuven. Belgium has an extensive bicycle route system. A good majority of it is traffic-free and will take us through farms, small villages, and alongside streams. The road conditions will be mostly pavement but also include light (about 5-10% dirt paths). On a few occasions (most notably in Antwerp) we will need to navigate through busy traffic, but our guides have all the routes planned out ahead of time in order to ensure everyone’s safety and make the ride pleasurable.

The daily riding mileage averages out to be 30 miles (48 km) per day, longest day is 40 miles. Expect about 4-5 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?

Our longest day on the bikes will be about 40 miles (66 km). In order to properly train for this trip, you should be able to ride your bike at least this distance. While we strongly encourage everyone to train beyond this point if possible, at a minimum please complete a 40-mile ride. And 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.

There will be small hills during this tour so please include that in your training plan if possible.

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 our Ardennes Challenge 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.

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 10 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. Laundry facilities will also be available in the big cities, so you can also pack about 4 or 5 days worth of clothing and do laundry half way. 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!

2018/07/06 10:00:00
July 6th to 11th, 2018
2018/07/06 10:00:00