Gallery: Fond memories from the Spring Classics Member Summit

26 members, 7 days, and more great memories than we can count.

by Jared McClintock 20.04.2024 Photography by
Escape Collective members and staff
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The Member Summit was such a wonderful experience, filled with memories that will stay with us for a long time. As I reflect on our amazing time in Belgium, I wanted to capture the magic by creating this gallery from the photos shared by Escape members and staff throughout the week. It’s a story that I’m grateful to be a part of, and I eagerly anticipating the possibility of sharing more galleries from Member Summits in the future.

Day 1 – Welcome to Belgium

Picture this: 26 Escapees, strangers (nearly) all, suit up for the Summit’s inaugural ride through the scenic outskirts of Kortrijk. There’s a few g’days and nice-to-meet-yas, discussion of jet lag and who had it worse (the Aussies, hands down) and enough excited energy to keep everyone warm in spite of the blustery wind.

One thing’s certain though: we’ve all made it to Belgium, our bikes intact, and a week of new adventures lay ahead.

Day 1 by the numbers:

14 Americans, six Aussies, two Canadians, two Brits, one Irishman and a dual Swiss-German, 27 kilometres of Belgian roads, a totally reasonable amount of alcoholic bevvies and dozens of jetlagged Escapees in bed by 8pm.

A blue road bike frame in a partially disassembled state. It is being unpacked from a bike bag
About half of the Summit members showed up with gravel bikes. Roubaix’s cobbles would prove this to be a wise choice. Photo: Al Johnson
Two dozen road cyclists congregating on a sidewalk. They are flanked on both sides by stationary cars and apartment buildings
Andy van Bergen holds court as the 30-odd Summit members and ride leaders loiter in front of the Parkhotel Kortrijk lobby. Photo: Geoff Liu
Road cyclists ride two abreast down a narrow farm road. A centuries old windmill features prominently in a small village off in the distance
One of Belgium’s countless ploegstraat (farm roads) and windmills. Photo: Felix Brill

Day 2 – Pavé appetisers

Ah, spring in Northern Europe. The birds were chirping, the headwinds were howling and the cobbles were a-callin’. We’d set out from Kortrijk for the Roubaix velodrome with none other than three-time Paris-Roubaix winner Johan Museeuw at the helm.

Later, at the hotel, having returned as more badass versions of our former selves, we were treated to a live recording of Placeholders.

Day 2 by the numbers:

Four cobbled secteurs, one exploded rear derailleur, countless laps of the Roubaix velodrome, a broken collarbone (hope you’re doing better John!), a twice-victorious Pete Bryan in the Weekly Pain, several loads of laundry and at least a few hundred centilitres of Tripel LeFort.

Day 3 – Tailwinds to Terneuzen + Brugge

There’s no sugar-coating it — the ride from Kortrijk to Terneuzen for the start of Scheldeprijs was cold, soggy, and gritty. But at least there was a tailwind, I guess. Kudos to Andy van Bergen for playing the “what’s your go-to hot meal after a wet ride” game — the prompt provided a brief mental respite for everyone playing along. (Tomato soup and grilled cheese was a popular choice, if you’re wondering.)

Once we arrived at the Scheldeprijs start village, several members broke out their fancy cameras, so the photo quality takes a real turn for the better.

Day 3 by the numbers:

Two countries, three minutes before our shoes were saturated, 41°C post-ride showers, 12th and 14th century churches with genuine Holy Relics, and €4.80 for a load of laundry at the wassalon.

Day 4 – Flandrian Bergs + Dane Cash’s Walking Tour of Kortrijk

We’d seen how bad the cobbled secteurs of Roubaix can be. Would the Flandrian cobbles be any worse? The answer: no, but also yes.

Where they lacked in harsh edges and unforgiving voids, they more than made up for it with their unrelenting gradients.

Day 4 by the numbers:

A potato or two, several road-side cleat adjustments (Ronan), one dive-bombed corner (also Ronan, so “he could give us the true Flandrian experience”), 45km/h crosswinds, five cobbled climbs (including the Kwaremont, Paterberg and Koppenberg), surprisingly few punctures, the two Petes doing more than their fair share of work on the front, one Walking Tour of Medieval Kortrijk, a few too many 13% Belgian beers at Gainsbar, and more late night kebabs (with corn) than I care to count.

A few hours later…

Day 5: In Flanders Fields

With the rain due to ease by the afternoon, a quick change to the schedule meant we’d start the day with a guided tour of the Ypres Salient. Between the late nights exploring Kortrijk, the days spent riding cobbles, the sobering scenes of Essex Farm Cemetery and Tyne Cot, and observing the Last Post at the Menin Gate, not many photos were taken on this day.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a poem written by the Summit’s poet laureate, Rich Neimand:

The trenches of Ypres did me no harm
Rain, freezing van, just another yarn
Cobbles and wind shattered nerve
Still I ate and drank with verve
Riding into the Escape Collective grippe
Never did I get sick, but smirked
Thinking I could navigate as Eric De Clerq
Now I lay flattened in bed
Sore throat, pounding head
Yet, diminished as never before—
I have the voice of Iain Treloar.

Wegelphlegm, a poem by Rich Neimand

Day 6: Roubaix Sportif and Spectating Kopecky


If you’ve read this far, you should make a point of doing this one day too.

Day 6 by the numbers:

26 Roubaix Sportif entries, a high of 24°C, one blown-out tire side wall, one snapped seat post, several hundred metres of walking to aid stations, endless stroopwaffels, energy gels, bars, and hydration tablets, at least one Band-Aid, precisely the correct servings of fries, sausage sandwiches, and cold beers and the 100+ dB velodrome crowd to cheer Lotte Kopecky and the rest of the women’s peloton across the line.

An arched gantry signalling the exit of the 2-star sector 8 (Templeuve)
The exit from secteur 8 (Templeuve). Mud at the entrance and exit made these 2-star cobbles tricky to navigate. Photo: Khue Cai
A row of cycling fans spectating from the Roubaix velodrome stands
Best seats in the house to Watch the Femmes. Photos: Andy van Bergen

Day 7: A quest for cobbles and a farewell

They say all good things must come to an end. But before we could put a bow on the Summit, we had a full day of secteur-hopping ahead.

Day 7 by the numbers:

6:45am departure for Compiègne, two well-armed gendarmes struck in the face by the free swag tossed from the promo parade, 7.5g (estimated) of dust inhaled by each Escapee spectating roadside, two cute puppies pet and 10 Escape crew saying goodbye to 26 of the best damn members this young media empire could ask for.

A dining room with several tables with several conversations happening at once
Goodbye, for now. Photo: John Natiw

More great memories

A few photos that didn’t fit elsewhere:

The bike trailer was something to behold.

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