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Cyclehoop Cycle to Ghent for Velo-City 2024

This year fifteen Cyclehoop staff members cycled all the way from our headquarters in London to the Velo-City conference in Ghent, Belgium. We wanted to demonstrate that you can reach any destination by cycling and have a great time on the way.

Velo-City is an international conference organised by the European Cyclist’ Federation. Delegates from around the world gather to share knowledge and initiatives, with the goal of growing cycling and cycle infrastructure.

As long-time attendees, nine Cyclehoop staff became Velo-Citizens for the week, hosting a panel discussion and connecting with our international partners.

Why cycle to Ghent?

As cycle parking providers, we know the freedom and utility that cycling offers. By cycling to Ghent, we hoped to showcase these aspects, give our cycling colleagues a boost, and help new-comers discover what it’s all about. If you can cycle to Ghent, you can cycle anywhere!

Preparation is key

We began to plan the route and consider options for stopping points and accommodation. With such a large group, it was clear that we would need a vehicle to support the trip. We enlisted The Velo Adventure company to advise on a safe route and assist with a van.

For experienced riders and new cyclists alike, 300km is no easy feat. The team started training for long days in the saddle.

After weeks of training rides, bookings and bike checks, we were finally ready to roll.

a map of the route from the cyclehoop office to ghent in belgium

Day One

As Saturday June 15th rolled around, the weather forecast was looking grim; high winds and heavy rain. Not ideal conditions for a 130km ride. In spite of the weather, the team was in high spirits, and we set off for Dover at 9am. With 1863 metres of ascent and gradients up to 20%, day one was by far the most challenging. We battled a strong crosswind, brutal climbs, heavy rain and a spate of punctures that hampered progress considerably. The rain eventually eased, and the team were rewarded with beautiful views, fun descents and a tasty portion of fish and chips on the promenade in Dover.

Day Two

Starting with an 8am ferry departure, the team were up bright and early to clear customs, load our bikes and grab some breakfast (and a few extra moments of sleep) on the crossing to Dunkirk. Upon arrival, we were greeted with some heavy downpours However, the fast, quiet roads of northern France, not to mention the tailwind, lightened the mood and progress was swift. The clouds broke in the afternoon, and we sped into Belgium, stopping for baguettes and coffee on the way. The team re-grouped just outside of Bruges, and we headed north along the canal to the city centre, where the cobblestones gave us a stark reminder of how long we’d spent in the saddle over the last two days. Then it was time to check-in at the hotel, and head out for some pasta to refuel.

Day three

After two 100km+ rides, the 48km journey from Bruges to Ghent was a breath of fresh air. After a well-earned lie-in and a relaxed breakfast, we cruised southeast along the Gent-Oostende canal, following an almost entirely traffic-free route. The sun was shining, and before we knew it, we’d arrived in Ghent. We grabbed a coffee, loaded our bikes into the van and freshened up in the hotel before heading out for a final team dinner.

the cyclehoop team in ghent


Cycling in Europe was an eye-opening experience; hundreds of kilometres of quiet roads and segregated cycle lanes felt like a far cry from the busy roads of the UK. We also took notice of the ample cycle parking, with tens of thousands of spaces in the Gent-Sint-Pieters-station area, including a covered, access-controlled compound with 625 spaces. All for a city of just 270,000 people.

Reflecting on the trip, we felt a real sense of achievement. Not only did all fifteen of us complete the trip, but many of us completed a distance we’d never thought possible by bike. We definitely made a few cycling converts!