Discovering Brussels by bike can be done in several ways. For those already commuting on two wheels, or using it regularly for getting around town, it may be a good idea to simply take a little D-tour and to drive 15-30 additional minutes on unknown roads. Spice up your commute and peddle a few additional streets! Of course you can also go to an unknown neighbourhood on a Saturday morning and discover yourself what it has to offer. At Expat Club we know why Brussels is such a fantastic city (it has something to do with surprisingly little corners…). But wouldn’t it be much easier to follow some predefined routes? Other people already did the work for you, so there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Here are a few great ideas to spend a free day. Although I have mostly biked myself in the Southern parts of town (between Forest to Auderghem), I’ve discovered most other parts by foot (I’ve done a lot of walking) or by car.
Jacques Brel (20km)
Cycling with your iPod on may not be so safe, but to fully experience this tour, you probably want to get into the mood by listening to the chansons of Belgium’s most famous singer Jacques Brel. It will take you along his place of birth and several other houses and locations that are unmistakably linked to his life. In particular you will cycle through Schaerbeek, Laeken and downtown Brussels.
Art Deco (44km)
Starting at the Koekelberg Basilica, this tour takes you through many different Brussels’ neighbourhoods and along about 30 typical examples of Art Deco architecture.
Typical Brussels Cafés (24km)
Starting and finishing right next to Gare du Midi, this tour leads you along various typical Brussels cafés in downtown, Schaerbeek, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean and Anderlecht. You will also drive by some other Brussels highlights, such as the Royal Palace, the Ambiorix Square and the Koekelberg Basilica.
Park route (23km)
Also starting at the Koekelberg Basilica, this tour stays in the very Western parts of Brussels and takes you through 14 (probably unknown) parks in just 23 kilometers. This clearly indicates in what a green city we actually live!
Solvay Estate (9km)
This tour is rather short, but of course the point is to first get to La Hulpe that lies Southwest of Brussels. This 227 hectares estate is often called the park of 1000 rhododendrons. During your ride you will see beautiful trees, a nice chateau and some lovely ponds. Definitely worth the trip over there!
Flyers route (22km)
Officially this tour starts at the Zaventem Church Square, but if you live in Brussels itself, you may want to start in Woluwe-Saint-Etienne on the Leuvensesteenweg, close the E40 and A0 intersection. It will lead you along several churches, a museum, the hippodrome and the national airport.
Jean-Michel Martin Route (18km)
Beginning not far from the flyers route, this route was designed by local BMW car deal Jean-Michal Martin. It actually starts and finishes right in front of the car shop in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and takes you all the way to Tervuren and around the village’s beautiful park with its stately ponds.
East of Brussels (10km)
This tour starts at Tours & Taxis and loops around the Boulevard Leopold II and the Koekelberg Basilica, taking you to some unusual places, such as a little park dedicated to the Lourdes Cave, the house where René Magritte used to live, and a small city castle.
Brussels in 3D (26km)
Be aware before you climb on your bike, because this tour doesn’t lead you back to where you’ve started. An even more important note is that 3D actually means something, namely that it has relatively many ups and downs. It begins at Midi station, goes through downtown before hitting Ixelles and going back up North again towards Cinquaintennaire and Ambiorix. After a second visit to downtown it passes by Tours & Taxis and the Koekelberg Basilica before taking you through Jette and dropping you near the Atomium.
The Green Walk
The “Green Walk” is a splendid walking ánd cycling tour of over 60 kilometers on the outskirts but still within the Brussels capital district. It enables people to get acquainted with lots of beautiful parks and protected nature areas. With several stops, this will be a daytrip, but an enjoyable one for sure.