Giving It A Go In Belgium; In part four of our (irregular) series on racing as an amateur in Belgium, VeloVeritas own web manager and editor, Martin, talks about when he had some time in the mid-80’s between completing a college course and starting a new job, and decided to head off to Flanders for the season…
I had nothing to do between April and October, so I borrowed £250 from my brother, gathered my bike, kit, and a spare pair of wheels together, and jumped on a train to London. Another train to Dover, the overnight ferry to Ostende, a third train to Ghent, and a bus trip to Zomergem, saw me traipsing around in the sunshine after a full 24 hours travelling, dog-tired, with no idea where I was going. I did have a slip of paper in my pocket though, that my friend Fraser Nicholson had given me — on it was the address of a Welsh lady called Mrs Deene.
Mrs Deene had married a Flandrian chap called George during the war, and had lived in Belgian ever since. For many years, she had run a “cyclists’ lodge”, initially in Ghent then later in Zomergem, which guys could use as a base whilst racing over there.
The Deene’s house was a great arrangement – for a very modest sum, you got a bed, breakfast and evening meal (if you wanted it), and even a l