Jane Goodyear checks out different bike tours around Brussels and finds that they are no longer just for tourists.
The idea of a bike tour is not new to Brussels but lately I’ve spotted a growing number of unique and self-guided tours around town. Not just for tourists, these offer a good way to explore the city and get some exercise at the same time. Biking in Brussels can be a bit risky so if you’re not too experienced it might be worth a ride along with a guide. Either if you’re brave enough to go it alone or want to go with a group, here are some interesting tours and self-guided routes of Brussels. There’s even a fashion route so what better way to get a head start on the sales this weekend then by bike?
Bicycle rental in Brussels
Villo!, the company that provides rental bike stations around Brussels, has come up with some self-guided tours based on different themes. The Belgitude Route is all about chocolate, beer and cartoons, starting from Chaussée de Wavre, continuing through the Sablon and ending at the Tintin shop on Rue de la Colline.
Their Fashion Route takes you from high end boutiques on Avenue Louise to vintage shops in the Marolles and Saite-Catherine areas. Villo! also has a Green Route which goes through many of the best parks and green spaces in Brussels including the Parc de Bruxelles, Square Marie-Louise and Cinquantenaire.
Guided bicycle tours of Brussels
A newly launched tour company called Once Upon a Time offers guided tours of Brussels on electric bikes. Led by local Virginie, the tours visit four different communes (Brussels center, Etterbeek, Ixelles, Schaerbeek) and try to give a unique perspective on the city while providing a bit of history. The tours are available in English or French every day (both morning and afternoon) and cost EUR 45 per person. Virginie is currently running a special deal – book before 30 June for a reduced rate of EUR 39 (or EUR 35 if you have 9 friends to join you).
I love a good thrift store so I was curious to see that Petit Reins, the chain of charity shops in Brussels, has organized a shopping tour around town. Ok, this isn’t your traditional kind of shopping, but the Shop’n Bike tour could prove interesting as it takes you to four different Petit Riens shops with a leisurely ride through green spaces along the way. The tour starts at the store’s “Bike Paradise” on Rue American at 1pm and ends back in the same place around 5pm with a drink, with a total of 2 hours of riding and 2 hours of shopping. The tour is free and participants receive a 20% discount in the shops. The next outings are on 14 July, 18 August and 15 September.
And if you’re looking to create your own route, the City of Brussels has created a useful map with all of the bike rental and service locations around town.
Photo credits: Villo!, Once Upon a Time and Petit Reins.