November 9, 2014
Belgium is the Holy Land when it comes to cyclocross. Yet there exists a group of bicycle enthusiasts who relish the concept of challenging the idea of ‘normal’ when it comes to riding and racing bicycles.
Singlespeed Belgique is a collection of people who, as you might assume from the name, are fond of bicycles fashioned with one gearing option. The club originally started as a bunch of mountain bikers, but it’s recently expanded into cyclocross bikes. Last year, they started throwing their own singlespeed cyclocross party in the southern, French-speaking part of Belgium.
Hugo Manteau was a member of the club who succumbed to brain cancer in November of 2012. In his memory, his best mates inaugurated GoGo!!! Hellcross the following year. It was an immediate success, and drew a larger and more…diverse…field of competitors this year. To say the event is unsanctioned is an understatement. Despite a police van showing up this year and snapping a couple photos, they merely drove off, leaving the 200 competitors and another 100 or so spectators to continue the bicycle debauchery on public property.
As much a party as it is a competition, there is a beer shortcut, plenty of heckling spectators, and raging parties the before, during and after the race. Sure there were winners on the day, but that was secondary to the spirit of the event.
All proceeds from the event benefit the Belgian Brain Tumor Support organization.
I’ll stop the story there and let this photo gallery from Geoffroy Libert illustrate the story of the event.