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  1. #1
    New England Patriots Rule dag1369's Avatar
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    Favorite countries for riding....

    Well I am looking at moving overseas within the next year; work related, and wanted to hear which countries are your favorites and why. Before I pick where to live I figured I would see which countries have the best cycling.

    My options are as follows; Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, England, & Turkey. These are the countries I can choose from to live in. I figure once there I can travel throughout Europe.

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    New England Patriots Rule dag1369's Avatar
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    I ride both Road and MTB. Thanks.

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    The Air Force was kind enough to send my bike and I to Europe a lot. Favorite place would be the southern coast of Spain (Rota/Cadiz). I also enjoyed riding in Sicily which is a lot like the Napa Valley. Northern Italy and the Dolomites were nice, only rode there once.
    The area around Frankfurt has a lot of bike trails. Take a GPS though or it could be along ride.

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    New England Patriots Rule dag1369's Avatar
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    Thanks turkey9186.

    Moron/Rota are both options.

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    Hey dag 1369,

    I've lived in Belgium for a few years but am native English. The difference between cycling cultures and facilities between the two is big.

    British people still have the mentality that cyclists are second class citizens. They will shout at you for minor violations (passing a red light at the straight part of a t-junction, for example). Motorists still don't treat cyclists very well.
    Cycle paths are erratic and badly designed. The situation is better in some places (e.g. London and York), but overall not great, I found. Belgians are more used to and more friendly to cyclists overall, and most places have decent bike routes.

    In terms of sport riding, I would say Belgium is way ahead. Britain has some good clubs (e.g. Manchester Wheelers), but in most Belgian towns or cities, you can find two or three decent clubs.
    Terrain in Belgium is also nicely varied. In the South (Wallonia) there are some bigger hills and longer climbs. In the
    North (Flanders) there's a mix of flat and short, steep climbs like the legendary Muur of Geraardsbergen. England is fairly similar terrain-wise, but because Belgium is small, you can easily reach different routes.

    Not an expert on mountain biking, but there is a network of off road trails round much of Flanders. I see a lot of mountain bikers out. Cyclo-cross is also huge here.

    Belgium has a lost more classic races and coverage than Britain (Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege etc). The TV coverage is amazing. Last year there was a whole series on Belgian cycling heroes. Can't even dream of that happening in England!

    Language barrier is not a problem. Most people speak very good English and are willing to use it. But if you want to integrate properly, learning French and Dutch helps.

    Another oddity: people here are often in the habit of changing bikes every couple of seasons, so yyou can get some real bargains secondhand.

    The main downside to cycling in Belgium is maybe that people take it a bit too seriously!

    I hope that helps.

    John

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    New England Patriots Rule dag1369's Avatar
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    Thank you JohnSqual. That is extremely helpful. Belgium is already at the top of my list and this just reinforces it.

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    Where in Italy? Where in Germany?

    (you can't really make a wrong decision here, by the way)

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    New England Patriots Rule dag1369's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedaleur View Post
    Where in Italy? Where in Germany?

    (you can't really make a wrong decision here, by the way)
    My options are:

    Germany = Ramstein or Spangdahlem

    Italy = Aviano or Ghedi

    Spain = Rota or Moron

    UK = Mildenhall or Croughton

    Belgium = Chievres

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    Quote Originally Posted by dag1369 View Post
    Germany = Ramstein or Spangdahlem
    I'd take Spangdahlem over Ramstein, but then I loved Trier and the Saar/Mosel. You'll end up drinking lots of Bitburg.

    Quote Originally Posted by dag1369 View Post
    Italy = Aviano or Ghedi
    Both are filled with win. Easy access to the mountains, easier terrain to the south.

    Quote Originally Posted by dag1369 View Post
    Spain = Rota or Moron
    No experience with either.

    Quote Originally Posted by dag1369 View Post
    UK = Mildenhall or Croughton
    Meh. England is a nice place to visit...

    Quote Originally Posted by dag1369 View Post
    Belgium = Chievres
    Well, if you like the Spring classics, this is the home for you. I'd take Italy first, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dag1369 View Post
    Thanks turkey9186.

    Moron/Rota are both options.
    It is possible to ride between the two. If you get to that area, the ride from Rota to Arcos de la Frontera is worth doing. Take a camera and get pics of the Moorish castle at Arcos.

    When I was at Aviano in 2000, the Giro had just climbed the hill north of the base. Go to Venice for the day, or ride a Giro stage? Yeah, that decision took all of thirty seconds. Heard the crew had fun in Venice...

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    I'm in the Stuttgart area and ride mtb mostly, roadie occasionally. Cycling here is pretty good. A lot of trails interconnecting towns and public transportation that is bike friendly - trains mostly. I have yet to see a bus that'll take your bike with a bike rack on the front bumper. I've only ridden my bike locally and have yet to ride in neighboring countries but Germany seems to be centrally located in Europe for trips to other countries.
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    Senior Member javal's Avatar
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    I 2nd Germany any day (especially the Bitburger part), but, if you´re thinking about a bit further north the Scandinavia region wont disappoint you. The north are quite different when it comes to scenery. Danmark´s a bit flat allthough the coastel lines are worth some pedalling. Sweden are the modern forest and lake land, Norway has got the mountains and fjords and Finland gives you a taste of the east. All countries bike friendly.
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    Rota is very nice, and the weather is good even in the winter. I was there for work a few years ago, but I was not able to bring my bike (it was a short trip). Lots of climbing, but worth it when you get to those whitewashed towns like Arcos and Ronda.

    Sicily has crazier drivers than Spain, but off the main roads would make for great riding. Being an island, though, you might get bored with the routes and isolation.

    Belgium would be my first choice, at least in the warmer months. You could easily ride in France, which is the best riding in the world IMHO. I have visited Italy, but found the drivers to be pretty insane. But maybe they are better with cyclists than with other cars.

    Best of luck and enjoy your life overseas!

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    Cycling in Chièvres and along the river Dendre / Dender

    Chièvres (Belgium) is located quite close to the river Dendre / Dender.



    The entire river is provided with bicycle friendly towpaths. Gent-Wetteren-Dendermonde-Aalst-Ninove-Geraardsbergen-Lessines-Ath-Mons-La Louvière-Charleroi-Namur-Huy-Liège-Aachen.



    Going north, you will discover Ath and Lessines, before crossing the border with Flanders with towns such as Geraardsbergen, Ninove, Aalst and Dendermonde. Going south, you can take advantage of the different sections of the RAVeL bicycle network. Don't forget to check 2 famous castles sites, only a few miles away from Chièvres: Beloeil and Attre.



    59 cycle tracks along towpaths of rivers and canals and on former railway tracks in Belgium, and along the border regions of France, the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg with Belgium>> http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/by/fietslogies

  15. #15
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    France is great riding--for the most part the cars are not so trouble--exceptions exist--Normandy is superb, so is the South West--around Paris can be tricky and enjoyable beyond Versailles. I compare this to Northern California where I ride the most!
    It helps to speak French if I may add!

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    Junior Member flanderscycling's Avatar
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    Belgium off course!
    The land of the classic rides, Eddy Merckx and many others.
    Most of the people will help you in English, we have enough language difficulties at home!!

    Most of all, we are used to cyclists on the road!

  17. #17
    New England Patriots Rule dag1369's Avatar
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    Well I should find out within the next 3 months where I am moving to. I listed my preferences in the following order:

    1. Spain
    2. Italy
    3. Belgium
    4. Netherlands
    5. England
    6. Germany

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    Junior Member flanderscycling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dag1369 View Post
    Well I should find out within the next 3 months where I am moving to. I listed my preferences in the following order:

    1. Spain
    2. Italy
    3. Belgium
    4. Netherlands
    5. England
    6. Germany

    Well, to live, I would choose Italy
    But, in the southern countries it's rather difficult to live if you don't speak another language than English.
    In Belgium and (I think) the Netherlands, it's accepted that you just talk English...
    I have a few US friends who live here (in Belgium) and most of them do.
    Succes!!

  19. #19
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    I have to give a shout for France and Belgium. Countries where the cycle is respected and cyclists even more. But I live in the south east of England and have to give it a chance. Mountain biking up on the South Downs or North Downs if you are going to be based in London. The downs are chalk ridges that run across the south of England and there are several Offroad rides that are to be recommended. Living on the South downs- there is a Ride of 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourmne taht involves 100 miles and 10,000ft of climbing. No hill is above 850ft but you start each one from sea level and grade can be as high as 20% in places. The ride can be done over 1-2 or 3 days. Relatively easy except for the one day ride but that is achievable for any "Super" human with a good 14hours to spare. I've attempted it 11 times now and only failed twice so it can't be that hard.

    Report on one of my rides here

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ns-Way-failure

    Downs view.JPGDownsview.JPG

    But road riding and those Downs will offer a few challenges for the fit riders- or you can ride the valleys for flatter rides if wanted.

    hills2.jpgflatland.jpg

    And Cyclists are getting a bit more respect over here so Don't rule out the UK- In particular down South.
    Last edited by stapfam; 01-29-11 at 03:26 AM.
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  20. #20
    Junior Member flanderscycling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    I have to give a shout for France and Belgium. Countries where the cycle is respected and cyclists even more. But I live in the south east of England and have to give it a chance. Mountain biking up on the South Downs or North Downs if you are going to be based in London. The downs are chalk ridges that run across the south of England and there are several Offroad rides that are to be recommended. Living on the South downs- there is a Ride of 100 miles from Winchester to Eastbourmne taht involves 100 miles and 10,000ft of climbing. No hill is above 850ft but you start each one from sea level and grade can be as high as 20% in places. The ride can be done over 1-2 or 3 days. Relatively easy except for the one day ride but that is achievable for any "Super" human with a good 14hours to spare. I've attempted it 11 times now and only failed twice so it can't be that hard.

    Report on one of my rides here

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ns-Way-failure

    Downs view.JPGDownsview.JPG

    But road riding and those Downs will offer a few challenges for the fit riders- or you can ride the valleys for flatter rides if wanted.

    hills2.jpgflatland.jpg

    And Cyclists are getting a bit more respect over here so Don't rule out the UK- In particular down South.
    Looks great!!!!!

  21. #21
    New England Patriots Rule dag1369's Avatar
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    Well I just found out I will be moving to Italy.

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    Explore Croatia

    Quote Originally Posted by dag1369 View Post
    Well I just found out I will be moving to Italy.
    Try Croatia! There are two strong reasons: one is riding on the islands and combining good life, wine, fish, swimming, etc. and second is cruising and exploring forests between Rijeka, Delnice, Ogulin, Plitvice, Gospić and Karlobag all at your own.

  23. #23
    New England Patriots Rule dag1369's Avatar
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    I will be moving to Korea for a year and then off to Italy afterwards. I am excited and am already researching for good places to ride in each location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnSqual View Post
    British people still have the mentality that cyclists are second class citizens. They will shout at you for minor violations (passing a red light at the straight part of a t-junction, for example). Motorists still don't treat cyclists very well.
    Yeah that's been my experience as well.

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    You are lucky you are eventually going to get to Italy. I have traveled a fair amount in the northern half of the country and it is hard to beat for riding. Of course, it is one thing to vacation and ride on a tour or solo as I have done compared to selecting a place to live (assuming you have that choice) and scoping that out based on everyday riding.

    If you like to climb and seek much variety the northeastern party of the country is tough to beat.

    Best of luck!

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