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Trip Report

Eco-friendly covid-friendly bike trip to Hainaut


by nickAtlasGuru Contributor

EuropeBelgium3 days / September 2020

Highs & Lows



Itinerary Overview

The journey started in Brussels, along the Canal, until the Sloping Lock of Ronquières. Then, using the so-called "Points Vélos" we went through charming villages and castles of Feluy, Seneffe and Mariembourg. The Aulne abbey, oldest one from Belgium, was on our list but we didn't make it on time. We spent one night in Silenrieux, whose main interest is to be 4 km away from the lake. Actually, the lakes. There are two big ones, around 20 km round: the real "Lac de l'Eau d'Heure", where we headed to on the following morning, and the "Lac de la Plate-Taille". Plus a number of smaller ones. One can go there by bike, as we did, or rent it there or even go around by walking. There are several water-sport activities, a big nice dam, some restaurants and 2 swimming-allowed zones. But when we went there it was too cold for it!

Thuin is an amazing village on a hill with cobbled streets, a big church, the main square around it and beautiful views on the surroundings. The typical Toscan village, except it's in Belgium! Some 20 km away from the lakes. The bike path is nice and easy until you get down the hill. There, a 500 m climb with 9.4% slope is waiting for you. I had to use first gear first chainring, which I did nowhere else for the whole trip. As an amateur cyclist, I enjoyed climbing but was very happy to reach the top and have some drinks in one of the bars on main square, with the view on the belfry and the whole valley. One can take a walk in the village, buy some sweets in the bakeries, chill and take a deserved rest after the climb. Definitely one of the few altitude atmospheres in Belgium, the flat country!

First, let me describe the bike path from Thuin to Mons: forest, forest, forest and forest, like never-ending. Though, at the end, suprise: a 3 km cobbled road. And then you get to the city. We were lucky to stay at l'Auberge de Jeunesse de Mons, a youth hostel literally located at the bottom of the belfry, one of the citie's best touristic attractions. After having a late dinner in a Greek restaurant, we had some drink on the Place du Marché aux Herbes, well-known for its nightlife. Till 1 AM, Covid ruled. Main Square by night is also worth it. Next day, we saw an open-air Yann Arthus-Bertrand exhibition around the belfry, walked across the main toursitic spots and had a sunny lunch in one of the numerous restaurants on Main Square. Then time came to bike back to Brussels.

  • 1 Night: Les Lacs de l'Eau d'Heure
  • 1 Night: Thuin
  • 1 Night: Mons

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    Definitely 1st step's length: we foresaw 98 km and it became 115 km due to some mistakes. Way too long, the last hour was barely bearable. For city-bikers just like us, I would recommend a maximum of 60 km a day.

  • Anything go wrong during the trip?

    On day 1, we were under the rain for the first 5 hours. Welcome to Belgium guys!

  • How was the food?

    How was the food? Easy. We had a picnic, a stop in Silenrieux friterie and 2 in Mons restaurants. Know that in Wallonia's friteries, French fries portions are super big.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    In Mons, stay at the Auberge de Jeunesse de Mons. Beautiful from the outside, large, clean and cosy inside, with a lot of facilities and best location.

  • Packing tips?

    Take a spare tube and learn how to change it. Or, in case you get a flat tire 30 min before the end of the trip, make local friends who can help you.