While the Ronde van Vlaanderen museum in Oudenaarde is a popular stop for fans of the Tour de Flanders, the KOERS Museum in Roeselare boasts what is simply one of the world’s greatest collections of art and memorabilia dedicated to the sport of cycling.
With three floors of exhibition space in the heart of Roeselare, the hometown of legend Freddy Maertens, the KOERS Museum offers a steady stream of exhibitions, tours, and educational programs throughout the year.
RELATED: KOERSbus website
And for the upcoming UCI road world championships, it’s gone one step further, acquiring and refurbishing the KOERSbus, a special bus that is nothing less than a traveling exhibition space celebrating the rainbow jersey.
“The idea of 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,” said Thomas Ameye, a staff member of the KOERS museum. “Cycling is a popular sport par excellence and a sport that, especially in our country, is very close to the people.
“In Belgium, cycling races often pass just in front of your front door. You can literally almost touch cyclists,” Ameye said. “As a museum, we also wanted to create that proximity with a bus filled with remarkable cycling objects and stories. Moreover, there is the analogy with the team buses or the advertising caravan in cycling. Naturally, the race bus is also a way to give the museum extra name recognition and to attract people to the actual museum.”
Throughout the summer, the KOERSbus has been traveling around the country. The driver? Former professional Peter Farazijn.
It made no less than 20 stops in the recent Tour of Belgium, stopping in numerous towns that hosted former world championships or world champions. And Farazijn, a one-time teammate to stars like Andrei Tchmil or 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 longtime goal for the museum, the upcoming world championships around Flanders this month proved to be the perfect occasion to officially launch the bus.
And focusing on the history of the world championships was simply a no-brainer.
Packed with unique memorabilia, souvenirs, objects, and video clips, this museum on wheels looks back at various themes: the origins of the world championships, 100 years of the world championships, the world championships in Flanders 2021, the roots of the rainbow jersey, Belgium’s world champions past and present, and the world champions held in Belgium throughout history.
Some of the masterpieces in this moving collection are the racing bikes of world champions like Annemiek van Vleuten, Tony Martin, and Eddy Merckx.
The KOERSbus will be on location at the different world championship venues, which will also include a cycling park to attract and initiate youth.
But while the KOERSbus is a traveling showcase for the museum, it boasts only a fraction of what can be seen in the permanent collection.
A visit here should most definitely be on your bucket list on your next pilgrimage to the “cycling Mecca” that is Flanders.