PBP 2007 Fini

Page: 2

At the airport, a Belgium coke machine celebrates Mannekin Pis, Adolphe Sax, Frites and Eddy Merckx!
Bruxelles is the capitol of the European Union, but the airport isn't as big as Charles de Gaulle International. We find a waiting lounge by the parking deck with only one sleeping guy on the benches and begin unboxing and reassembling the bikes—or Byron and Gilbert begin assembling in front of the "Manneken Pis" coke machine. Motor nerve and muscle loss in my hands has left me incapable of handling mechanical tasks, so I make a run to fetch coffee in an attempt to be useful. Some guy hits me up for a few euros bus fare; the loan is made—hey, I could easily end up in a similar situation—I'll probably never hear from him again, but it could be a good story if I do. We start to head out and a local guy on a mountain bike rides up and welcomes us to his country. The road out of the airport tries to funnel traffic onto the "A" road ("A" roads are like our Interstates; "N" roads are national highways; "D" roads are what you want for biking). Thanks to Google maps and bikely we find the access road that gets us to the N21 into Belgium. The N21 has special traffic lights for bicycles and we follow it into town as the weather turns from cool and windy to cool and wet we take brief refuge in a tall old tram garage. We'd thought we'd enjoy a De Koninck and chocolates while in town but we felt pressed by the schedule to keep moving.

Gilbert readying the Moulton at the Brussels Noord rail station
From Bruxelles, high speed trains run straight west to Paris, but getting a bike onto those trains is questionable at best. At Ivo Miesen's suggestion we took a regional train north to De Panne, to bike west across the border into France to stay at the hostel, or F-1 hôtel in Dunkerque. Settled in with our bikes and tickets on the northbound platform at Gare Noord, Byron treated us to drinks from the vending machine. "Sodas were €1.30 and beer was €1.20. Here's a beer." Not finding any special cars or racks for bikes aboard the train, we lashed them to the floor-to-ceiling poles with toe-straps.

Copyleft © 2007 Adrian Hands.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation

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