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Cycling camino

Stevenlou

Member
Past OR future Camino
None
We are cycling the camino in June 2019, we sail into santander, and was wandering whether to do the norte anyone have a cycling experience on the norte we like the idea of following the coast, also is it way marked along the route. 1st timer wanting to make right decisions, and have an enjoyable camino.
 
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I’m 62 and doing it with my 25 yrs old son in aug/September 2018
Hi there!
You will have a great trip. I started from Irun and cycled along the north coast to Bilbao then went south to Burgos and picked up the Frances trail and went west. Amazing journey but very tough for me in parts. Make sure you have the proper tyres.
 

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Tandem Graham

E ultreia e suseia, Deus adjuva nos
Past OR future Camino
Bike UK-SdC, Lana
Walk Le Puy-SdC
'22: VDLP
We cycled a tandem from Santiago to Santander in 2017 (having cycled through France and then beside the Camino Frances), roughly following the Del Norte in reverse. Be clear that it's lumpy on the coast and distinctly mountainous away from it. You need decent low gears!
Some parts of the del Norte pilgrim walkers' route are only cyclable on full mountain bikes, so we were on roads - mainly minor roads - most of the time. I echo the advice about tyres. Buy the most durable you can find (Schwalbe Marathons or similar) and practise puncture repairs before you go.
There is some waymarking - most of which we managed to miss because we were going the wrong way! A route guide would be handy - the Rother Guides are good. There are also some downloadable maps I understand, though I can't vouch for them.
The views are fabulous along the Northern Coast and, given decent weather, some great beaches too. Once you start heading South West, there is a day (or more) of serious climbing, rewarded with more views, but also greater likelihood of Galician rain. There are fewer pilgrims and fewer options for accommodation than on the CF and I imagine quite a culture shock once you join the hoards on the CF close to Arzua.
In summary, it's a great cycling route for those who like some up and down, with glorious scenery. It's very different from the Camino Frances but no less wonderful an adventure.
Buen Camino!
 
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
Some parts of the ... pilgrim walkers' route are only cyclable ...

There are lots of shared paths: for walkers and riders on horses and on bicycles.

There are some paths (trails) that are for only for horses.

There are some paths (trails) that are for only for cyclists.

And there are some that are only for walkers.

Why do cycists think a narrow path designed, or just grown like Topsy, for walkers can be used by them also? And at the same time.

Generally such trails are not safe for sharing in this way.

The pathway itself is not magic, as if some karma will descend if only the "official" path is used.

If cyclists do not feel safe on roads they should not feel safe on walkers pathyways either.
 
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Tandem Graham

E ultreia e suseia, Deus adjuva nos
Past OR future Camino
Bike UK-SdC, Lana
Walk Le Puy-SdC
'22: VDLP
Why do cycists think a narrow path designed, or just grown like Topsy, for walkers can be used by them also? And at the same time.
Hi Alwyn,
As you imply, most of the Camino trail hasn't been designed at all, particularly those caminos and chemins less formalised than the Camino Frances, so I agree that cycle pilgrims should keep under review whether a particular section of trail is suitable for two wheels, or best left for those with two (or four) feet.
But, there if there is some 'magic' on the 'official' trail it is the joy experienced in encounters and shared minutes/hours/days/coffees/breakfasts/water/wine with fellow pilgrims and of sharing the path, the pain, the journey, the views with many centuries of pilgrims who have gone before.
When fixing punctures, I have benefited from help (or enthusiastic encouragement!) from passing walking pilgrims. When on foot and tending to a fellow pilgrim in some distress, I have been offered water and first aid from passing cyclists.
For me, this is a significant reason for wishing to follow the official route, where it is safe and responsible to do so - with moderate speed, cheery tingalings of my bell and a willingness to slow down and stop to share with other travellers, rather than risk startling or injuring them!
 

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
As I get older, I tend to cycle the (often empty) roads much more in preference to the trails unless the latter are really convenient for both, as on the VDLP for example. But it is usually possible to "fuel up" at the same villages as the walkers and feel part of the community.
 
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cheery tingalings of my bell

@Tandem Graham , I agree with you in the often, but not always, experience in the magic of sharing with others at rest stops. And it does happen occassionaly when underway.

How can a cyclist cannot know in advance which pathways can be dual use.

A major reason why "tinalings" don't work for me is I am quite deaf ... So the first I knew of a cyclist was when they attempted to push past. At first I tried to regain my composure and stand aside as best I could. Nowadays, never.

My fervent prayer, for your sake, is that you and I only meet at rest stops.

Kia kaha (take care)
 

colmp

New Member
Hi there!
You will have a great trip. I started from Irun and cycled along the north coast to Bilbao then went south to Burgos and picked up the Frances trail and went west. Amazing journey but very tough for me in parts. Make sure you have the proper tyres.

I hope to cycle from Cherbourg down the French coast to Irun and then join the Camino Frances , any advice would be much appreciated. Starting in September, nd 70 years old
 

Tandem Graham

E ultreia e suseia, Deus adjuva nos
Past OR future Camino
Bike UK-SdC, Lana
Walk Le Puy-SdC
'22: VDLP
I hope to cycle from Cherbourg down the French coast to Irun and then join the Camino Frances , any advice would be much appreciated. Starting in September, nd 70 years old
That'll be a great adventure! I don't know how much cycletouring you've done, but happy to answer any questions you may have, either on this forum or by direct message.
You might want to join the UK pilgrim association (Confraternity of St James), who have lots of advice in their website and can put you in direct touch with others who've undertaken similar journeys recently.

Whether you have a roadbike or a hybrid, you should have tyres with good puncture protection and durability. If you prefer to be out of the traffic, the Velodyssey route down the French coast is well signposted and usually reasonably surfaced, though it often skirts around the interesting villages and places to see, restaurants etc. Or there are several tradirional pilgrim routes, not specifically for cyclists, which you can more or less follow on minor roads. Might also be worth a look at the Veloroute Francette, which follows a mixture of minor roads and former railway lines from the North Coast to La Rochelle. The accommodation options are more expensive than in Spain, though camping is an option.
Once on the Camino Frances, there are decisions to be made about following the roads or the hiking path. September will still be busy, with hundreds of pilgrims on every stage (including me, on foot this time!). As discussed earlier on this thread, if sharing the path, there is an obligation to go slowly, carefully and considerately.
Cicerone has a recently updated guide (which starts in Le Puy, but follows a mainly on road version of the Frances). If you can manage a bit of French or German, the Rother guides have very good maps and their routes manage to combine the most suitable parts of the path with low-traffic roads.
There is lots of talk of albergues prioritising walkers over cyclists, but in most instances there isn't an issue, where a cyclist isn't welcome, anorher option is always available.
I hope some of this is helpful, but do follow up with any specific questions; there's lots of expertise on this forum!
Good luck and buen camino!
 
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Past OR future Camino
please see signature
I hope to cycle ... the Camino Frances ,

@colmp , welcome to the forum. With much goodwill I sincerly hope you do not ride on the exact route taken by pilgrims on foot.

While there are numerous places where the foot route can easily be shared with cyclists there are equally numerous places wihere, even with much goodwill by walkers and cyclists, the path is not really sharable.

You may care to look at WayMarkedTrails - Cycling and in particular routes EV1 from Irun to Pamplona and then EV3 on to Compostella.

Kia kaha (take care, be strong, get going)
 

Cambridge Pilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
The 'walking' path is eminently sharable by walkers and cyclists so longs as both groups are courteous to each other. It's only selfishness of individuals of both groups that cause problems.

If you want to cycle the path... cycle the path, just as it is your right to do so.
 
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Vendee52

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France's SJPdP to Finisterre (2019)
Hello
I’m a first time Camino walker but usually do cycle trips - i’m walking this time since the “head” meditation/spiritual time is important to me. So I’m trying to come from a balanced point of view... but! Walkers can gently say “hola” and “Buen Camino “ to those they are passing aware that all walkers can hear is the crunch of their own feet. This doesn’t work well if cyclists try the same thing - please cyclists - use a loud bell at least 20 m away and be aware that walkers can’t move fast or safely due to the load they are carrying - sharing the path safely would be possible if cyclists could remember to do this perhaps?
 

Tandem Graham

E ultreia e suseia, Deus adjuva nos
Past OR future Camino
Bike UK-SdC, Lana
Walk Le Puy-SdC
'22: VDLP
Hello
I’m a first time Camino walker but usually do cycle trips - i’m walking this time since the “head” meditation/spiritual time is important to me. So I’m trying to come from a balanced point of view... but! Walkers can gently say “hola” and “Buen Camino “ to those they are passing aware that all walkers can hear is the crunch of their own feet. This doesn’t work well if cyclists try the same thing - please cyclists - use a loud bell at least 20 m away and be aware that walkers can’t move fast or safely due to the load they are carrying - sharing the path safely would be possible if cyclists could remember to do this perhaps?

Yes, the bell is important. I liked the Laurel-and-Hardy-style hooter which one bicigrino sounded!
I walk sometimes, cycle sometimes and even drive a car sometimes. Where I live, some narrow lanes require all three to share space. Amazing how much a little patience and mutual understanding can achieve.

But when I'm on the Camino on my bike, I also keep an eye out for signs the walkers ahead have heard my bell and/or shouted greeting. If not, I slow down to near walking pace, ready to stop.
Some people are hard of hearing. Others (including me when I'm on foot) are just 'in the zone'!
 

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