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Nodal-point networks

There is another way to enjoy cycling trips in Belgium, apart from the RAVeL or a cycling route. Our Flemish friends are perfectly familiar with this option, because they devised the system: the nodal-points networks (knooppunten).

A nodal-points network consists of a dense mesh of paths that intersect at nodal points (numbered crossroads). On the ground, at each crossroads a marker indicates the number of the crossroads and the possible directions to the next numbers. Each link in the network is on average 5 to 8 km in length, so that loops can be created of 15, 20, 25, 30 ... km.
Users define their own routes depending on how far they wish to go, in a loop or in a straight line, noting the series of numbers they want to follow.

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To put it simply, this is the procedure:
1.    You take the map of the nodal-point network of the region you wish to visit or you go on the ad hoc website.
2.    You trace your future route, whether a loop or a straight line, and you note the nodal points (numbers) that you have to follow. On some websites you can even download your route as a GPX file.
3.    You go to your starting point and check the marker that indicates the direction of the next nodal point on your list. Then you simply follow the numbers on your list.
The advantage of this system is that you can cycle around freely, following a predefined route which you can, nevertheless, alter as you wish along the way.
 
Several nodal-points networks are now operational in Wallonia:

 
Other useful websites:

  • Nodal-points network planners in Wallonia, Flanders, the Netherlands and Germany: www.fietsnet.be or www.points-noeuds.be.
  • The LF Routes (long-distance cycling routes) in Flanders.
  • Paper maps are also available. For these, please see our ‘Guides and maps’ section.

 
One final point:

While the nodal-points networks use the RAVeL, greenways or usually small country roads, you should be sure to take care on roads open to motor traffic.

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