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Camino by motorcycle

Discussion in 'Alternative transportation' started by Nicole Fecteau, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. Nicole Fecteau

    Nicole Fecteau New Member

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    I am planning my 1st Camino and need to find the best "non-highway" route to Santiago for a motorcycle. The plan is to depart St Jean Pied du Port and do up to 60 miles each day. I need to find the quiet roads less traveled and places to stay that are respectful of the journey by motorcycle. Is there anyone who has done the Camino this way?
     
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  2. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    Michelin makes a road map for the Camino Frances. Maybe get one and plan your trip using that. Locate the smaller, rural roads that parallel the Camino Frances and set your route accordingly.
     
  3. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Undertaking the Camino and following one of the routes on a motorcycle will be seen by many as two mutually exclusive things. Certainly such an endeavour would not be recognized by the Pilgrims Office for the issue of a credential nor would it quality for the Compostela or distance certificates.

    That is not to say that there won't be places that will offer accommodation to someone who is not a pilgrim. Many private albergues operate on the basis that they are not exclusively for pilgrims (ie someone with a credencial) and of course there are other options like casa rural, hostels and hotels. That is a commercial decision, and will not be a matter of being 'respectful of the journey by motorcycle' - don't expect that from any of the pilgrims travelling on foot, bicycle or on horseback, or from those albergues that are exclusively for pilgrims. You just won't be seen as a pilgrim in the context of the Camino, irrespective of any personal motivations you might have for such a journey.
     
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  4. JillGat

    JillGat la tierra encantada Donating Member

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    Maybe not seen as a "pilgrim" but at least a moto rider (on the roads) won't be barreling down the Camino trail like some bicyclists do, making the walking pilgrims jump off to the side. ps - I think a moto tour of northern Spain would be nice.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
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  5. HeidiL

    HeidiL Veteran Member Donating Member

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    My husband and I spent three days driving a car along the Camino Frances in 1999 with our 3-year-old. It was a nice little holiday, and made us quite determined to come back on foot as soon as we could. And we did...
     
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  6. wayfarer

    wayfarer Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Welcome Nicole, follow the link below to download gpx files for a sat nav or to use on Google Earth. This route closely follows the Camino for using a motorbike or car.
    I checked with several private albergues as I walked about using them if I did the trip by motorbike and all of them said it was not a problem provided I book a private room, using the shared dorms was for walking pilgrims only.

    https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/resources/st-jean-to-santiago-by-road.231/
     
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  7. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Physically the Camino is a footpath which has been made by walking pilgrims over many hundreds of years. Some parts are suitable for bicycles, but not powered vehicles. There is also a network of roads (carretaras) that shadow the Camino and also a highway (the A12) which has been named after the Camino. You will have a wonderful journey across northern Spain on your motorcycle travelling the rural roads and staying in hotels, casa rurals and pensions, and the flexibility of a motorcycle will give you the ability to see many things just off the route that we walkers miss. I would not call this "my 1st camino" - come back and do that! My husband would love to join you. He has walked the Camino with me but is still completely mystified by anyone who chooses to walk when they could ride a motorbike.
     
  8. Mike Trebert

    Mike Trebert Guest

    Somewhere on YouTube there's an interview with Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Esteves about their movie "The Way". A question from the audience to Martin Sheen was " Did you walk the Camino?" He laughed his big generous laugh and admitted sheepishly "I'm an American. We rented a car and..." Much laughter.

    Riding a motorcycle through Spain would be a wonderful ride. I've owned maybe 4 bikes, one scooter. Came off 4 times, never broke a bone. Never did a big road trip. One time I got hypothermia so badly I didn't stop shivering til the next day. One time I got blown over onto the opposite side of a two-lane highway going 100 miles/hour without moving the handle bars. BSA Goldstar Rocket with road-racing gearbox. 1962.

    I've often thought I'd like one day to rent a car and drive along the CF, stop here and there and walk the bits I liked the best, take a cab back to the car, drive on. Take a couple of weeks.

    A motorbike trip parallel to (edit) one of the Caminos would be a dreamy road trip and a beautiful ride but I don't think it would be a "Camino". There were a lot of bicycles along the way when I walked. Sometimes very annoying when the path was narrow, uneven and crowded with walkers.

    What I enjoyed most was seeing the world change around me over 800kms as I moved through it at human speed and eyeball height. I would stop often and feel/listen to what the world was and how far out from my body I fitted into the world. The sound and smell of it and how I was connected to it. The sky, the rain, the sun, the life.

    We are such clever creatures. We move faster and higher all the time.

    One of my all time favourite movies is "Wings Of Desire" directed by Wim Wenders, dialogue written by Peter Handke. Its about an angel who chooses to become human. As an angel he can be seen only by young children. He can hear the thoughts of the dying. At one point he walks past a road accident. A motorcycle rider is sitting on the curb dying and we hear him thinking his last thoughts. His disembodied voice says quietly, "My wife...my children...summer...the sky".

    Buen Camino, - Mike
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2016
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  9. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    Quite a lot of the trail is actually dirt double track which is used extensively by farm vehicles and presumably would be open to a motorcycle as well. I personally would avoid those with the number of walkers on the path these days, but you might check on some sections late in the day.

    James Michener wrote that the Camino was the best journey in Spain and one of the finest trips in the world----and he did most of it by car.
     
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  10. Ian T

    Ian T I now have a back pack

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    I did it last year and this year. Last year as close to the route as I could get and back along the Norte as close as I could get.

    This year just out then off round Portugal and southern Spain.

    You wanna know best routes - stop asking, buy a map and ride it. That is what biking is all about.
     
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  11. wayfarer

    wayfarer Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    The original Camino followed the what have now become the main roads, the Camino as we know it, was moved in part to local farm tracks to take pilgrims off the main roads for safety reasons, some parts parallel the roads, as we know, and some more parts are still on the main roads. If you do the Camino by motorbike or car then chances are you will do most of it on the "original" Camino way.
    A Camino is a journey to a holy place, the definition does not specify what mode of transport but as Doug said, going by motorbike or car will not qualify you for a compostella in Santiago, but I think what is in your heart as you make this journey is what is important.
     
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  12. JohnnieWalker

    JohnnieWalker Nunca se camina solo Donating Member

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    Hola Nicole

    Pilgrims frequently arrive in Santiago on motorbikes. As has been said they can't use assocation or municipal Albergues or recieve the Compostela but motorcyclists can stay in many private albergues or hostals. Where you stop on the Camino Frances you will inevitably meet many other walking or cycling pilgrims.
    My personal plea would be for you to exclusively use roads and there is a very good road network along the length of the Camino. The presence of a motorbike on the Camino proper would be very disturbing to walking pilgrims. You sound as if you are sympathetic to that.
    I also wonder about your plan to travel up to 60 miles per day - surely you would achieve this in two or three hours at most?

    Whatever you do I hope it is rewarding.

    Buen Camino

    John
     
  13. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    I know it was thrown out there as advice on this thread, but I would say stay off the actual Camino trail while riding a motorcycle. Stick to the roads. I love bikes, but honestly they have no place on the actual footpath for pilgrims. Hell, bicycles are barely tolerable on it, and I love riding mountain bikes.
     
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  14. JillGat

    JillGat la tierra encantada Donating Member

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    Sounded like she didn't intend to ride on the footpath. Personally, I wish bicycles didn't travel on the path, either. Last year, I looked for some way to rent a motorcycle one-way from Santiago back to Madrid, but couldn't find a way to do it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  15. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    Yeah, ditto on the bicycles. It would be great if the walkers didn't have to share the path with them. Sorry if that offends any Camino bicyclists, or future ones out there. It's just that they could be so invasive to the walkers at times, barreling down at high speed, at times dangerously weaving through groups of pilgrims. Also in some sections they rut up the walking path, and when it rains it turns into a muddy mess. Good example is after SJPdP just before you get to Roncesvalles. The section through the woods.
     
  16. JillGat

    JillGat la tierra encantada Donating Member

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    In that downhill section through the woods before Roncesvalles is where I saw a bicyclist collide into the back of a walker. I was almost hit by bicycles several times along the Camino, too.
     
  17. debra

    debra Member

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    To both Mark and Lee about cyclists I would like to point about that there are three groups on the trials(camino) 1 local biker riding their local trail out for exercise and fun typically moving fast. 2 pilgrims which are usually out later after 7-8am, being careful and moving 8-10 miles an hours about three times a walking pilgrims. 3 the crazy, people that don't plan enough time for their riding skill level or are trying to learn to ride on trails. Group 1 and 3 are most of the problem. Group 3 will live and learn. Group 1 we as pilgrims have no right to say how locals will use their local trails because we decided to walk on them.

    As for the original poster about motorcycling, I would say please not on the trails but were the camino is on rural gravel/dirt/asphalt roads go for it if you want to but maybe start at closer to 9 am in the morning so that walkers have spread out and are on longer in giant groups.

    Debra
     
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  18. Felipe

    Felipe Veteran Member

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    The Camino in Spain is protected by a profuse European and national legislation, and there are specific local laws regulating its character and usage. For example, if the construction of a highroad or dam needs to occupy some section, a special (and always very controversial) permit is needed. Private owners should allow (in Galice) a stripe of at least three meters for the transit of pedestrians. A "lateral area" of protection is also considered, each side, with restrictions for, by example, cutting trees.
    The Galice regulations specify that (art. 9) "The purpose ("destino") of the Camino will be that of a pedestrian path, a purpose that will be compatible with its use as equestrian or as a way for vehicles without motor" (my translation) with logical exemptions for urban zones and domestic access (and, I suppose, where the Camino shares a paved road with the local traffic). Infractions are divided amongst categories, being the usage of motor vehicles ("tráfico rodado") considered "serious" (art. 21a). There are fines. Note that I am not a jurist; this is just as I understood the "legalese".
    I suppose that there are similar regulations in other communities. In France, the GR paths (= Camino) are also well regulated.
    So, dear Nicole, I suggest you better stay away from the Camino in rural areas. I guess that there will be parallel paths.
    Have a good (and safe) riding!
     
  19. Jeff Crawley

    Jeff Crawley Veteran Member

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    Hi Nicole,

    Can I point you towards http://www.tyretotravel.com/

    Set up by a Dutch pastor (who is also a biker) to work out scenic routes away from main highways you can then transfer the route to a TomTom or Garmin GPS.

    What bike were you thinking of using by the way?

    Haven't seen any bikergrinos but leaving Burgos on a Sunday in 2012 there were about 100 bikes on a ride out - very respectful and all waved to us footsloggers.

    As an aside, sitting at a cafe in Fromista this September there was a very smartly dressed married couple with the big BMW GS tourer. As we chatted they apologised for asking but wondered if there was a well known hiking route nearby as they had seen a lot of people with rucksacks that day . . . .
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
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  20. Thornley

    Thornley Veteran Member

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    Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
    Thats why my next Camino Frances is by "Helicopter"
    In SDC Mark they will ask did i walk or ride ,
    I flew young man i will answer:cool:
    I might even take a stroll to Muxia , land on the grass approaching the village , WALK the 600m and stay @ Bar Lorena:)
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  21. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Gee you are being a bit tough on us cyclists - not ALL of us deserve this "tarred with the one brush" approach. I cycled much of the walking Camino in Sept 2015 - I used my bell; called out when I was passing; even stopped riding & walked when it was not safe (for me and the walkers).
    As for riding a bike on the Napoleanic trail - I would call that *&^%$*& (not for Forum eyes/ears). Cheers
     
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  22. Thornley

    Thornley Veteran Member

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    Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
    No such place mate , he was never there.
     
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  23. JillGat

    JillGat la tierra encantada Donating Member

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    Thank you, Saint Mike! I always appreciate the courteous bicyclists. There were a couple who swished by me very close on a tight trail and scared me to death because I didn't hear them coming. When I saw one of them later, having an afternoon nap in the albergue, I toyed with the idea of sidling up close to his bunk and suddenly screaming AAAEEEIIIII!! in his ear. Later I met him and he was so nice - an Italian guy - that I didn't have the heart to tell him off.
     
  24. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member

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    I have no problem at all with cyclists who understand that on a walking path walkers have precedence. I like them, in fact. So thank you, Mike, for your courtesy.
    As for the rest...I sincerely hope to be able to continue to successfully restrain the insane urge to push them over as they whiz by.
     
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  25. Jeff Crawley

    Jeff Crawley Veteran Member

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    Obviously a true saint and unique amongst cyclists. Could you come back and give us your views on cyclists after you've walked the camino in May?
     
  26. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Not a problem - oh and BTW - since I don't have ear pieces shoved into my ears I can usually hear a cyclist approaching and I also keep a watchful eye on both overtaking cyclists and walking pilgrims - who also push past on narrow sections of the track.
     
  27. Jeff Crawley

    Jeff Crawley Veteran Member

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    Ouchie!
     
  28. Thornley

    Thornley Veteran Member

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    Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
    Notre , Le Puy, Portuguese , Madrid , Mont St Michel or the really quiet places Mike...............no problems with bikes.
    More than one path mate
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  29. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    I notice the original poster has not been back.
     
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  30. Timar

    Timar New Member

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    Next year I'm planning to do my own "camino" by motorbike. I would love to do it on foot, but not yet. Of course on a motorbike there are some differences concerning fysical, mental, spiritual aspects. My feet won't hurt, but driving around for about 4200 km will also leave its marks. I'm planning to follow the camino frances to Compostela and return through the camino norte, following the roads , not the footpaths. I do have a reason to do this. As for the accommodation I fully understand that the albergues are meant for the "real" pilgrims.
    What do I expect of "my pilgrimage" ? I don't know, but I do hope to meet people, listen to their stories, and treat anyone with the same respect I will do, I'd like to share the spiritual moments, receive the blessings.
    I think it doesn't matter how you do it, as long you do it with an open heart and mind.
     
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  31. JillGat

    JillGat la tierra encantada Donating Member

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    I hope you write up your experience. I would love to read it. (I am leaving to walk the camino in a few days and am looking into renting a motorcycle to ride back to Barcelona afterwards).
     
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  32. Timar

    Timar New Member

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    Will do, most of my experiences can be followed on my blog, but as this is not in English, I will post my experiences on this forum.
     

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