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While the Ronde van Vlaanderen museum in Oudenaarde is a popular stop for fans of the Belgian monument, the KOERS museum in Roeselare is one of the world’s greatest museums dedicated to the sport of cycling. With three floors of exhibition space in the heart of Roeselare, the hometown to the legendary Freddy Maertens, the KOERS museum has a program of exhibits, tours and educational programs throughout the year. And for the upcoming world road championships, the museum has gone one step further, acquiring and refurbishing the KOERSbus, a traveling exhibition space celebrating the race for the rainbow jersey.
“The idea of the KOERSbus is one that originated years ago and its aim is to bring the museum, with its stories and its collection, even closer to the people,” explains Thomas Ameye, a staff member of the KOERS museum. “Cycling is a popular sport, especially in our country…. In Belgium, cycling races often pass just in front of your front door. As a museum, we also wanted to create that proximity with a bus filled with remarkable cycling objects and stories. Naturally, the race bus is also a way to give the museum extra name recognition and to attract people to the actual museum.”
Also, the KOERSbus is driven by ex-professional Peter Farazijn. Throughout the summer the KOERSbus has been traveling around the country. During the recent Tour of Belgium the bus made 20 stops, including towns that hosted former world championships or world champions. Farazijn, a one-time teammate of Andrei Tchmil and Frank Vandenbroucke, is the perfect guide when the bus stops as he knows the sport well and is frequently visited by old friends from the peloton.
While the KOERSbus may have been a long-time goal for the museum, the upcoming worlds has proved to be the perfect occasion to officially launch the bus. Focusing on the world championships history was a no-brainer. Packed with memorabilia, souvenirs and video clips this museum on wheels looks back at various themes: the origins of the world championships and its 100-year history, the Flanders 2021 worlds, the roots of the rainbow jersey, Belgium’s past world champions and championships held in Belgium. Among the masterpieces are the race bikes of world champions Annemiek van Vleuten, Tony Martin and Eddy Merckx,
The KOERSbus will be on location at the different world championship venues, which include a cycling park to attract and initiate youth. But while the bus is a showcase for the museum, it boasts only a fraction of what can be seen in the permanent collection; a visit there should be on the bucket list of anyone making a pilgrimage to the cycling mecca of Flanders. koersmuseum.be/nl/museum/koersbus