Info/advice for Tour of Flanders sportive
Thinking about doing the 140k tour of flanders (Paris-Roubaix looks expensive) and just after general info.
My road bike can only take 23 tyres, worth using my steel cross bike with 28s? Any hotel recommendations? Never used the eurostar but what’s it like for taking bikes? Any other tips? TaPosted 6 years ago
23mm tyres are fine. But 25s would be better with a touch less pressure in them. I usually ride Vittoria Open Pavé (which are 24mm). Normal road bike is fine. A couple of the longer cobbled sections can be hard work – big ring and don’t grip the bars too tight. Gearing: I’ve ridden it on both standard and compact chainsets. The biggest issue you’ll encounter is the sea of people on climbs like the Paterberg and Koppenberg – practise (1) trackstands and (2) shouting “huphuphup” at people to get out of your way.
Last time I went, I did the full edition (265k). We stayed in Bruges (as that’s where it starts).
When I did the 140k, I stayed in Brussels and just drove out to Ninove for the start (about 20 miles/30 mins drive). We stayed in the Hilton at the astonishingly cheap rate of £21 a night (incl 20 euros worth of breakfast..!).
I’ve only ever taken the car ferry from Hull, so don’t know about Eurostar. A friend who rode the biggie with us last time took it and all seemed fine, though I didn’t ask any detail. You may well have to bag the bike up.
Make sure you stay for the race the next day. It really is the most fantastic day you can imagine (once described to me as being like Wimbledon, FA Cup final and Ashes all rolled into one – it’s a religion in Belgium). We usually go to the Muur, but as that’s all change for next year I’d suggest one of the other bergs. Oh and get there early.
I’ve ridden a few UK and European sportives, and this ranks far and away number one for me. If I didn’t have a small child and hadn’t been off the bike for much of this year, I’d be there again. Enjoy..!Posted 6 years ago
25s def don’t fit my bike maybe 24s might though. Sounds pretty awesome event, we’d be staying for the race.
Much difference between full and 140 in terms of sense of achievement atmosphere and business? I was put off the full by laziness and not wanting to get up at dawnPosted 6 years agowingnutsMember
If your carrying a bit of weight(like I do) then get the biggest tyres you can. I can get conti 28s in my Madone, but struggle with other makes. My faves are Michelin pros with a 25mm section. Ride high in the road if the crowds allow and attack the cobbles as fast as you can to fly over the tops! My preference is a compact so you can use the closer ratios on the cassette. Use your crosser if you are precious about your best bike.
Riding in big groups on the continent is so different. Some old boy (even older than me) giving you hell on some state of the art pinarello, or best of all getting on the back of some club train. If you do ask if you can sit in, but don’t disrupt their flow by jumping through or about.
DO Stay as omitn says. Brill times.Posted 6 years ago
People ride all sorts – I remember a group I was in doing around 22mph getting dropped by a bloke on an MTB… 23mm will be fine – just think about pressures and take spare tubes just in case.
You’ll do the 140, finish it grinning from ear to ear, and promptly announce you’re doing the full edition next time. Frankly, the 140 is more fun.
Full edition is hard work – 160+ miles – and you don’t hit the bergs until after 160k. While it means the bergs won’t be so busy with riders, you’ll also be knackered with 100k of climbing ahead of you.
Also, frankly, there are more spectators on the 140k (as they don’t wait out all day waiting) and so the atmosphere is better.
I love it though. So very jealous..!Posted 6 years ago
Going to use this thread as a reference point in case anyone searches in future.
main site for tour sportive
Other useful links:Posted 6 years agoPictoMember
I would echo what has been said. 23mm will be fine. I would fit new tyes for maximum puncture resistance. Vittoria Pave are 24mm and seem to get a good write up for this sort of event.
When I did it was dry and traction was fine on the cobbles (I used 25mm conti gator skins) which tbh did not seem that wide. They fitted in my cervelo carbon soloist which has very close clearance. I wonder what traction on the cobbles would be like if it was wet, especially on narrow tyres. I think this is when tyre choice and pressure becomes very important.
I did the 165 mile route. First 80 miles were a bit boring tbh and not very challenging. Second half with all of the bergs and most of the cobbles was way better.
The advice I was given before I went was “do the short one and have a beer”. Needless to say if I went again and could get past the macho big miles thing I would do excactly that, and have an extra beer.Posted 6 years ago
Needless to say if I went again and could get past the macho big miles thing I would do excactly that, and have an extra beer.
Next time (there’s always a next time after the first time…), it’ll be the short one and several beers.
Just like when we finished the long one last time..!
Yep, Pavés are the best tyres – as in, what the pros ride (Well, they ride tubs, but they’re otherwise the same). Not all the bergs are cobbled, and not all are as bonkers steep as the Koppenberg and Paterberg. The Molenberg is a rutted mess in whatever weather..!Posted 6 years agoMrSmithMember
23c’s are fine. i have ridden it on gp4000’s with no problems, used pavés last year but that was for a magazine bike test so not my choice.
don’t cane it early on just take it easy and watch your line, most euro riders are fine in big groups, it’s the brits that try to cut you up.
if you do this you will find you pass a lot of people as numbers thin out in the latter stages of the ride as they fade but you are still rolling along.
save your effort for the cobbles, push a big gear, the faster you go the more the bike floats over the top. go flat out even if it’s wet 🙂 if you are o.k. on a mtb then the bike moving around a bit shouldn’t worry you.
when you get to a climb have a look at how many bikes are in front of you if there’s a big group of MAMILS either hang back to have space to ride into or get in front as they will stop and fall over in front of you forcing you to stop on a climb.
enjoy. it’s an awesome event even in the wet.Posted 6 years agojhwMember
I used 23s without any problems (interestingly I spent the preceding week going to every bike shop in Brussels to find 25c tyres – there weren’t any…).
My technical tip would be that if you’re sad like me and use a little saddlebag – be warned that the zip rattles open on every cobbled section. Don’t put anything in it!
Oh and although I’m not usually a heart rate monitor kind of guy, it was really useful on this occasion for helping me to ensure I didn’t overdo it early on.
Second the comments about watching your line above – saw a lot of crashes last year at road junctionsPosted 6 years ago
I’m doing it in 2012. Going for the full 240km’s too. Never done it before – and it’ll be very hard work I’m sure! 😯
Going over on Eurotunnel and staying in central Bruges so as to be right near the start. Wife and kids coming, so will drive to Ninove at the end and collect me.
Am doing it on my Cyclocross bike as it can take 28’s (Conti GP4000 4 Seasons) plus if the weather’s cr@p I won’t mind that taking a beating rather than my carbon Colnago with Campy Record.
To the OP: on Eurotunnel with bikes just book for a high vehicle if they’re on the roof, otherwise ok if on a towball mounted rack.Posted 6 years agolucienMember
To the OP – I’m not sure if you meant Eurostar (the train) or Eurotunnel (Ferry alternative)?
FWIW – Eurostar not good with bikes, they need to be in a bag / as luggage so not even a standard bike bag. For Eurotunnel, no problems with either roof, tow ball or rear screen/boot mounted rack – just advise at the time of booking.Posted 6 years ago
So how is everybody’s training going for the RVV?
I’m entered for the full 240km’s route and unfortunately my kids very kindly shared their horrible chest infections with me 2 weeks ago and I have been out of action since, putting a big hole in my training running up to the RVV.
Who’s going this year, and how’s your training coming on?Posted 6 years agotonyg2003Subscriber
I’ve done the full distance 3 times. I’d advise that you find the biggest group you can near the start and sit in. Getting caught ina really small group, sometimes with big head winds is very dispiriting at the start of a 160mile ride.
I’m trying to get over this year but I may only do the 140mile and enjoy a beer.Posted 6 years ago
I’ve done the full one ten times now, always used new pro race 3’s 23mm, not had one puncture in all that time.Posted 6 years ago
Training has gone badly this year, three colds since Jan, all pretty nasty ones, plus a season of cross has meant no decent blocks of training. Not sure if I’ll be up to it this year which is sad as I do it to remember my son, but if I can manage a couple of 100 milers before next week I’ll give it a go.
I’m doing the full 240+kms route.
Was planning on using my CX bike, but after completing a 5hrs training ride a couple of weeks ago then switching to my carbon Colnago and doing another 5hrs ride a few days later I realised just how harsh my CX bike was and how much it beat me up compared to my road bike. So much for my theory that 28mm tyres would cushion the ride.. they obviously don’t overcome the harshness of a super-stiff frame that’s designed to be ridden for 1hr very fast.
I’ve also had a nasty 3 week cold and am now suffering neck pain – but still hoping to do the ‘Big One’ at Flanders.
I hear different things about the start in Bruges… some say don’t bother queueing – just go. Others say you must register/check in. Any advice anyone?Posted 6 years ago
You must pick up and attach your number or you won’t be allowed in the feed zones. You’ll need the route card for them to stamp too. I’ve seen people try without and they are given short shrift! As always I’ve pre-entered but thinking in future I might sign-on on the day. Couple of times recently picking up my pre-entry pack has taken an hour of queuing while the on the day lot are away in a few minutes.
Good call on using the road bike. I made a BIG mistake using my cx on the Paris Roubaix cyclo, big tyres too, but I got hammered. Last time I used my road bike on 25mm Pro races and what a difference!Posted 6 years ago
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