Throughout my time in Belgium I have come to make some great friends. All of whom share a keen passion for cycling, adventure, gravel and beer. We often get the chance to meet up at various events, so when last year Philippe told me about his gravel night ride and the plans for the future I couldn’t have been happier to hear more about it.
“Wildhood’s a new kid on the block and mainly focuses the on thriving Belgian gravel and adventure cycling scene. We are a Belgium based, but have plans to create cycling adventures further afield in the future. We also want to build a community for all gravel/adventure/whatever cyclists. Wildhood’s adventures are small scale, low-impact and unique”.
2020 is Wildhood’s first official year on the scene, this year will see them trying out some new events and concepts after the success of last years events. “Plans are to build a community out of Wildhood in the near future, with grassroots members rides and bike-packing trips created by ride-leaders out of the community”.
Currently they have two rides planned but are aiming to line up more as the year progresses and the story of Wildhood grows.
Dirty Blessings 1st March 2020 (Sint-Niklaas-Flanders)
Wildhood’s season opener is an adventurous ride through the Northern Flemish countryside. You’ll get some typical Flemish ingredients: bad country roads, gravel, muddy doubletracks, singletracks, small patches of forest, god-forgotten towns. It’s a 100k+ ride with start and finish at Manuvèl cycling bar in Sint-Niklaas. There will be pre-ride coffee and croissants and post-ride soup, bread and cake. It is a self-supported, grassroots ride (so no food-stops, we’ll provide you with some options
along the way) with a max of 75 attendees. You will receive, only at this event, a custom made sew on/glue on Wildhood patch to pimp your shirt, your bike-packing bags or your knickers.
So why the blessings in “Dirty Blessings”? Well at approx. k 42 you will arrive at the Cycling Church of Klein-Sinaai where traditionally on the 1st of march you can get yourself and your bike blessed by the priest who is an avid cyclist. It’s a novelty that potentially all bike adepts might like, even if you ‘re agnostic. It’s up to you to do that though. Mind you there are only two cycling churches in the world the famous one Madonna Del Ghisallo and this one in Klein-Sinaai, Flanders. A quick visit inside to get a glimpse of all the cycling jerseys is recommended.
Into The Trees – Ride/Campout April 24-26 (Hürtgenwald-Germany)
So what’s a gravel campout all about? We’ll supply a nice location for pitching your tent with toilets and showers and we’ll make sure there’s firewood and charcoal for grilling. You bring your tent, food (for grilling) and your bike. We’ll supply the drinks. You don’t have to worry about taking too much food either since we have a supermarket in the village that is open until 10pm.
We created some kick-ass gravel tracks for both days. We’ll have a challenging 170k/3000m track for the bravest and we ‘ll have a 100k/2000m regular track. For Sunday we’ll create a nice hangover ride for those who still want to give it a go in the morning. All of this is unsupported of course but we will give you coordinates for refueling, so don’t worry.
Our campout is in the center of the (in)famous Hürtgenwald, probably one of the best places for gravel riding in North-West Germany. Ernest Hemingway suffered severe post traumatic stress after spending two weeks in late 1944 in the Hürtgenwald. He wrote a book about titled “across the river and into the trees”, we got the name for our event from this tragic Hemingway novel.
You figured it out this is not your typical gravel ride. We’re keeping this cozy so we can focus on community and friendship, so places are limited to 60. For those interested feel to join us on Friday evening to make the most of this unique weekend. If you’re coming by bike we’ll set you up with gpx tracks from Eupen station and Düren station.
For more information head to Wildhood Adventure Cycling.