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Biking Camino on a pedal-assisted bike?

NadjaP

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Biking, June 2019
#1
I am considering the Camino Frances next June on my Felt Tote'm . It's a heavy cargo bike, around 50 lbs., but has all the bells and whistles. I ride it regularly and am super comfortable on it in urban and rural areas in the U.S. but I am a bit concerned about the ability to find places to charge it (nightly). If anyone has done it, is it easy to find albergues that let you plug in? Any other concerns that made a difference for you?
Photo of bike: https://goo.gl/images/89aki7
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#2
You are right to be concerned about charging facilities. Modern built / converted Albergues have multiple power sockets, meeting modern dependencies perhaps. But there are enough reports of pilgrims unable to charge their phones other than by hanging about in bars all day.....
 

NadjaP

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Biking, June 2019
#4
E-bikes have been discussed before in the forum.
You may find of interest this thread.
Thank you. I had gone through that thread and others and I sent an email to one of the posters. I suspect that it may be difficult, but I have yet to hear someone say that they had to ride for days without getting a charge. Just wondering, from those with experience, how difficult it truly was before I throw in the towel because of speculation.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#5
You may not get the first hand feedback you are seeking.
Over 90% of Pilgrims walk the Camino and of the 8-9% who cycle I'm not sure many of those use rechargeable ebikes. I've only ever seen one.

As others have said, I can't imagine pushing an ebike of any sort up some of the steep rough inclines.
 

NadjaP

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Biking, June 2019
#6
You may not get the first hand feedback you are seeking.
Over 90% of Pilgrims walk the Camino and of the 8-9% who cycle I'm not sure many of those use rechargeable ebikes. I've only ever seen one.
Thank you, that's very insightful.
 
Camino(s) past & future
I’m 62 and doing it with my 25 yrs old son in aug/September 2018
#7
Good morning , I would check with your airline as when I was cycling the Camino earlier this year I was told the airlines won’t fly the batteries!! And as an earlier member stated , if you run out of power, pushing one of those plus your bags up a 1500 meters ascent would be tough!! I had to push my bike 4 hours up one stage.
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#8
As regards obtaining a Compostela based on a bike Camino the bicycle must require that you peddle to move forward. Thus, an electric ASSIST bicycle is presently approved. A fully electric cycle, that requires no pedaling except to start, is considered a moped or motorized vehicle and is not approved.

From my experience this past summer, I noticed that the security guards pay attention as bicycles arrive at the Pilgrim Office. They do notify the staff inside if someone turns up on a gas or electric powered non-pedal cycle.

It rarely occurs. However, one year, we DID turn away a fellow in a leather jacket who wanted a Compostela for riding his Harley from France... I recall that he tried to get cute, telling the staff that it WAS a cycle... NO joy!

The other two issues are a place to stash your e-cycle, and charging:
  • For charging, it helps if your battery slides out and can be brought inside for charging. In this case, I recommend you obtain a 3-way grounded Schuko adapter plug at any ferreteria or China Bazar shop. It allows you to split the scarce wall outlets with two others. That will help keep the peace. Do, please, be considerate of others.
  • I cannot offer suggestions for where to stash your bike at night, except to counsel a REALLY GOOD lock or two.
Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#10
Sybil, very good point!

Mobile phone charging is one thing. But, charging an e-bike battery is a whole order of magnitude more consumptive.

Pay your way...
 

Mark T17

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept 2017 (bike)
#11
I rode the Camino Francis last year and stored my bicycle in garages or courtyards in private albergues. I cannot remember any of those places having power in the bike storage areas, so you would have to remove the battery to recharge it overnight. Also not all albergues take bikes, so you are restricting your ability to get a bed at night. Not sure what hotels or pensions provide.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#12
When I rode the Camino last year, I saw several pilgrims riding pedal assist e-bikes, so I believe it’s possible.

I’d check with potential airlines, but European bike shop owners told me that their customers can’t fly with e-bikes due to the lithium batteries.
 

Kat Kostrzewska

Online guide https://caminodesantiagobybike.co.uk
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2018), Via Tolosana (2012) Camino Norte (2014)
#13
I also saw on the Camino pilgrims cycling e-bikes, so it must be possible. Every albergue has sockets, more often than not with 5 or more phones plugged in to one…

I would suggest writing to a few albergues that belong to “Bike Lane” (albergues that are bicycle friendly) asking them if you can charge your battery overnight. I would also consider starting the Camino in the first half of June when it is less busy that means more socket opportunities.
 
#14
Though many pathways are horrendous, like the down side of Alto de Perdon, extremely rocky, there are roadways around places like that. I am not a cyclist while on pilgrimage so I have not researched the alternate roadways. Kat has the best idea. Find Bike Lane and see what can be discovered.

Good luck!!! 😎
 

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
#15
Also, depending how much charge you need, you might want to offer an additional payment/donativo at the albergues, electricity is expensive here in Spain.

Buen Camino, SY
They don't use much. The biggest bike batteries are 500 wt-hours. Electricity in Spain is indeed expensive, three times what I pay in the US, but 500 wt-hrs is still only 0.125 Euros. Figure about an 80% charging efficiency, so the cost of charging a battery is only 0.16 Euro.

In thermal units, an e-bike uses about a shot glass of gasoline a day
 

NadjaP

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Biking, June 2019
#16
They don't use much. The biggest bike batteries are 500 wt-hours. Electricity in Spain is indeed expensive, three times what I pay in the US, but 500 wt-hrs is still only 0.125 Euros. Figure about an 80% charging efficiency, so the cost of charging a battery is only 0.16 Euro.

In thermal units, an e-bike uses about a shot glass of gasoline a day
Thank you for that information. It is very useful.
 

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