The town and countryside of Hannut recently hosted the 6th stage of the Beau Vélo de RAVeL, a popular cycling event organized by the RTBF. Despite initial concerns about the weather, participants had the chance to enjoy the sunny landscapes during the ride. The event not only showcased the beautiful landscapes and villages of Hannut but also promoted soft mobility. Participants from all over Wallonia came to take part in the event, and after the ride, everyone gathered in the festive village to enjoy music and drinks. Despite the large number of participants, the event was successfully managed with the help of cycling clubs, volunteers, and other supportive individuals.
This Saturday, the town and countryside of Hannut hosted the 6th stage of the Beau Vélo de RAVeL, organized by the RTBF, for the fourth time (the first was in 2006, then in 2012 and 2018). The participants had the chance to enjoy the sunny landscapes in the afternoon, during the ride launched at 1 p.m.
“I did the whole route in tandem with Olivier Colle (Editor’s note: host on VivaCité) live on the radio. We didn’t have any rain the whole trip. As soon as we started, the sun came out and the weather was really nice”explains Niels s’Heeren, the alderman of Tourism in Hannut, who nevertheless feared that some participants would become discouraged because of the weather.
“Honestly, when we started, I said to myself “Ouch, ouch, ouch”. This morning, in the village, it was not full. But when we arrived at the Grand-Hallet school, it was full of people, I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
Obviously, the weather conditions in the morning made the ground wet. Some were nearly discouraged but came anyway. “I almost didn’t come. Ten minutes or so, I didn’t come because we picked up a big shower a quarter of an hour before. When I left my house, it was no longer raining. Once we got here, it started to rain again… We waited at the medical center for the weather to calm down and then we left with the group”, explains Fernand, who took part in the course with his electric bike. The reason for his perseverance? The will to be present. “I really wanted to participate.”
The wind too
Some windy places made it more difficult for cyclists without electric assistance. “For those who were on ordinary bikes, it was a bit complicated to ride against the wind in certain places. I saw them move forward not without difficulty at certain points of the course”smiles Fernand.
All’s well that ends well in the end for the Hannut stage of RAVeL’s Beau Vélo. Once the race was over, all the participants, and not just them, met in the festive village to share a moment to music (with Jean-Luc Fonck in particular) and over a drink.
“We are taking actions to promote cycling”
The route was created with the desire to discover the beautiful landscapes and villages of Hannut but also to promote soft mobility. “It’s a unique route created by Éric Mottet, in collaboration with the Tourist Office”who oversaw the organization of the event, as explained by Martine Noël, head of the ASBL Gestion centre-ville. “The idea was to show as much landscape as possible: castles, quality landscaped areas… We also had to check that we weren’t going through roads that were too busy with cars. There were both constraints safety and at the same time the quality of the route.”
Two walks were offered to participants: one for families, a little shorter, and a second of 30 km. “It allows us to promote the city and highlight it. In Hannut, we carry out a lot of actions to highlight cycling”, rejoices Niels s’ Heeren. And for the participants too, the route made it possible to discover, or quite simply to enjoy, beautiful views of this part of Hesbaye.
Moreover, Belgians from far away came for the occasion. “There are really people who come from all over Wallonia, it’s great. After the ride, it’s the opportunity to have a drink with friends and family”adds the alderman with enthusiasm.
The participants being present in large numbers, it was necessary to supervise the ride to sometimes manage the traffic with the cars, among other situations. “The number of people suits us because we have to master all that. I would also like to thank all the people who helped us. The two cycling clubs, the volunteers… Really a big thank you to them.”
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