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Biking Arles - SJPP 2nd half of May 2014

Tomaso

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aurelia + Tolosana + Camino Frances - bike May 2014
#1
Hello everyone,

I intend to leave my home town Genoa on May 10th, reach Arles (hopefully) a week later following the via Aurelia broadly speaking, from thereon follow the via Tolosana route all the way to Oloron.

From there I plan to reach Saint Jean Pied de Port and follow the Camino Francès all the way to the Atlantic.

Has anyone any experience or knowledge to share, please?

I would like to understand how difficult and demanding it is, from Arles to Oloron, and therefore how many days it should take, should the weather be "acceptable".

I am not super trained, and was wondering if 50/60 kms a day is realistic or not.

Thank you for any input.

Tomaso
 

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newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#2
Hi Tomaso,

We have biked all of your route except the piece from Toulouse to Orolon. You'll find a bit on some of the routes here:

http://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/cycling-various-caminos-good-better-and-best.16273/

I noticed I still have not added the route from Menton to Arles, the voie Aurellian. or the Arles route, so it isn't that useful.

The via Della costa is described in the link. It has some really steep climbing, as in the hardest climbs between Genoa and Santiago. 50 km a day can be a lot. At least you know how best to get out of Genoa!

The route from Menton to Arles the voie Aurellian (GR653A) is really pretty tough until Frejus. We rode many nearby detours until there, then stayed pretty much on the trail. If you want to follow the marked trails from Genoa to Arles you will need far more than a week.

The Arles route is quite reasonable in comparison. A bike will need to detour some near St Guilhem le Desert, and from there to Castres I describe the Haute Languedoc as "the Appalachians on Steroids". After Castres it is much easier, though it runs around a fair bit near Toulouse and the canal road is a nice alternative.

From Toulouse you can ride north 60 km and join the route from LePuy, or continues to Orolon, and jump up to the Lepuy route and SJPP on the Piedmont route.

If you pack lightly, 50-60 km a day will be no problem from SJPP to Santiago. It will be a fairly hard day in some of the mountains you'll cross.

We will be in Cotignac, just off the Voie Aurellian from May 3-23, if you want to stop by for a bike tune up and dinner.
 

Tomaso

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aurelia + Tolosana + Camino Frances - bike May 2014
#3
Thank you Newfydog.

I believe that from Genoa to Cannes, since I will be at the beginning of my adventure, I will be following the Aurelia national route (statale Aurelia): it's the main road that goes along the coast, and plan to stop in Savona, Cervo, Mentone and Cannes. From Cannes I will go to Vidauban, Trets and then Arles: do you believe that this bit is too taxing to be covered in three days?

I am in no rush and I can take it easy as in following the most "sensible" and reasonable route i.e. don't have to stick to the most taxing bits in order to follow meticolously the ancient trails.

Good to know that you are nearby: I might holler if in need of help :) but hopefully it won't be needed!!
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#4

Tomaso

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aurelia + Tolosana + Camino Frances - bike May 2014
#5
Newfydog, I totally agree with you: I don't like big roads either. But it's a small price to pay in order to get to the best parts asap ;)

Thanks for the tip: I'll bear that in mind. If not for this trip, certainly for a future incursion: with the combination car + bike, the region is super easy to reach from my home town.
 

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Tomaso

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aurelia + Tolosana + Camino Frances - bike May 2014
#6
Newydog, may I ask another question, please: I very much trust your experience.

Many experienced bike travellers seem to recommend rear-view mirror and side-stand. What's your take on them: unless I am wrong, I saw pictures of your bike, none showing either items.

I have travelled many kms in the crazy italian streets (only for daily excursions, I admit), and never missed either item.

What's your view?

Thanks in advance.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#7
We don't use either of them. We did a group ride once which required mirrors and found them not real useful. My neck doesn't turn as well as it use to so I wouldn't mind a mirror if I could find one I liked. It seems many people like the ones mounted on helmets or glasses, but none of them work very well for me.

A stand is never worth the weight, and they barely work on a loaded bike.. There is always some place to lean a bike, except in this spot in Germany where it was forbidden, so my wife just laid her bike down under the sign.

kick stand.JPG
 

Tomaso

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aurelia + Tolosana + Camino Frances - bike May 2014
#8
Just as well that you could read German: I would have gotten a fine on the spot!

Thanks for the very useful insight.
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
#9
Uggh - stands! I've had 3 different ones on my bike including the 'world's strongest' stand. Broke all of them! Work of the devil....!
 

Tomaso

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aurelia + Tolosana + Camino Frances - bike May 2014
#10
Uggh - stands! I've had 3 different ones on my bike including the 'world's strongest' stand. Broke all of them! Work of the devil....!
Thank you Hecate 105, in the end I left (and travelled without) stand, or mirror, and never felt the absence! What a great time I had, despite the pain and the effort: I really miss the freedom and the focus!
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
#11
Glad you had a great ride. It is really hard getting back - all you want to do is go again! We are going to walk a bit if the Via Aurelia (probably Mouans Sartoux to St-Maxamin- ish) in November - we are taking our dog and he's a bit too old for cycling now! I hope we get to do the rest of the route sometime - it looks amazing on the maps...!
 

Tomaso

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aurelia + Tolosana + Camino Frances - bike May 2014
#12
Glad you had a great ride. It is really hard getting back - all you want to do is go again! We are going to walk a bit if the Via Aurelia (probably Mouans Sartoux to St-Maxamin- ish) in November - we are taking our dog and he's a bit too old for cycling now! I hope we get to do the rest of the route sometime - it looks amazing on the maps...!
Same here! I am day dreaming about pedalling the italian bit of Via Francigena (this year, ideally) and Camino del Norte from Bayonne (next year, again ideally). Let's see if & when both happen.
Enjoy very much your walk!
 

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