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Bike to Santiago

Camino(s) past & future
France way
#1
Dear all the pioneer for France way

I am Anthony Leong, come from Macau, China. Would begin bike through the France Way from SJPP to Santiago between 11/8 - 21/8. I have serveal question want to ask you for prepare well in the tirp, thank you so much!
1. In SJPP, are there any bike second-hand selling shop? Or are there any senior have finish to France way at SJPP, and want to leave your bike?

2. Any route suggest/ information for bike in France way? And how you arrange your trip everyday? (e.g. Starting time, Finish time, good time for finding the albergue?)

3. Any reminder or suggestion for bike through French way to Santiago?

Thank for the advance answer, and wish everyone has the best experience for the French Way!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
#2
Check out t the shop Ivar has on this forum he may have a guidebook for biking.

Buen camino to you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
#3
Hi, snowgorunner and a warm welcome to the Forum.

There are no official times to start or to finish. You can begin each day as early as you want, and finish as late as you want.

During August when the weather is hot, pilgrims may stop walking in the early afternoon when the temperature gets hotter. That is when many pilgrims look for an albergue to stay at. If you want to ride until the late afternoon or early evening, you should be able to find a place to stay for the night. There are other options for lodging if albergues are full / completo.

A concern is for you to protect yourself from the hot weather and to ride only as far as you safely can. No matter what time it is, stop riding for the day and find a room for the night when the sun starts to become a problem for you.

This is an English language web site which has a FAQ with information about riding bicycles on the Camino. It may be of help to you. http://www.americanpilgrims.org/cycling

I am sure that the members of the forum who have ridden bicycles along Camino Frances will be able to help you more. In the meantime, use the search engine (on the top of the page, on the right, in the menu bar) and type in your questions. There will be a lot of information that you will be able to look at.
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#4
Hello... welcome.

I biked the Frances few years ago.
There is a nice bike shop in SJPP. Selling new bikes. But, there may be used bikes there as well. He sells anything you would need for biking. Ask at the TI in SJPP for directions to this shop. Walking distance from center of the town.

There are many bike RENTAL companies in France and Spain. Most are good.
and they rent good bikes. But by the time you pay to rent a good bike you might be better off just buying a new bike in SJPP. Ride it and then sell it in Santiago.
Do search on the web. If you decide to rent, start talking with them and reserve now. They most likely will require a deposit.
Most will arrange the bike to be at SJPP. And have ways for you to ship the bike back to them or leave at a bike shop.

Put a FOR SALE sign on your bike day before Santiago and you may get a buyer. Take the bike to bike shop in Santiago. See if they will buy the bike.

There is a nice camp ground in SJPP. It is across the little river. Actually right in town. Has showers, cooking area, etc. You will meet many bikers there.

There will be days, kms, that you will have to ride on the highway. Parts of the trail are not suited for bike riding.

I had camping gear with me. i.e. tent, sleeping bag, pad, etc. No cooking gear. I slept out side most nights. Would pay the albergue. Shower, do clothes, eat etc each night. Then sleep outside of the alburgue. Few times was outside on the porch/balcony of the alburgue.

I did stealth camp a few times: no lights, no fires, no stove, no smoking, no music etc. Respected the land and property owner. Left the site the same way I found it.

Use panniers. Do not use a back pack when riding a bike. It will hurt your back. And cause your balance to be off.

Bike helmets are mandatory in Spain. And are a smart option to wear.

Bike riding in Spain is safer than in Portugal.

You will not need a heavy duty type of chain and lock for your bike. But do have, and use, a cable and lock of some sort. To keep the honest ones honest. If someone wants your bike they will get it. Regardless of the anchor chain you are using to lock it.

When in a store, cafe, bar etc use the cable lock. I saw some riders put a bungie cord in the spokes and frame. Anything to deter one from riding away on your bike.
If you have bags on the bike, hardly anyone will ride off on your bike. Leave the bike in the highest gear setting when parked. So if anyone tries to ride off it will be difficult for them to ride. Make your bike look used and not worth much.

Never, never, leave any valuables on your bike while your in a cafe, bar, store etc. Take them with you at all times. Same goes for when you shower at the alburgue.

There are many posts and comments on this forum about biking the Camino.

Suggestion: if you want a wonderful bike ride in Spain ride the N630 route from Seville to Gijon.
This route is one of the best long distance bike routes in Europe. It parallels most of the Plata route. So you can use the Albergues for lodging, showers, etc.

I would say riding the Plata from Seville in the month of August is almost impossible. Especially this year. Very, very, very hot here! Extremely hot.

For you on the Frances, it will be HOT. Have sunscreen. Long sleeve shirt worked. I also had the "sun sleeves." Which I could use when riding and take off when off the bike.

I did not use, nor like, the clip & lock type of bike shoes. I used light weight hiking shoes - runners. With Super Feet insert.

You must have a bell on your bike. Use it, in addition to your voice (or a whistle) when riding in the trail. To warn walkers you are approaching. SLOW down when around walkers. Have respect for others.

The albergue will have a place for you to secure your bike inside. Few places I locked my bike outside with me close by.

The starting time for most days is when you have to leave the Alburgue in the morning. Most Alburgues have the must be out time of 0800 hrs. Many bikers & walkers stop for breakfast after they leave the Alburgue.

Study the posts and comments on this forum on the Alburgue rules for when you can check in/leave.
All of the towns/cities have stores. To buy bread, fruit, juice, chocolate, etc. So you don't need to carry much weight in food items. BUT, carry enough water! and drink it.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#5
Hola @snowgorunner , another welcome to the Forum and to Camino life.
Martysevelle has covered just about all the point I recommend. I cannot stress too highly how hot it will be on the Meseta (Burgos to Leon). As you are on the bike you will be travelling faster but will also consume more energy and thus will need more water - as much as 4/5 litres per day.
As for getting a suitable bike - I totally agree about buying v renting. Either way either bring or buy a very, very good lock & bike chain and always secure your bike when you are away from it. Most albergues have rules about when they will admit bike riders (the donativo ones often make you wait until 4.00 PM or 16.00; the private ones are not so fussy). The better places will provide a place for you to secure your bike overnight (but again make sure you chain it). With the hot weather you will want to be on the road early, but as you get further west (especially after Astorga) the sun rise is later, anything up to 30 mins later between Pamplona/Barcelona and Astorga so you made be riding in the dark or early twilight and even with a light on your bike I would advise waiting until just on sunrise.
Route to follow: there are places on the Camino Frances where it is totally unsuitable for even advanced mountain bikers, so be prepared to ride the roads. Don't worry too much Spanish drivers are used to cyclist and are usually more respectful. One section I strongly recommend following the road is from Rabanal to Molinaseca (the section up to the Cruz de Ferro), I have both walked this section and cycled it - not suitable for bikes of any description. Good luck; Buen Camino.
 

martyseville

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
a/a
#6
Saint Mike, good reply. Agree with you.
So true about not being able to ride on parts of the Camino.

Riding during hours of darkness: I do not recommend riding when it is dark. Taking a chance for a accident. Even with excellent lighting on the bike...still not worth it. Saving (gaining) that extra 30 minutes to a hour is not worth it. Be safe. Ride safe.

When I rode the Frances I came across a few bike accidents. Two were serious ones. Due to riding in the dark.
Bad enough in some places in the day light.

Research shows that even the strongest bike locking system (chain, cable, pad locks etc) can be easily defeated. It is now recommended for long distance biking to only have a suitable cable and lock. That does not weigh a ton. But will keep people honest.

Putting something in between the spokes and setting the gears high and/or even partially moving the bike chain so does not engage the teeth .... will deter most of the wanna bee bike theft.

Most of the time, if not always, the bike will be within your sight. or only left for a very short time or locked at the Alburgue.
 
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Bruce58

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese
#7
Hola @snowgorunner , another welcome to the Forum and to Camino life.
Martysevelle has covered just about all the point I recommend. I cannot stress too highly how hot it will be on the Meseta (Burgos to Leon). As you are on the bike you will be travelling faster but will also consume more energy and thus will need more water - as much as 4/5 litres per day.
As for getting a suitable bike - I totally agree about buying v renting. Either way either bring or buy a very, very good lock & bike chain and always secure your bike when you are away from it. Most albergues have rules about when they will admit bike riders (the donativo ones often make you wait until 4.00 PM or 16.00; the private ones are not so fussy). The better places will provide a place for you to secure your bike overnight (but again make sure you chain it). With the hot weather you will want to be on the road early, but as you get further west (especially after Astorga) the sun rise is later, anything up to 30 mins later between Pamplona/Barcelona and Astorga so you made be riding in the dark or early twilight and even with a light on your bike I would advise waiting until just on sunrise.
Route to follow: there are places on the Camino Frances where it is totally unsuitable for even advanced mountain bikers, so be prepared to ride the roads. Don't worry too much Spanish drivers are used to cyclist and are usually more respectful. One section I strongly recommend following the road is from Rabanal to Molinaseca (the section up to the Cruz de Ferro), I have both walked this section and cycled it - not suitable for bikes of any description. Good luck; Buen Camino.
I was wondering if there was a Camino guide for cyclists on what route to take and which hostel or alberques take bikes?
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#8
I was wondering if there was a Camino guide for cyclists on what route to take and which hostel or alberques take bikes?
If you have a good working knowledge of French there is a guide for cyclists. It has a lot of info on bike suitable roads when the camino is not bike friendly. I bought a copy but really only studied the maps, my schoolboy French not sufficient. The CSJ (UK Pilgrim Org) did have a publication, my edition is 2013 (The Cycling Pilgrim) but I have not seen any advice on a more recent edition - maybe check out their web site. About the only other publication is the Michelin "Camino de Santiago" - it is similar to Brierley - more basic but does have more info including route names/numbers for local roads where you can deviate off-camino.
As for accommodation, I found that most of the private albergues are more than happy to provide off-street parking for your bike. Even in Santo Domingo the Casa de la Confradia let me and 6 or 8 more cyclists park in their yard. In Burgos and Leon the hotels I stayed in both let me use their luggage storage areas (I stayed two nights so that may have helped). From I recall both here on the Forum and what some of the guide books say that the "donativo" albergues usually do not admit cyclist until after 4.00 pm (16.00), but I never had much difficulties - I usually showed my pilgrim passport showing where I had slept the previous night - it usually showed I had cycled 40 or more km. Hope this helps. Cheers & Buen Camino!!

Just as a follow-up to the post from @martyseville on locks. I always locked my bike whenever I was away from it, even to just pop into a shop for a coffee etc. I always took my money, passport (national one and pilgrim one - for pilgrim discounts!!??, phone with me. My lock was one integrated into the change/cable, fairly expensive. I think I parked & locked the bike in very open areas so that locals would have seen me park it and would see anyone else trying to interfere with it. But at night you do need to be off the street. Cheers
 
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