Things to do in 2022: No 10, The Six Days Ghent (Zesdaagse Vlaanderen Gent)

THE NUMBER ONE BIKE AND BEER FESTIVAL IN THE WORLD

SIX MINUTES OF GHENT ON YOUTUBE

It would be fair to say that COVID restrictions did dampen the atmosphere at the 2021 Six Days of Ghent because everyone had to wear a face mask and drink away from the arena (marquee with screens and the bars beneath the track), but it still probably has the best atmosphere at a track cycling event anywhere.

This is a traditional Belgium event, now in its 80th edition and it is as much about partying as it is about cycling, there is a genuine buzz, something like a good traditional football match (and not the modern day sanitised Premiership).

The riders may tend to be dominated by Belgians, but there are still some great star names to watch, and Mark Cavendish was part of the 2021 line up of 24 riders. The half time entertainment is by local stars, and the singalong was rawcus, all in Dutch/Flemish of course, but a genuine atmosphere unlike anything else in cycling.

A trip to Ghent is a great experience at any level, a cycling city with cycling cafes galore. There are all sorts of other quirky cycling things you may find, for example a shop called Books & Booze where every book has a drink paired to it. The cycling section had books in English that came with a bottle of Gin, the bottle was shaped like a Bidon and it had the famous Belgian Hellingen listed on the side (Hill Climbs). You will find many souvenier shops selling the collectible Flandriens figurines and there is a retro shop near the castle that even sells older cycling figurines. If you arrive by train, take a look at the cycle park, there are thousands of bikes, it’s amazing.

One disappointment was that the free cycling museum at Plum Bike Shop has now been moved out of Ghent, but the shop is still there and is well worth a visit. There are still a few classic bikes from the past on display in this gem of a shop.

The 2022 event will be in November.

MARK CAVENDISH