Welcome to the Flandria Café...
Pity we don’t have wielercafes here in the States. Belgium has about 20 times as many as they have beer brands - and there's literally hundreds of those. The 'Wielercafe' is the crucible of Flemish cycling culture. They even print a guide book for them. They're a cross between a coffee house and an Irish pub. Beer's the beverage of choice, and cycling the main subject of conversation. In bike-crazy Flanders, it's like what Tip O'Neill said about politics: 'All wielersport is local'. The wielercafe organizes the local kermesse races. Serves as the 'supporterslokaal' where elders pass the hat to raise funds for the local hotshot hopeful.
Inside them, wielervolk congregate. Ruddy faced cycletourists. Half-in-the-bag bike fans. Aspiring local racing hopefuls. Old-age pensioners reading the newspapers and watching Sporza. Work crews extending their mid-morning breaks. Even the occassional 'topsporter' pro. They meet, shake hands, talk, relax, argue and laugh.
A typical Belgian Sunday? Meet your cycling club at 8am for 100k criss-crossing wind-swept flat roads punctuated by the occasional cobbled 'berg' just to maintain the pecking order...then one or more stops in a cozy cafe for a drink and a laugh.
This blog will try to bring some of the ambiance of the wielercafe to virtual space with no-holes-barred commentary on current cycling events, as well as interesting historical articles and old-dog war stories. And like any good pub they'll be plenty of satire and some good natured roasting of friends who share my passion for the world's greatest sport.And unlike a Flemish cafe, Fast Eddy's Flandria Cafe will be open 24-7.
So make yourself comfortable, pour a glass of your favorite Belgian brew, and enjoy!