82 kms / 1184 mts of elevation / Rugged gravel & tiny single track
Only fat accepted
This ride is particularly off road, so make sure you use very fat tires with good grip or a mountain bike with front suspension, if you don't... you will suffer.
We took the train from Brussels to Gouvy, it takes about 3 hours so I recommend you to take an early train and to bring with you a "croissant à la crème" and a thermos with coffee and a bit of soy milk, no sugar please.
Gouvy is a small village in the south of Belgium, close to the border with Luxembourg. From here the route goes through forests and fields. Although is off road, is not really technical.
Small technical section
Before arriving to the city of Malmedy, there is a small technical section. For a non technical person like me, this short section can totally be accomplished by foot :D while my friend on his mountain bike enjoyed it at a very high speed.
Malmedy is a nice town ! but I forgot to take photos...
Malmedy is the mid point of the 80 kms ride, it's a nice town to have lunch or provision yourself. After passing Malmedy the ride follows a watercourse upstream, it is an area of remarkable beauty, with nice picnic spots.
The highest point in Belgium
The route climbs up towards the highest territories of Belgium, it's not like you are going to feel the lack of oxygen though, only around 690m over the level of the sea. There are trees all around.
The Hautes Fagnes
The route goes down gradually, bordering the spectacular landscapes of the Hautes Fagnes. This place is very special, take a moment, look around, breath deep.
Arriving to Eupen
Finally we crossed the woods toward the picturesque city of Eupen. It's a beautiful descent on perfect gravel roads. Eupen is a touristic city with restaurants and hotels, there is also a train station and direct trains to Brussels.
It takes one or two days depending on the rider. For a fit cyclist it can be a perfect one day ride, whereas for people looking for a more calm adventure with relaxing brakes, it can be done in two days. In that case, Malmedy would be the perfect place to spend the night, it is a touristic place with restaurants, hotels, hostels and campings.
The ideal bicycle for this trip is a mountain bike with front suspension or a rigid with plus size tires. Although the ride can be done with a gravel bike, keeping in mind that some sections would be a bit more difficult to handle. During winter time some roads can get very muddy, in which case, wider tires are recommended as well as some more technical skills.
Logistics are quite easy since both Gouvy and Eupen have train stations. It is allowed to transport bicycles in these trains even though they are not very well equipped for it, so you might find yourself putting your bicycle between cars, by the access or beside the toilets. It is highly recommended to board either the first or the last wagon where there are less people.