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Cycling Camino de Madrid - tips from my experience...

baker_999

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None!
I've just completed the Madrid route and wanted to share some thoughts for anyone else considering it:

1. Bike hire: I used Bike Iberia, and although the courier company they used gave away the parcel containing my panniers/lock/puncture repair kit etc (all I had on day 1 was a bike) - they were a good choice. I had to cycle from the SEUR Depot on the outskirts of town to a nearby bike shop to buy panniers, water bottle etc, they reimbursed and apologised and helped translate on the phone. Good folk. I never got a puncture or needed tools, but deffo worth having.

2. Pack as little as possible: some days you will spend a few hours cycling along rocky /bumpy /dirt trails. Weight will really slow you down, cause you to want to walk stretches, and bare in mind your knees will likely get sore if you're cycling several hours everyday with load. Padded shorts are a must, music and earphones helps a lot (if you're solo), and a battery pack for your phone. Besides that, cycling in May as I have been the weather was sublime, no rain, occasionally headwinds but sunny /bright and not too hot. I recommend 1x cycling shorts, 1x casual short, 2x tees, 1x train jacket, shoes you can trash, flip flops, factor 50, raw unfetted grit, ideally formed in a northern town of the UK.

3. Be careful from Cercidilla - when you leave this town the official Camino website talks about cyclists needing to take an alternative 'Republic road' which veers right as the walking caminos head up the Roman road. I never saw this road, and no was it highlighted on the Buen Camino app. Thus, several hours of hauling my bike up a roman road (utter hell) I reached the top and an astonished couple thought i was foreign, crazy or stupid, i was all three. So upon checking Google maps to sanity check that I definitely could not make out this "Republic road' they clarified it was not displaying on Google maps, nor in the camino map. You may notice a dotted line that runs around thr circumference of the national park, this is basically the cyclist road, but it's not mapped. Don't be stubborn and stupid like me, just take thr highway until the info on the camino website is cleared up. This was the biggest mistake i made all week!

4. Get the Buen Camino app. V helpful for understanding profile of each day.

5. Bring knee supports or anti inflammatory gel- helped loads with recovery, as did hot baths.

6. Don't under estimate distances. I averaged 50km per day. Once you're outside Madrid you're at the mercy of varying terrain (dirt road, tractor paths, battered roads, pebble riddled country paths) - as a general rule, I added an extra hour to hour and half each day to Google maps estimation of my journey time. The bumps/bike weight /sore knees etc will. Slow you down, but it's all good fun.


Happy to answer any questions should you have them.

Enjoy and good luck.
Dave
 

debra

Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
Thank you for your post.

Can I ask a couple questions,
How far do you cycle daily at home?
How much weight do you cycle with daily at home and on this camino?

Thank you
 

baker_999

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None!
Hi

I cycle everyday to work (around 5k each way, 10k total). And carry around 5kg in a backpack (i think). But i was surprised I found this harder than I expected, primarily because my knees hurt after day 1 and actually cycling a mountain bike (even at a slow /steady pace) for several hours is far different than a road bike (my usual whip). The tyres a thicker = more friction on the road =slower and you don't maintain speed anywhere near like you do with roadie.

Chow
 

debra

Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
Thank you for the fast reply.
I ask as I have read a reports on routes by people that don’t walk or cycle as very hard. Yet they don’t walk/cycle so I have not found the information very helpful in practice. Using the information of your normal ride gives you a ride report a lot more usability to me.
 

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