raleigh, raleigh magnum, racing bike, tourer, touring bike, custom touring bike, bikepacking, cycle touring, cycle gear, travel, photography, travel photography

My pack-list becomes lighter every trip...except for my photography gear which keeps growing...doh!

The final gear cull before hitting the road.

I did manage to get my hands on some Clif Bars.

Bruges.

I loved shooting the beautiful architecture with my Canon EF 16-35mm lens.

Exploring Bruges...

Bulking not sulking.

Belgium

     Good day people of the world and welcome to yet another tale from the crazy old bard at Bicycle Touring Apocalypse. On this trip I lose myself in beautiful medieval architecture, dramatically improve my French from velo to….velo aidez-moi….which basically translates to “ bike help ”, nearly get mugged, endure torrential rain with no proper waterproofs, learn that cycling 110 miles in 30 degree heat with a hangover is well…pretty stupid, hate my spokes with a passion, once again experience the incredible love and generosity of strangers and of course be in a constant state of bicycle touring euphoria!

     On this trip I head to Belgium, a country that for some ridiculous reason has developed a reputation for being small, flat and ultimately boring. However, this perception couldn’t be further from the truth. This European gem encompasses some of the most quaint and beautiful medieval cities in the word, has an incredible network of cycle paths, features the colossal Ardennes and a cultural melting pot that incorporates Flemish, French, German and Italian influences. Oh and lets not forget its got some of the best beer in the world!

     As per usual I planned absolutely nothing. I’m not kidding, even by my dreadful standards this was particularly bad. On the eve of departure I was still working in a London studio, three hours away from all my gear. However, that was just the start of my problems. I had no food for the trip, the bike was still in bits, a load of new equipment hadn’t arrived and my ferry left at midnight. There can be no question that I developed a newfound empathy for Cinderella. I guess it’s what a gentleman would call a spot of bother, but I’m not a member of the English gentry and therefore referred to the predicament as a f#*king disaster!

     After zig-zagging through traffic like a character from Wacky races I finally got home at 9pm. At this point everything became a bit of a blur as I replaced methodical planning with hysterical chaos. Nevertheless, I shall confer the key details.


1. The initial arrival and subsequent swearing stage. Nothing complicated here, just me cursing profusely.

2. Build bike. Obviously you can forget any pre-flight safety checks and can guarantee that every screw, nut and bolt that appeared unessential was spared. Needless to say, If I ever establish a multi-billion pound airline…stay well clear.

3. Deciding what equipment to take on the trip. I mean, when you’re asking these type of questions the night before departure you should seriously consider a different vocation in life.

4. Food. There’s an excellent selection of exploration ready meals, energy bars and supplements widely available to the intrepid explorer and one day I swear by the gods I shall have some. However, for this trip I resulted to a selection of baby food from the local supermarket. I’m sure Ranulph Fiennes uses exactly the same stuff.

food, foodie, food blog, food photography, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, cycling, cycling blog, travel, travel blog, adventure, adventure cycling, bikepacking food, cycling food, canon, canon 6d, camera, photography

5. Loading the car…by which I mean sorting equipment into one huge unorganized pile and throwing aforesaid possessions into boot of car with no regard for fragile or potentially flammable items.

6. Drive to Dover, observing all speed limits.

7. Finally arriving at Dover’s passport control whilst praying border security don’t discover vast quantities of baby food.

8. At last resting in the departure lounge. This was a fantastic opportunity to remember every essential item I’d left on the dining room table.


     After disembarking the ferry at Calais the excitement always kicks in, Soundgarden was set to deafening and I made haste to Belgium. On the outskirts of Bruges I finally succumbed to exhaustion and pulled over at a service station for some shut-eye. I forgot to set an alarm but was awoken by the sound of a revving Ducati 996…possibly the manliest alarm! After a brief chat with the rider, who was heading down to the Nurburgring, I head into Bruges. I soon found a quiet residential road, parked up and began loading the bike. I was under no illusion that my packing had not gone well and I could only hope that my driving style hadn’t made the situation worse. I opened the boot and was pleasantly surprised…only jokin….it looked like someone had thrown frag grenades into a jumble sale! After an hour of sifting through the wreckage I was finally ready to hit the road and it’s at this point that I’ll taper off my literary drivel and let the photos do the talking…ladies, gentleman, children of the realm, I give you Belgium!


As always here’s a short film documenting my trip. Expect awful production, worse editing and rain…lots of rain!


Had to take a picture of these beauties...

The incredible Snugpak Ionosphere, check out my review at www.bikepackersmagazine.com.

The awesome people at Rude Health sponsored me with some of their top notch bars.

Belgium beer is world famous, it would be a crime not to enjoy it!

Leffe, the iconic Belgium beer.

Rude Health's delicious Fruity Date. This is arguably the ultimate porridge for cycling, packed with Porridge Oats, Jumbo Oats, Oatmeal, Apricots, Apple, Ground Apple and Cinnamon!

The incredible Soto Helix coffee maker. This beautifully minimalist design is all you need for top notch coffee on the road.

Vagabond Coffee Roasters London hooked me up with some of their amazing coffee.

The beautiful city of Ghent.

This lovely gentleman approached me, complimented my camera and told me the story of an inmate who survived his prison sentence in Ghent by suckling off a woman's breast. Touching stuff.

...If you wanted proof.

My custom 1970's Raleigh touring bike. This beautiful creature was completely rebuilt by the amazing people at Bob Jackson Cycles.

As always my Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres performed flawlessly and didn't concede a single puncture

Lier.

Antwerp train station.

Antwerp.

Antwerp.

Desperately trying to dry all my clothes, all of my gear was soaked in torrential rain.

steam train train, locomotive, bicycle touring, bikepacking, canon 6d, bicycle, bikes, mountain bike, cycle gear, road bikes, road bike, raleigh bikes, bicycles, bike parts, mountain biking, bike accessories, racing bikes
cycling store, bikepacking store, bike shop, cycling shop, surly, pannier, ortlieb, steel frame, lejog, Carradice, Brooks, fat bike, Garmin, bicycle touring apocalypse, Schwalbe, Mavic, Tubus,
bicycle touring, bikepacking, photography blog, cycling store, bicycle store, cycling gear, surly, pannier, ortlieb, steel frame, lejog, Carradice, Brooks, fat bike, Garmin, bicycle touring apocalypse, Schwalbe, Mavic, Tubus,

Enjoying some incredible Vagabond London Coffee.

Food courtesy of 9 Bar, Trek, Clif Bar, Nakd and Rude Health.

Yes...I drink far too much coffee.

beer, beer blog, ipa, local beer, brewery, grains, food, foodie, food blog, travel, cycling, ride,

Fixing broken spokes...happy days!

Spot the bike...

The Snugpak Ionosphere is a great value lightweight bikepacking tent, check out my review.

The Snugpak Ionosphere is a great value lightweight bikepacking tent, check out my review.

belgium beer, beer, beer blog, beer photography, bikepacking beer, food, foodie, food blog, food photography, cycle touring, cycling beer, cycling blog, bikepacking blog
The Ionosphere really is spacious...

The Ionosphere really is spacious...

Pannier cc sorted me out with a few of their top notch dry bags.

Pannier cc sorted me out with a few of their top notch dry bags.

As always I brought along my super lightweight Berghaus Hydrodown jacket.

As always I brought along my super lightweight Berghaus Hydrodown jacket.

coffee, soto, soto helix, soto helix coffee maker, bikepacking coffee, coffee, coffee blog, vagabond, vagabond coffee, vagabond coffee london
Had a great night with these hikers.

Had a great night with these hikers.

photography, canon, canon 6d, portrait, landscape, dslr, photo, photos, go pro, video, photographer, fuji, leica
jet, military, military jet, jet fighter, army, army jet, MOD, war, military vehicle, photography, photography, canon, canon 6d, portrait, landscape, dslr, photo, photos, go pro, video, photographer, fuji, leica
jet, military jet, army, army plane, plane, bicycle touring, bicyc
bicycle touring, bikepacking, cycle touring, photography, bikepacking photography, bicycle touring apocalypse, landscape, 16-35mm, canon, canon 6d, belgium, ardennes, bikepacking ardennes
Time to switch maps.

Time to switch maps.

tank, military, army, army tank, bastogne, wwii, bikepacking, bikepacking belgium, travel, travel blog, cycling, cycling blog, exploring, history
BASTOGNE.

BASTOGNE.

Inside the Snugpak Ionosphere...

Inside the Snugpak Ionosphere...

bastogne, bastogne belgium, belgium, war museum, WWII, visit belgium, bicycle touring apocalypse
anti aircraft gun, machine gun, bastogne, bastogne belgium, belgium, war museum, WWII, visit belgium, bicycle touring apocalypse
war memorial, rip, memorial, bastogne, bastogne belgium, belgium, war museum, WWII, visit belgium, bicycle touring apocalypse
More broken spokes...six in four days!

More broken spokes...six in four days!

beer, beer blog, beer photography, belgium, visit belgium, battin beer, bicycle touring apocalypse, bikepacking blog, cycling blog, travel blog, travel blog, travel journalist
antlers, antique antlers, photography, canon, canon 6d, portrait, landscape, dslr, photo, photos, go pro, video, photographer, fuji, leica
skull, bar, art, arty, fun, bar, cool bar, travel blog, photography, bicycle touring apocalypse, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, travel, horns, antlers,
beer, beer blog, beer photography, belgium, visit belgium, battin beer, bicycle touring apocalypse, bikepacking blog, cycling blog, travel blog, travel blog, travel journalist
BIG...

BIG...

VALHALLA.

VALHALLA.

jet, military, military jet, jet fighter, army, army jet, MOD, war, military vehicle, photography, photography, canon, canon 6d, portrait, landscape, dslr, photo, photos, go pro, video, photographer, fuji, leica
food, foodie, food blog, food photography, lunch, bicycle touring, bikepacking
quarry, digger, truck, bicycle touring apocalypse, touring, bicycle touring, landscape, photography, photography blog, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, raleigh, raleigh bicycles, ride
raleigh, raleigh bikes, raleigh racing bike, raleigh tourer, raleigh touring bike, custom, custom touring bike, travel, travel blog, bikepacking bike, bikepacking set up, bikepacking gear, wildcat, wildcat gear, carradie, ortlieb, schwalbe,
" SCAM ", not the best name for a business...I particularly liked the winky face next to the name!

" SCAM ", not the best name for a business...I particularly liked the winky face next to the name!

beer, beer blog, beergram, beer photography, ipa, IPA, local beer, ale, drink, alcohol, bikepacking beer, bikepacking blog, cycle touring, cycle touring blog
Bastogne WWII museum.

Bastogne WWII museum.

machine gun, heavy duty machine gun, bastogne, bastogne belgium, belgium, war museum, WWII, visit belgium, bicycle touring apocalypse
motorbike, vintage motorbike, classic motorbike, harley, harley davidson, biker, bikers, bastogne, bastogne belgium, belgium, war museum, WWII, visit belgium, bicycle touring apocalypse
bike shop, bike store, cycle shop, cycle store, cycle gear, bikes, cycles, ride, cycling gear, spokes, ride, travel, bicycle touring blog
The owner of this bar helped me dry my gear, got me a drink and gave me a place to stay. The love and generosity of strangers never fails to amaze me.

The owner of this bar helped me dry my gear, got me a drink and gave me a place to stay. The love and generosity of strangers never fails to amaze me.

_MG_9525.JPG
beer, belgium, belgium beer, ipa, IPA, local beer, ale, beer blog, beer photography, taps, bikepacking beer, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, cycle touring, cycle touring blog, explore, travel, travel blog, photography, photography blog
skull, skull, bar, art, arty, fun, bar, cool bar, travel blog, photography, bicycle touring apocalypse, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, travel, horns, antlers,
rude health, wholesome food, food, foodie blog, travel, travel blog, adventure, gopro, be a hero, gopro be a hero, anker, anker battery, pannier cc, panniercc.com, iphone, iphone 5, beer, beer photography
...and small.

...and small.

food, foodie, food blog, food photography, bikepacking, bikepacking food, cycle touring, cycle tourig food, travel, taste, wholesome, food blogger
The imposing entrance to the city of Dinant.

The imposing entrance to the city of Dinant.

dinant, dinant belgium, visit belgium, nature, beauty, landscape photography, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, cycling, ride, cycle touring, canon, canon 6d, 16-35mm
DINANT.

DINANT.

A closer look at my touring a rig, a 1970's completely custom Raleigh Magnum. I'm gradually converting to a full bikepacking set-up.

A closer look at my touring a rig, a 1970's completely custom Raleigh Magnum. I'm gradually converting to a full bikepacking set-up.

raleigh, raleigh bicycle, vintage raleigh, raleigh tourer, touring bike, raleigh touring bike, custom bike, custom touring bike, bikepacking, bikepacking bike, bikepacking blog, cycling blog, cycle touring blog, bikepacking website, mavic, ortlieb, wildcat, wildcat gear
ardennes, visit the ardennes, belgium, river, photography, landscape photography, canon, canon 6d, 16-35mm, bicycle touring apocalypse, blog, bicycle, bikes, mountain bike, cycle gear, road bikes, road bike, raleigh bikes, bicycles, bike parts, mountain biking
namur, architecture, photography, architect, medieval, history, travel, travel blog, photography blog, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, bicycle touring apocalypse, canon, canon 6d, 16-35mm
Powermonkey extreme solar charger.

Powermonkey extreme solar charger.

pannier cc, pannier, cycling clothes, cycling, cyclist, cycling gear, travel, travel blog, bikepacking, ride, wildcat gear, bicycle touring apocalypse, raleigh, magnum, raleigh magnum, vintage racer, bikepacking blog, cycling blog, blog, photography blog, photography, canon, canon6d, 16-35, cycle touring,
camping, tent, bikepacking, bikepacking gear, bikepacking blog, bicycle touring apocalypse, cycle touring, cycling, ride, touring company, cycle touring
mons, mons cathedral, visit mons, visit belgium, blog, bicycle, bikes, mountain bike, cycle gear, road bikes, road bike, raleigh bikes, bicycles, bike parts, mountain biking
mons, mons cathedral, visit belgium, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, cycle, cycling blog, bicycle touring apocalypse, travel, travel blog, photography, photography blog, camera, canon, canon 6d, blog, bicycle, bikes, mountain bike, cycle gear, road bikes, road bike, raleigh bikes,
pizza, food, italian pizza, foodie, food blog, bikepacking food, cycle touring food, bikepacking beer, beer, ipa, local, brewery, photography, photography blog, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, bicycle touring apocalypse, cycling, taste, recipe, italy, italian, visit belgium, mons, visit mons,
pizza, food, italian pizza, foodie, food blog, bikepacking food, cycle touring food, bikepacking beer, beer, ipa, local, brewery, photography, photography blog, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, bicycle touring apocalypse, cycling, taste, recipe, italy, italian, visit belgium, mons, visit mons,
brussels, visit brussels, visit belgium, travel, travel blog, photography, bikepacking, bicycle touring apocalypse, bike accessories, racing bikes, cycling gear, touring bike, touring bikes, bike gear, adventure cycling, ride
brussels, visit brussels, visit belgium, travel, travel blog, photography, bikepacking, bicycle touring apocalypse, photography, canon, canon 6d, portrait, landscape, dslr, photo, photos, go pro, video, photographer, fuji, leica
bicycle touring, bike tours, bike routes, bike route, bike touring, surly, pannier, ortlieb, steel frame, lejog, Carradice, Brooks, fat bike, Garmin, bicycle touring
The castle at Namur.

The castle at Namur.

beer, belgium beeer, alcohol, beer blog, beer photography, ipa, local, brewery, bikepacking beer, food, foodie, food blog, travel, travel blog, explore,
My faithful E.H Works Tool Roll.

My faithful E.H Works Tool Roll.

My faithful Canon AE-1 film camera.

My faithful Canon AE-1 film camera.

Not a bad place to camp...

Not a bad place to camp...

Mon's cathedral.

Mon's cathedral.

mons, mons cathedral, visit belgium, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, cycle, cycling blog, bicycle touring apocalypse, travel, travel blog, photography, photography blog, camera, canon, canon 6d, blog, bicycle, bikes, mountain bike, cycle gear, road bikes, road bike, raleigh bikes, bicycle touring apocalypse
pizza, food, italian pizza, foodie, food blog, bikepacking food, cycle touring food, bikepacking beer, beer, ipa, local, brewery, photography, photography blog, bikepacking, bikepacking blog, bicycle touring apocalypse, cycling, taste, recipe, italy, italian, visit belgium, mons, visit mons, custom bike, custom tourer, touring bicycle, bikepacking bike
Brussels.

Brussels.

brussels, visit brussels, visit belgium, travel, travel blog, photography, bikepacking, bicycle touring apocalypse, bike accessories, racing bikes, cycling gear, touring bike, touring bikes, bike gear, adventure cycling, ride
tank, military, raleigh, raleigh bikes, custom tourer, custom touring bike, bicycle touring apocalypse, belgium, belgium WWII, surly, bicycle touring, bike tours, bike routes, bike route, bike touring, surly, pannier, ortlieb, steel frame, lejog, Carradice, Brooks, fat bike, Garmin, bicycle touring
raleigh, raleigh racer, raleigh touring bike, touring bike, steel frame, bob jackson frame builders, skoda, skoda fabia vrs, ortlieb, brooks saddle, klean kanteen, mavic, schwalbe, wildcat, wildcat gear, carradice, photography, canon, canon 6d