Cyclists to ride through forest canopy on new Limburg path


A very special cycle path is under construction that will let cyclists ride 10 metres high among the trees

Cycle paradise

The town of Hechtel-Eksel in northern Limburg province is planning a circular cycle path in a forest that will take cyclists upward to the tops of the trees. It’s a similar idea to canopy walkways, which invite pedestrians to take to bridges that wind along treetops. Such attractions are particularly popular in African forests.

The canopy cycle path, according to Flanders News, the cycle path will climb 10 metres and be 700 metres long. Preparations will start immediately, but details on when the path will be ready have not been released.

The government of Flanders is providing funding for the project as part of its ongoing bid to promote cycling among both residents and tourists. Among avid cyclists, Flanders is a hot-spot for cycling tourism, with its champion standing on the pro cycling circuit, its infamously gruelling Tour of Flanders road race and its winding, sometimes cobblestoned, rural road network.

The region has been working to further spread its reputation as a destinations for recreational cyclists, with Limburg long billing itself as a “cycle paradise”. The Fietsen door de Bomen (Cycling Through the Trees) project joins Fietsen door het Water, a sunken cycle and pedestrian bridge in nearby Genk that puts users’ eyes at water level.

The Vlaanderen Fietsland website offers advice for cycle holidays and lets cyclists create their own routes of any length anywhere in the region.

Photo: Rendering of the future treetop cycle path in Hechtel-Eksel
©Courtesy Bosland

Flemish cycling

Flemish cyclists have played a dominant role in the history of European bicycle racing. With the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), the region also has a classic cycle race.
Flandriens - The legendary pioneers of the Flemish cycling tradition are called “Flandriens”. They include Roger De Vlaeminck, Eddy Planckaert, Johan Museeuw and Walter Godefroot.
Eddy Merckx - Having won 525 races in his career, Brusselaar Eddy Merckx, nicknamed “the Cannibal”, is considered one of the greatest cyclists of all time.
Trophy - The annual Flandrien Trophy honours the best Belgian cyclist of the past season. Professional cyclists choose and vote for the nominees.

number of times Merckx won the Tour de France

1 913

first Tour of Flanders

1 969

Merckx becomes first Belgian to win the Tour de France in 30 years