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CarylAnn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walk & Bike from SJPDP July 2020
Riding from Pamplona to SdC this July with no experience long distance biking (however i have started training at gym). What kind of underwear/pants did you wear? There are so many options it is overwhelming!! Quick dry briefs, padded bike pants (with/without underwear?!) leggings or normal zip off leg hiking pants? Any/all advice appreciated!! :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
April / May (2016) CF
I waked the Camino, but I am also a cyclist. If you wear padded bike pants, you normally wear them without underwear. If you wear underwear, it can result in friction or chafing which leading to a very uncomfortable rash in very sensitive places. If you have some discomfort without the underwear, you can use a product like Glide. I prefer to wear a padded skort when I ride. If it gets cold you can pull a pair of tights up over them. I've bought the majority from Terry Bicycles online, but other companies also make them. Since your Camino is in July you have time to experiment and find out what works best. Do make sure you climb some hills as it changes your body position on the seat.
 

Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Camino(s) past & future
Bike: Mont St Michel-SdC. Budapest-Vezelay. Alicante-Burgos
Walk: Le Puy-SJPdP. Dax-(CF)-SdC.
It's a great ride, as long as you're willing to be considerate to the many walkers, who don't always hear your frantic bell rings! Go steady and remain in control on the flats and the downs and you'll be fine.
You can divert off the walkers' path sometimes where there are parallel quiet roads and lanes.

In July it will be hot, so you have to balance ventilation with comfort. Carol (the engine of our tandem and coincidentally also my wife!) prefers Capri length lycra cycle shorts with an integral pad (Muddy Fox is affordable in the UK, but there are many other brands). She wears nylon briefs underneath without any scrunching or chafing. I on the other hand tend to run hot, so prefer looser mountain bike shorts with separate padded liner shorts underneath. It really is worth experimenting, on a real bike, not just the gym.
I wouldn't recommend hiking trousers, zip-offs or otherwise. They have seams in just the wrong places and too much spare material to flap around and irritate your skin.
I know that lycra gear isn't always flattering, but the Camino isn't a fashion show and yours won't be the most outlandish outfit on show. Nobody will judge you! Better to be comfortable during the day, and have something more fetching (Carol brings a long sleeveless polyester dress which weighs almost nothing) for the evenings.
I do recommend 'proper' cycle jerseys too - they have their pockets behind you, so you don't squash their contents into your belly while pedalling.
Buen Camino, and good luck at the gym!
Graham
 

Martin.P

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Algarvinia (Sept 12)
Camino Frances (June 16)
Via de la Plata (May 19)
Finisterre (July 16)
Hi CarylAnn,

Bike shorts with no underwear is your only option, bring 2 pair washing one overnight to ensure no bacteria builds.

You won't need leggings in July, just bring waterproof jacket, your legs & shorts will dry out quickly after any showers.

Regarding fitness the gym work is great, keep it up but if your planning on keeping to the trail you'll need to work on your bike handling - get out on a wooded trail or even a greenway.

If your planning on staying in private albergues just book ahead when ur on the trail & know how many more kilometers you have left in your legs for the day.

Bring a bell & use it, don't over use it as this can also make people irate.

Most of all enjoy, if travelling on your own it may get lonely as biking the Camino does not allow for too much bonding with other pilgrims (different pace).

Having said that try to stop & chat or a simple Buen Camino or Gracias goes a long way in picking both yourself & others up on a long day.

Enjoy, I envy you.
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
I wear good-quality padded cycling shorts, adding leg warmers when needed. I find bib shorts more comfortable than waist shorts as they don't constrict your waist in the riding position. If you're prepared to pay a bit more you can find some with elasticated or quick-release straps that make toilet breaks easier and more discreet. The no-underwear rule is generally proposed by men, but there are obvious reasons why women might prefer not to follow their advice, in which case I recommend seamless underpants, preferably merino because polyester soon smells rank. Make sure you've tried out your clothing on a few long bike rides before you pack. Buen camino!
 

Calvin & Hobbes

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2016 SJPP>Santiago
Hey CarylAnn, I envy you biking the CF. I debated trying that a few years back instead of hiking. I chose hiking at the time. I read the forum daily, but comment rarely. I am a recreational biker, both road an trail, so I thought I might impart some of my "wisdom" based on similar experiences.

I agree with the above regarding padded shorts. I bike frequently, but undertook a ride near the distance you will undertake only twice on rail trails (relatively flat) in the U.S.

Several years ago a group of us biked the GAP (Great Allegheny Passage) and C&O Canal. A few years later I biked the KATY in Missouri. I was in my 60s for both. Both were on the order of 300 miles over the course of 8 days. You will definitely regret not having padding as you admit to not being an experienced distance rider. I also agree with a crotch lubricant to reduce friction. Even using the cream, I still got sore by the end of the rides. Beyond that, be prepared with clothing options. I have separate leggings and sleeves that might be worn on chilly mornings and removed as the day warms. The reverse is true when approaching sizable hills/mountains. You will heat up as you work up a hill and may chill coasting down a hill. A windbreaker shell might also be useful for cool days. Don't forget the wind chill effect on a bike. I would also suggest padded biking gloves. I use gloves every time I ride. I have finger-less and fingered gloves. I become overheated and sweat easily. I also don't like to be cold, so I look for ways to help control my body temp.

You don't mention if you are doing this on your own or as part of a supported group tour. I have a "trunk" that mounts to a "book rack" on the back of my bike. This carries the excess equipment/clothing. Panniers could also be used. When I did the GAP/C&O, we did that with an outfitter who transported most of our stuff from destination to destination and provided lunches, so I used only the trunk. When I rode the KATY, I was on my own and used the trunk and panniers to carry everything.

I'd suggest full zip jerseys to be adjusted for cooling (I bought a souvenir full-zip shirt in Santiago after hiking the CF a few years ago).

If you want the best clothing for this ride, I recommend you investigate cycling clothing. It's not inexpensive, and you usually get what you pay for. If you choose to buy this, buy it in advance and use it. Check for comfort, especially the shorts. As mentioned by Tandem Graham, seams in the wrong place, or just the wrong fit will cause suffering over a ride of this distance.

One other request. As you approach hikers from behind, give ample, loud notice that you are approaching. I was appalled at how few bikers gave warning on the CF. Frequently, bikers would fly by with no notice. I was startled several times as I did not hear them approaching, and I'm pretty alert to changes in my environment. This is even more important now as many walkers wear ear buds that drown out noise. I use a bell on my trail rides and many times walkers don't hear me approaching for that reason. I have to shout to get their attention.

One last recommendation -- WEAR A HELMET! I don't get on 2 wheels without a helmet. I've been riding motorcycles for 50 years and bicycles longer. I simply don't understand why some people refuse to wear helmets, other than it being a macho thing. I've had near misses and accidents that were lessened by the fact that I wear a helmet. I have bike helmets with scars on them instead of on my head. Accidents can happen anytime - sometimes when you least expect it.

I hope you enjoy your ride. I still think about my Camino every day and long for another experience. I made several friends that I still have occasional contact with. I'm considering doing the Portuguese from Porto while I'm still able (I think!), but have not made any plans. Maybe in 2021 for my 70th birthday????

Happy riding!!!🚴‍♀️🚴‍♀️
 

Martin.P

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Algarvinia (Sept 12)
Camino Frances (June 16)
Via de la Plata (May 19)
Finisterre (July 16)
Hi CarylAnn,

If your hiring a bike, Bicigrino.com are very reliable. The bike will be waiting for u in Pamplona (with panniers) & you can ship your excess gear ahead to Santiago with them. They are also affiliated to numerous bike shops on the Camino which offer free repairs for bicigrinos. I've used this company for Frances & the Via de la Plata - hope to use them for Portuguese this year or next.

Also - Sun Screen, invest wisely! Preferably one that won't sweat away & start running. I apply Riemans P20 30mins before start & don't need to worry for the rest of the day (even if ur tempted with a midday dip), i've used on 8-10hr spins in 30+ degrees.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
A tube of soothing lubricant for the part of you most often in contact with the saddle would be a wise investment.
 

CarylAnn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walk & Bike from SJPDP July 2020
Thank you all for your amazing advice! i am hiking Camino Frances from SJPDP to Pamplona with my husband and friend then continuing on via bike from Pamplona with friend. I would say neither of us have done a bike ride like this before so and don't have a huge time constraint so we will listen to our bodies (mostly our butts 😂) and see how we go. We are renting bikes with BikenBabia.
We will be following Kat's online bike guide - half on the trail and half off with a few adjustments. I have been scouring all biking the camino pages and think i have a pretty good idea about being respectful of walkers!
I have done some research and am thinking 3/4 padded bike leggings look good as well as the lubricant. Does anyone use sheepskin covers on their seats?
I am living in Arequipa, Peru at the moment (from Australia) so don't have a bike, but will be getting one in the coming weeks. The roads here are horrendous to think about riding on not to mention the hills and the altitude but i hear outside of town will be ok for training.
Thanks again for taking the time to reply - this forum is amazing! ❤
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
I have done some research and am thinking 3/4 padded bike leggings look good as well as the lubricant. Does anyone use sheepskin covers on their seats?
3/4 leggings would be very hot in July; so would a sheepskin saddle cover.
 

Martin.P

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Algarvinia (Sept 12)
Camino Frances (June 16)
Via de la Plata (May 19)
Finisterre (July 16)
Hi CarylAnn,

Yes, the biking forum is a wealth of knowledge I spent endless hours thralling before my first camino & nothing really came as a surprise after arming my self with members advice.

On the sheepskin - my advice is cover ur bum & not your saddle, too much slippage. Having said that, give everything a go before the trip, what's one person's affliction is another persons life jacket.

Cannot stress enough the importance of getting out on the bike before u leave. Two questions for u.......

Will your friend be up to the trip? You will need to be able to depend on each other to make the Camino a success.

How much time do you have from Pamplona to Santiago?

M.
 

CarylAnn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walk & Bike from SJPDP July 2020
3/4 leggings would be very hot in July; so would a sheepskin saddle cover.
When you say hot, how hot is hot? I read temps are around 30c.... which by Australian standards is a nice warm day! I usually wear 3/4 leggings to workout in so maybe i just gravitate towards them.
Ditching the sheepskin idea though - thanks!
 

CarylAnn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walk & Bike from SJPDP July 2020
Hi CarylAnn,

Yes, the biking forum is a wealth of knowledge I spent endless hours thralling before my first camino & nothing really came as a surprise after arming my self with members advice.

On the sheepskin - my advice is cover ur bum & not your saddle, too much slippage. Having said that, give everything a go before the trip, what's one person's affliction is another persons life jacket.

Cannot stress enough the importance of getting out on the bike before u leave. Two questions for u.......

Will your friend be up to the trip? You will need to be able to depend on each other to make the Camino a success.

How much time do you have from Pamplona to Santiago?

M.
I know my friend has started her hiking prep, but not the biking. We have travelled together previously with a few ups and downs - i feel after 25 years of friendship we can definitely rely on each other. We were going to do a tandem bike but the rental fell through.
I have allocated 12 days for that part of the trip however we have another week of "free" time if we need it. 😀
 

Paladina

old woman of the roads
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles etc (2018), Mozarabe etc (2019), tbc (2020)
When you say hot, how hot is hot? I read temps are around 30c.... which by Australian standards is a nice warm day! I usually wear 3/4 leggings to workout in so maybe i just gravitate towards them.
Ditching the sheepskin idea though - thanks!
Ok, you're probably well used to heat, although not necessarily used to cycling long daily distances in it. The temperatures are notoriously variable: expect anything from 4 to 40 degrees in the course of a singe day. This is why it makes sense to wear removable layers.
 

Martin.P

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Algarvinia (Sept 12)
Camino Frances (June 16)
Via de la Plata (May 19)
Finisterre (July 16)
Hi again CarylAnn,

I don't believe you mentioned yet - mtb or road bike ( trail or road )? I ask because you mentioned that u were considering a tandem which must mean road?

If u plan on trail riding be prepared that u may have to push/drag/lift the bike on the odd occasion (hills/stones/streams) so good level of fitness & teamwork.

Be careful on downhills, if your not experienced/confident & have an alternative on tarmac take it.

Reasonable fitness should see you complete Pamplona to Santiago in 12 days easily. My brother & I did both the le Plata & Frances in 8 days (each) but would not recommend. Relax, enjoy & stay safe - you will love it.

PS. Learn about bikes, basic mechanics, punctures etc....
 
I am an ultra distance rider and planning to ride from Biarritz to Santiago in September. I will use a mixture of Camino Norte and roads. I will also be visiting a few lighthouses.

Lots of good advice already. I use Sudocreme for my nether regions. It works, its cheap, its widely available. Get out of the gym as soon as you can. Learn to ride in the wind and rain, up hill and down hill. It will make riding on the trail so much easier.
If you have a saddle at home you are really comfortable with. Take it with you and get them to put it on the hire bike.
Try and get a few multi day rides in before you go. Riding day after day can be quite a shock.
 

Tandem Graham

Every new day an adventure
Camino(s) past & future
Bike: Mont St Michel-SdC. Budapest-Vezelay. Alicante-Burgos
Walk: Le Puy-SJPdP. Dax-(CF)-SdC.
12 days is plenty time to ride from Pamplona to Santiago - say 55-60kms a day.
Just like the hikers, pack light, and if possible put your luggage on the bike, not on your back. If you need to post ahead your walking gear, you can arrange at modest cost with Ivar (who is the proprietor of these pages) to receive it in Santiago, so you're not reliant on the post office being open there.
Check the hire bike carefully before you sign for it. Usually they're fine, but sometimes they're busy and they'd rather you out the door than take time ensuring that the bike is properly serviced and the right fit for you.
But with a bit of effort, a bit of common sense and a good sense of humour, you really are going to have a great adventure!
Buen Camino Bicigrina!
 

CarylAnn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walk & Bike from SJPDP July 2020
Hi again CarylAnn,

I don't believe you mentioned yet - mtb or road bike ( trail or road )? I ask because you mentioned that u were considering a tandem which must mean road?

If u plan on trail riding be prepared that u may have to push/drag/lift the bike on the odd occasion (hills/stones/streams) so good level of fitness & teamwork.

Be careful on downhills, if your not experienced/confident & have an alternative on tarmac take it.

Reasonable fitness should see you complete Pamplona to Santiago in 12 days easily. My brother & I did both the le Plata & Frances in 8 days (each) but would not recommend. Relax, enjoy & stay safe - you will love it.

PS. Learn about bikes, basic mechanics, punctures etc....
Hi Martin
I have rented two mountsin bikes, we will do half on the trail and half off. I have no problem with getting off the bike and walking it - i'm sure my bottom will appreciate it anyway!! The tandem i found was mountain bike also and i'm bummed i cant get it as we would of had so much fun on it.
132 days to go!
 

Martin.P

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Algarvinia (Sept 12)
Camino Frances (June 16)
Via de la Plata (May 19)
Finisterre (July 16)
Enjoy every moment CarylAnn........
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Decisions decisions. Nice problem to have :)

As others have said cycle shorts, no undies, is the usual way to go but you need to find a pair that fit. Not all padded shorts are made equal and some have stitching in just the wrong place or bunch up (especially the cheaper ones that are just a big bit of foam). Depending on how curvy you are 3/4 bike bike capris tend to be more flattering than shorter shorts that have a band that squishes around your thighs and are usually easy enough to roll up over the knee when cycling if hot. Detachable baggy mountain bike shorts (or capris) that fit over a pair of cycling shorts are also a good option if you're not feeling 100% body confident and you can wear just the shorts in the evening.

For me, the most important thing is to stay dry between the legs which might mean swapping shorts midday, sitting in the sun to let things dry off a bit, or deliberately standing up every so often to get some airflow, wearing shorts with minimal padding, etc. Just like wet shoes, if your shorts get soggy from rain or very sweaty then rubbing is much more likely. Prevention is better than cure, if anything feels like it's rubbing stop and sort it out.

It's training your bottom to sit on a saddle that is going to make the most difference. The more you can do before you go, the easier the cycling will be on your bottom and the clothing is less important. Think long distance triathletes that do 110 miles in little more than a swimming costume. If you don't cycle much it's often more of a bruising kind of pain you get than a problem from rubbing. I'm not convinced gel saddle covers help that much, saddles with springs definitely help, I know from experience that tying a jumper around your saddle can help, and if things get really bad you can try the 'sit on one bottom cheek and count to 100, and then swap over' technique to help take your mind off things...

I hope you have the most amazing time together!
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
Riding from Pamplona to SdC this July with no experience long distance biking (however i have started training at gym). What kind of underwear/pants did you wear? There are so many options it is overwhelming!! Quick dry briefs, padded bike pants (with/without underwear?!) leggings or normal zip off leg hiking pants? Any/all advice appreciated!! :)
Hello Caryl

In addition to going on pilgrimages, I have put in about 9000 miles of bike touring over the summers of five years.

I am a younger woman so my take on shorts may be a bit different from some.

First I ride a lightly padded saddle as heavy padding hurt after mile 25 in a day. So I advise against the sheepskin as you will have in putting pressure on locations that don't want pressure and not helping with the but.

I ride in padded shorts both with and without cotton briefs or wicking briefs depending on the day. I do wear padded short with brief and a pad when on period. I ride in briefs and no padded shorts after my period for about 3 days to stop sores.
I don't put any creams or butters on my but when using padded shorts. If you use them you must wash your shorts every day. Bike shorts are not the fastest drying thing know to man, mine take about 18 hours to dry if hand washed.
I under no condision cycle in wet padded shorts, a bit of sweat is fine, but not wet or damp. If I soaked when riding I will take off the padded shorts and ride only in briefs for the rest of the day.

The goal is to have no sores and lower/no pain in the but. Having the right saddle width also plays a big part in sores and pain. I find sores are caused by rubbing and wet/damp skin, however only ever having three sores my advise may not be the greatest. However after those three I learned how not to get sores. Second I would get two or three different pairs of padded short with seams in different location and different pad shape/size.

I don't like the look of padded bike shorts(some things should be private) so I wear a skirt or loser shorts over the top. I prefer a skirt but that take practice and having the right skirt, as such I don't suggest it.

Weight matters on a bike just like when hiking, less weight in the bags is better. However I would look at a quick release handlebar bag as a camera bag/purse. Also think about rain on the bike, wet rubbing clothing causes sores.

I hope this is useful and sorry if I gave too much information on the use of padded shorts.
 
Last edited:

michael

Member
I changed to thick bamboo or Marino 'shreddies' to replace the traditional padded cycling shorts.
The lightweight Marino boxers are for summer and the BAM ones for colder days.
I found padded shorts caused rather than prevented sweat sores and BAM boxers are really good at getting rid of sweat plus they don't smell. Roadie friends are horrified that I will ride several days off road in the same shorts.
The other thing to do is sort out a good saddle. See WTB and Ergon websites for saddle information. I bought a second hand bike that had a touring saddle fitted and it was a revelation. It is the only saddle I use now but until I tried it I thought saddles had to thin and narrow.
 

CarylAnn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walk & Bike from SJPDP July 2020
Hello Caryl

In addition to going on pilgrimages, I have put in about 9000 miles of bike touring over the summers of five years.

I am a younger woman so my take on shorts my be a bit different from some.

First I ride a lightly padded saddle as heavy padding hurt after mile 25 in a day. So I advise against the sheepskin as you will have in putting pressure on locations that don't want pressure and not helping with the but.

I ride in padded shorts both with and without cotton briefs or wicking briefs depending on the day. I do wear padded short with brief and a pad when on period. I ride in briefs and no padded shorts after my period for about 3 days to stop sores.
I don't put any creams or butters on my but when using padded shorts. If you use them you must wash your shorts every day. Bike shorts are not the fastest drying thing know to man, mine take about 18 hours to dry if hand washed.
I under no condision cycle in wet padded shorts, a bit of sweat is fine, but not wet or damp. If I soaked when riding I will take off the padded shorts dry the but and ride only in briefs for the rest of the day.

The goal is to have no sores and lower/no pain in the but. Having the right saddle width also plays a big part in sores and pain. I find sores are caused by rubbing and wet/damp skin, however only ever having three sores my advise may not be the greatest. However after those three I learned how not to get sores. Second I would get two or three different pairs of padded short with seams in different location and different pad shape/size.

I don't like the look of padded bike shorts(some things should be private) so I wear a skirt or loser shorts over the top. I prefer a skirt but that take practice and having the right skirt, as such I don't suggest it.

Weight matters on a bike just like when hike, less weight in the bags is better. However I would look at a quick release handlebar bag. Also think about rain on the bike, wet rubbing clothing causes sores.

I hope this is useful and sorry if I gave too much information on the use of padded shorts.
So many things to take into consideration! Thank you for being so candid and sharing your experiences/advice :)
 

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