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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.