A corner of London that for centuries has been the preserve of barristers will be transformed into a little piece of Belgium and a haven for cyclists later this month through the presence of Belgium House and the Belgian Cycling Paradise at Middle Temple for the duration of the Olympic Games. The venue opens on 27 July, the day of the London 2012 opening ceremony, and will be marked by the arrival of a group of cyclists who will have ridden the 317km from Brussels, led by the great Eddy Merckx.
From then until its final day of operation of 12 August, Belgium House will be open from 11am to 2am daily to Londoners and visitors alike to enjoy Belgian hospitality – including beer sold “perhaps at the most attractive prices in the City” – as well as enjoying all the action from the Games on a giant screen. Admission costs £5.
There will also be full information on the Belgian team for the Olympics, a “From London to London” Wall of Fame of medals won by the country’s athletes from 1948 to the present day, plus a display of sporting cartoons from 46 countries and Olympic posters.
Fountain Court at Middle Temple will host the Belgian Cycling Paradise, which is free to enter, is aimed at providing a meeting point for cyclists and has an interactive exhibition that among other things gives you the opportunity to undertalke a virtual bike ride through Belgium, with featured locations including ‘Flanders Fields’ in Ypres, Brussels’ Grand Place, and the countryside around Waterloo. Each day there will be a chance to win a trip for four to Belgium.
Belgium House and the Belgian Cycling Paradise are an initiative of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC) and you can find out more information on the website roadtolondon.be as well as a Facebook page and Twitter feed.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.