Brussels to Leuven: 40km
Elizabeth did a great job navigating out of Brussels, which has a reputation for being impossible to find a way out of. We thought it was all downhill (and it was, literally) as we coasted past the city limits. We were soon confounded by attempts to find the Brussels-Leuven "high speed bicycle lane." After getting bad directions from a fellow cyclist and trying seemingly every possible path, I was spent. After a frustrating hour, we saw that through massive construction project in the area, a few cyclists were trickling by. We followed an arterial and met up with the elusive high speed bike lane. It was pretty nice, but we were more focused on getting to Leuven before sundown.
Our wonderul hosts, Bart and Griet (plus baby Nell) left a key with the neighbor so we were able to shower, wolf down some chips and beers and explore the ancient city. We finally met up with them later that evening and shared stories and learned some valuable tips, leading to our newest feature:
Tip o' the day: The staple of cycle touring, Ortleib panniers, have a strap that you keep having to clip and unclip when you open and close the bag. Griet showed us how to fasten the clips to themselves, thereby cutting out a step and giving the bags this cool grocery handle look.