Flemish cycling surge continues

Membership of the Flemish Cycling Union (VWB) has continued its remarkable increase from 28,485 in 2007, 40,508 in 2008 followed by a 48 % increase to 60,132 in 2009. With a doubling of membership in just two years the VWB is the fastest growing sports federation in Belgium.

Werner Ingelgem of the VWB commented “Cycling in recent years become a lifestyle phenomenon. Everyone wants to stay slim and healthy and wants a young, sporty image and cycling is eminently suitable. For ladies and seniors the social relationships during and after the bike ride are important and younger men enjoy the flexibility.”

Perhaps taking his cue from Harriet Harperson he continued ” the working class has remained but we now have many VIPs, politicians and businessmen as members. Furthermore the word “Flandrien” is an honorary epithet that inspires many. Or as Gordon Brown would put it a sport for the many not the few!

As De Ronde fever mounts it is impossible not to be infected. This year the race will be particularly poignant as it will be held on the sixth anniversary of the death of “The last of the Flandriens” “Iron” Brik Schotte. With such a history it is perhaps not surprising that Flandriens are getting on their bikes in record numbers.

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