We are getting SO excited! Today we traveled by train from Bruges to Brussels and then met our group at the Brussels airport. Tomorrow Le Tour begins!
Our group will be led by four guides/bike experts who represent Custom Getaways. Erik, Sandra, Nico, and Tomas will be our eyes and ears as we go behind the scenes of the Tour de France. They picked us up in Brussels and drove us to Antwerp where we will stay at the Leopold Hotel for two nights. The hotel is very nice, right across from a major city park, and in the middle of this diverse European center.
When we arrived in our rooms, there was a Tour de France backpack for each of us that contained some very cool stuff. We each got a white Tour de France/Custom Getaways t-shirt, a yellow TdF shirt, a bike jersey and matching bike shorts, a water bottle, and the official Tour de France programme. It was like Christmas. We each tried on our “kit” which contains a jersey and matching shorts and we’ll show you pictures in a few days. It’s quite a picture!
Once we got settled in Antwerp we were assigned our bikes and given help in setting them up. Steve got a fast looking Kuota Kebel in blue and white. He says it will probably lead him to buying a new (more expensive) bike when we get home. Marnie got a brand new bike which the staff assembled as we watched. It’s a Ridley (a Belgium bike, of course) with a white seat and white rimmed tires. It probably won’t be white when we are finished! We didn’t have time to go out for a ride today, but tomorrow we’ll get plenty of miles under our tires. Both of us have signed up for the “long” ride which will be about 75 km, which is about 46 miles.
Up in Rotterdam, about an hour’s drive away, they are getting set up for the Tour de France prologue. Tomorrow we will cycle north towards the race and then watch the big event up close and personal.
After our bike fittings we went back to the hotel to watch the Netherlands kick the butt of Brazil in the World Cup. It was a surprise win for many, but Steve was wearing his bright orange “Holland” jersey, so he knew they would win.He is now officially part of the “orange army” as they are being called in the media. Considering where we are, it was fun to be in the middle of it all.
Our group is about 16 people from across the globe. We have 4 Australians, 3 Greeks, and Americans from across the USA. As we get to know everyone, we’ll fill you in. Needless to say, it’s been fun so far.
We have to be up and ready to ride early tomorrow morning, so we’ll sign off now. (And, no, Steve has not had enough beer!)