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Cycling from Bilbao

Raj Kumar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
After reading about different routes and it's advantages and disadvantages, I finally decided to take the North route, starting from Bilbao. It was based from practical considerations for cycling.
I can get to and from the route from London airport with no further travelling in buses or trains with my bike. The route is asphalt and that does make a difference to cycling. It is said that it is bit hillier, but hey, I am a cyclist, we love climbing
 

Raj Kumar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
I took the Saturday morning flight from Stansted. Landed at Bilbao in early afternoon on Saturday.
The airport is not a busy at all. The baggage collection area was almost empty. Therefore I decided to assemble the bike then and there itself.
The bike has survived the journey with minor damage to its front break. It needed bit of repair. It is all ready to go.
I have looked at Google maps and decided that it is safe and easy to start riding from the airport itself.
Journey to the city centre was uneventful. It was good ride. Motorists were very considerate of cyclists and there are plenty of them on the road. I arranged an airbandb place before traveling. The host was kind, let me keep the bike inside the house. The real jouneg begins tomorrow.
 

Raj Kumar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
It's Sunday morning and therefore roads are not busy at 8 am. It was not so difficult to get to N634. When I saw the walkers on the road, I realized that I am on the correct route.
I use Garmin Edge tour with open street maps. I downloaded the route from ride with GPS website.
But the route is not accurate at all. It leads you along the highway where you are not allowed to cycle. Finally I decided that this route only provide a general guide on direction of travel and I will need to use common sense and of course Google maps to keep me on a suitable road for cycling.
 

Raj Kumar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
I decided to write my experience here because I found it very difficult to find reasonably practical information about cycling the Camino.
I reached Santona by about 3pm. Now the Spanish restaurant opening times are not so compatible with eating habits of a touring cyclist. I would like to have a good meal within an hour of stopping cycling. Then have an early dinner and go to bed early. I need a good rest before I start cycling the following day. Most Spanish restaurant stop serving lunch by 3 and dinner would not be available at least till 8- 8.30.
So it is a problem. Luckily I found a place still serving "bar food" at 3 and a restaurant which was open almost all day.
I could not get my stamp at the hotel. I walked up to the church and they asked me to come on the following day.
Will go without a stamp. I know I did it. That is what matters.
 

James Morgan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to cycle. I don't know if I'll do the French one or the Norte yet.
Thanks for the account. I'd wondered about cycling that route.
 

Raj Kumar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2017
I did not take the signposted walking route. Instead, I cycled on the main road which often runs parallel to the walking route. Those main roads still had Camino signs and warning to drivers to be aware of Camino walkers and cyclists on the road. It is very safe to ride. Drivers are used to cyclists as there are plenty of non Camino cyclists on the road as well.

From Santiago, it is again easy to cycle to the airport. Once you reach the perimeters of the airport, there is a separate walking / cycling route which takes you directly to the terminal building.

Later while relaxing in front of the cathedral, I met many other cyclists who are on more expensive and sophisticated mountain bikes. I talked to a couple of them. They have taken the CF route. According to them, taking the walking route even on a mountain bike was difficult and in some parts, they have to walk with the bike. They agreed that it would have been easier to do it in a hybrid or even a road bike on the parallel road rather than taking the walking route.

There are few places in Santiago which offer cleaning, packing and transporting the bike to various parts of the world. When I asked them one of those companies quoted £100 to take it to the UK. Of course, most airlines will take about 35 to 50.

The North route is hilly. On some days it involves climbing 3000- 4000 feet. Minimum was about 1500 feet. Therefore this will usually be classified as challenging or level 3C. But of course, you can do it at a slower pace.

If you have any questions, please do ask.
Buen Camino...
 

James Morgan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Plan to cycle. I don't know if I'll do the French one or the Norte yet.
I did a route from Burgos to Leon in June of 2017 roughly parallel to the walking route, aside from mistakenly going out of my way about 10 miles. I was able to find my way and avoid major highways using Google and Open Maps (maps.me), but on some back roads it was difficult to see if a route would be paved or dirt from the map. The dirt roads were pretty good, but slowed me down a little.
From Leon the road near Santiago was reputed to be narrow, curvy and dangerous, so I instead took lovely train ride through the mountain passes down to Vigo, then bicycled to Braga in Portugal, again looking for roads near the Portuguese camino.
Accommodations were plentiful and easily to find with booking.com. One thing I would recommend is a cycling outfit that covers you completely from the sun. The weather between Burgos an Leon is so hot and dry you'll have a hard time working up a sweat that doesn't dry immediately, but I saw a badly sunburned cyclist from Austria who had short sleeves and shorts. I used light weight convertible pants, padded underwear and a longsleeved cycling shirt. I imagine August would be even worse than June. Nearer the coast the humidity was higher, but the temperature a little lower.
 

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