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From 4.29 to Adventure Lite: Linda and Dirk test their upgraded Santos bikes

In 2019, Belgian couple Linda and Dirk bought Santos 4.29 mountain bikes and embarked on their first bikepacking trip, the "Rota Vicentina," from Lisbon to Sagres. Getting a taste for offroad cycling, they began using their bikes more frequently for short tours, but longer trips presented a luggage distribution challenge due to the suspension fork. Read on to learn how they tackled this and enjoy their beautiful photography at the same time. 

Linda & Dirk
Bicycle Santos Adventure Lite

Last year, Santos renamed their 4.29 mountain bike to Adventure Lite, reflecting its evolution into a true adventure bike. We decided to update our bikes accordingly, adding drybag cages, a new rack, bikepacking handlebars, and fixed lights to increase visibility in bad weather and tunnels.

A few years ago, we had subscribed to the mailing list and when we received their notification of a new route in Belgium, the decision was quickly made. We would attempt the "Condruzienne."

While the original route's technical difficulty is normally within our reach, our timing for the trip was completely wrong as most of the tracks were so wet and not really cyclable due to the heavy rainfall of the last couple of weeks and months. With our next "bigger" trip coming up in just a few weeks and only having 5 days time in between other engagements, we decided to ignore the bad weather forecasts. And that's what happened (the blue line), the original 320 km was reduced to 200 km. You can download the original track from the website and also download the route we did from Wikiloc, following this link.


Namur - Gesves

The Condruzienne is a loop of 320 km and starts in Namur. The easiest way to get to Namur is by train. There are 2 direct trains per hour from Brussels, and you have to pay 4 euros extra to take your bike. As we arrived the evening before, we first headed up to the "Citadel" for a beautiful view of Namur.

The first part of the trip goes along the river Meuse and then bends towards the east, quickly bringing you into the forest.

As per the website, about 2/3 of the trip is on unpaved tracks and while none of those tracks should be too difficult to ride, it became rather quickly obvious to us that we were cycling this in sub-optimal conditions.

More than half of the unpaved tracks were like mudpools, and we probably should have done this with other types of tires.


While the cycling was sometimes very challenging, the sights were just beautiful. We also passed the Condroz-Famenne Art Trail, a 155 km long distance hiking trail within the Condroz Famenne region. All artworks are displayed in a natural environment and are made from natural materials. As most of these artworks only survive the elements for a few years, there are always new and different pieces which pop up.

Instead of the planned 60 km on the first day, we only managed to do 35. A flat tire with 3 punctures inspired us a little bit later to look for a sleeping place.


As it started raining again after the tire was repaired and the predictions for the next day were a full day of rain, we decided not to go camping and searched for a nice B&B in the neighbourhood. Not too far away in Gesves, the Chante-Pierre B&B still had a room available.

To forget today’s hard labour, we treated ourselves with a nice dinner at La Petite Gesves, which was just a 5-minute walk from our B&B. A fancy 3-course dinner with amuses for a very reasonable price.



Gesves - Celles

After contemplating staying here for another day, we decided to continue with the trip in the rain. The first kilometer was downhill but so slippery that we left the Condruzienne and tried to stay as close as possible to the track but on paved or more hardened gravel roads. Linda and Dirk happy again.


While this area has a lot to offer in terms of nature and history, it's sparsely populated and that also means that you do not have many places on the way where you can stock up on food or stop for a drink. We had our lunch, sheltering from the rain, in a man-made cave in Crupet honouring Saint Anthony of Padua.

We stopped for a while in Spontin for a coffee and cake, mainly to take a break from the pouring rain.


We cycled up to Celles where we booked a room and dinner in La Clochette. When we arrived, we recognised the place from a previous trip, a long time ago. We even had the same room.



Celles - Herock

After the traditional morning photo, we headed towards Anseremme to get back on the Condruzienne, following the river Lesse upriver.

Once you're up the bridge, it's easy. Getting there is sometimes another ballgame.


Unloading the bikes and pushing them up bike by bike with the 2 of us. And yes, it makes you really hungry before it's lunchtime.

Back on the track, we realised that we should again carefully review our packing list as every kilo counts when you have to start pushing your bike uphill or when you have to lift your bike over fallen trees. Of course, some helping hands are always welcome.


The plan was to camp at Camping de la Lesse in Houyet. While the opening was published for the 1st of April on several camping websites, reality was a little different. We suppose the campsite was wiped away with the floods a few years ago and except for some abandoned buildings, there was absolutely nothing. After talking to some locals, we were able to find a place to sleep some 5 km further down the road in Herock. Camping will be for tomorrow.



Herock - Hastiere

Day 4, as of today, there are no real alternative cycle tracks anymore which run close to the Condruzienne. After about 1 km, we realised that even on flat grounds, our tires do not have enough grip in the wet tracks and we turned back our bikes.

With a big circle, we will also be able to reach again the valley of the Meuse, allowing us to get back to Namur via the Meuse cycle way.

We are using the app Pocket Earth on our iPhone and when using the "Cycling" map, all National, Regional and Local cycle paths are highlighted in different colours. (This is similar to other well-known apps like Komoot and RouteYou). Most of the time, these cycle paths will be on lower traffic roads or just shared with hikers.

In the late afternoon, we were crossing the border into France for a few km (and a hot chocolate in Givet).

image00015 image00055

As this was the last night of the trip, it was also the last opportunity for using our camping gear.

The first camping in Hastiere was again a deserted place but a little further, we found a nice spot next to the river at Camping Castel Mosan.

Camping Castel Mosan is squeezed between the tranquil river and a busy road during the daytime. It's recently renovated, and the toilet facilities are outstanding. For the hungry, french fries are awaiting you just 3 km down the river.



Hastiere - Namur

First a cup of coffee, next getting everything packed and on the road in search of a bakery for our breakfast.

Following the river Meuse, we're again amazed by the amount of natural beauty in this region. Looking at the majestic buildings along the way, it's obvious that this used to be a very exclusive area.

We stopped for lunch in Dinant, the hometown of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone.

One of the best-known Belgian beers worldwide, Leffe, is named after the Abbey of Leffe in Dinant. The brewing of the beer by the monks in Leffe originally started in 1240. The abbey was many times destroyed and rebuilt over the years, and the brewing of the Leffe beer started again in 1952. Today, Leffe beer is brewed by AB-InBev in Leuven.


During this trip, we experienced all possible weather conditions, so typical for the month of April in Belgium. We had glorious sunshine, pouring rain, gusting wind, and combinations of all three plus hail.

While we have not been able to cycle the entire Condruzienne, we're still happy that the main purpose of testing out our reconfigured bikes with full load has been successful. We will definitely give this route another try in the coming years.

We're ready for our next trip.


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