Low hanging fruit in Limburg >> by gritgravel.cc
The Haspengouw blossoms are an international phenomenon. Every year in April and May, the fruit orchards on the sloping fields turn into seas of blossom. If you also ride on gravel, the experience is complete. Our friends at gritgravel.cc looked for the gravel sections and connected them via the most beautiful asphalt roads. Without blossoms simply beautiful, but a paradise with blossoms.Show larger map
The first 30 km from Café Coureur in Borgloon are a small paradise. Almost non-stop phenomenal gravel grinding through the orchards, racing through sunken roads and high fields, but always with the apple, pear and cherry trees next to you or all the way around. Here and there even real white tunnels.
You will fly out of this first part of the route on pure adrenaline. Cycling gods have set up a resting point here, immediately one of the most special viewpoints of the route: the floating chapel of Helshoven with orchards to the horizon. You have to see it to believe it. Anyway, it is wonderful to relax here. A few kilometers further you can also do that on a terrace at cycling bar Heirbaan 66.
The rural gems now follow each other in quick succession. Old farms with grazing horses and the church tower behind them, winding lanes and beautiful gravel climbs. You dive at high speed from the asphalt onto a gravel section, you skim down right past an orchard, you climb to the top of the plateau via deep sunken roads, and dive back down into the landscape. After a few more protected landscape views, a gravel road starts between the hedges, and then suddenly: the great emptiness of Walloon Brabant.
The final exit from Wallonia leads you over a couple of cobbled sections that we borrowed from the Ronde van Limburg. The first is 'Op De Kriezel', a creep of 1.5 km with at first sight flat cobblestones. But if you rush down it, you'll quickly notice why it's best to keep the focus here.
Op de Kriezel
From the village of Hopmaal you take 'Op de Kriezel'. This 1400m long cobblestone road is one of Limburg's toughest segments. In the past, the strip was even twice as long. The cobbles are relatively small, but the potholes in the road surface make it difficult. The strip is slightly uphill and in the open field you have no shelter for the wind. During passages of cycling races, the peloton is often split into small groups. This section is part of the Tour of Limburg.
We continue to shudder, because now you ride into the village of Heks (witch). This village and the surrounding area have really stepped out of a fairytale, so beautiful and picturesque: a winding gravel road through a valley and a second cobblestone strip from the Ronde van Limburg through apple orchards and farms.
Treeyards, neatly landscaped with hawthorn gardens, an impressive farmstead and extensive meadows. The Manshoven cobble section is located in one of the most beautiful places of Haspengouw. The first 500m are as straight as an arrow and relatively fast, But about halfway you turn right and you get a solid climb of 300m. Then you descend to the village of Heks (witch in English).
You now enter the grand finale of this route. One strip of gravel after another, the kind you can fly over. Don't be mistaken by the arrows to Borgloon yet, because we will continue to meander here for a while. A special feature is a 2 km long climb along an orchard on a ridge, to take the lightning-fast descent on the other side of the orchard. And after a few more short climbs, you fly satisfied into Café Coureur, where the race is king and the cyclist is emperor. And you will undoubtedly experience that yourself.
Feel like taking on some more gravel routes in Flanders? Get inspired by the routes on gritgravel.cc.