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Cycling Paris-Epernay-Vézelay-SJPP

Camino(s) past & future
Mozárabe 2009
Vía de la Plata 2009
Arles-Puente la Reina 2016
Via Campaniensis (Reims-Vézelay) 2018
I definitely was not “match fit” for this adventure ride, although I do do a lot of yoga so I knew if I stuck with it for 2 weeks I’d be fine.
I’ve walked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, the Zanskar Valley in India along with the Camino Mozarabic and the Arle route to Puente la Reina so I knew what the trails would be like but I hadn’t cycled for years and had never done a long distance bicycle ride.
When I was in Andalusia I remember thinking how good it would be to go a bit faster on those long straights.
Well a cycle goes fast, right ???
First step buy a cycle !!!
Love the idea of packing a bike rather than backpacking, bikepacking !!!
Enter Salsa Fargo

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To be continued ....
 
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Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
I presume a carrier and panniers will be added later? I've always wondered about the luggage of 'bikepackers': they seem to carry more gear with them than I do when walking.
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
I presume a carrier and panniers will be added later? I've always wondered about the luggage of 'bikepackers': they seem to carry more gear with them than I do when walking.
Of course they do. A walker does not need to carry bike tools, spare tubes etc., but a bike can bear more weight than your back can. Real bikepacking, however, is a exercise in minimalism and doesn’t require panniers, although it may well require blind faith and an unlimited credit card.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
Of course they do. A walker does not need to carry bike tools, spare tubes etc., but a bike can bear more weight than your back can. Real bikepacking, however, is a exercise in minimalism and doesn’t require panniers, although it may well require blind faith and an unlimited credit card.
I figured there would be some bike tools involved. And I guess that, especially with panniers, more space invites more stuff. The same goes for walking with a backpack that is too large: you have to be somewhat disciplined to avoid stuffing it to the brim with 'just in case'. I'll get there one day...
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
Although I pack less than I used to, the panniers still weigh well over 10kg. The effort of hauling excess baggage around, however, usually results in a 7kg loss in body weight, so I can persuade myself that it’s not necessary to saw the handles off bike tools and toothbrush, or to leave the book behind!
 

Kat Kostrzewska

Online guide https://caminodesantiagobybike.co.uk
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2018), Via Tolosana (2012) Camino Norte (2014)
I presume a carrier and panniers will be added later? I've always wondered about the luggage of 'bikepackers': they seem to carry more gear with them than I do when walking.
Yes, we do. Mostly because we can! Look at us on the Camino loaded down with luggage. If you wonder – all of the essential tools weight less than 1 kg…
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mozárabe 2009
Vía de la Plata 2009
Arles-Puente la Reina 2016
Via Campaniensis (Reims-Vézelay) 2018
Ah yes the luggage system !!! With Bikepacking the main areas where one can store luggage are at the handlebar, the seat post and within the frame and on the top tube.

With the handlebar system I decided to go with Bike Bag Dude sling and roll top bag with a Relevate Egress Pocket.
The roll top bag has sleeping gear a down jacket and a spare pair of bib shorts. The pocket is quick release and has passport, money, glasses and trail food etc...
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The seatpost bag is a Relevate Terapin 14L, it holds all my clothing, toiletries, towel and electronic charging gear.
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The frame bag is also from Bike Bag Dude it holds spare parts, tubes, pump, camelback (water), first aide kit, arm/leg warmers.
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Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
And an old-school Brooks saddle... I like your style, pilgrim.
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
And an old-school Brooks saddle... I like your style, pilgrim.
A heavyweight concession to comfort rather than style perhaps?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mozárabe 2009
Vía de la Plata 2009
Arles-Puente la Reina 2016
Via Campaniensis (Reims-Vézelay) 2018
To continue on from luggage I arrived in Paris October 7, assembled the bike in the lobby of the hotel, bought an Orange SIM card, got my credential stamped at Notre Dame Cathedral, then rode East out of Paris following the Reims-Paris Camino route in reverse.
Wow what a fabulous way to ride out of a big city, beautiful lanes through magnificent parkland along the river Marne.
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Camino(s) past & future
Mozárabe 2009
Vía de la Plata 2009
Arles-Puente la Reina 2016
Via Campaniensis (Reims-Vézelay) 2018
Initially I stayed in hotels found on Booking.com and was very happy that they usually let me keep my bike in the room.
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The first night was in Chelles then Meaux, Château Thierry then Epernay where I turned South to join the Via Campaniensis to Vezelay.
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The gps tracks I downloaded from https://www.santiago.nl/downloads were very accurate, without them I would have had trouble staying on the trail even though there are GR markers they are difficult to see.
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Some sections were very steep and slippery so I had to find a way round but all in all fabulous riding and my legs were not sore in the mornings no matter how much they burned in the evening.
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If the grade was very steep I got off and walked the bike, I had the best trolley imaginable and I could ride it !!!
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The weather has been perfect the Gods are smiling, for now.
 

michael

Member
Hi Mike
Another Fargo rider here and user of 'soft bag' luggage.
How is the bike holding up?
How was your tyre choice? Are the knobblies ok or would something like a G-one touring tyre work?
Tubed or tubless?
I would be interested in your packing list. Are you carrying camping gear?
Also be interested in brake pad life and daily maintenance schedule plus spares list vs what is available locally?
I don't know what prices are like but I assume the common bike parts and spares are readily available.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mozárabe 2009
Vía de la Plata 2009
Arles-Puente la Reina 2016
Via Campaniensis (Reims-Vézelay) 2018
Hi there Michael, the bike has been fantastic, the only maintenance needed has been adjusting the brake pads (I have Avid BB7s, I found how to adjust on YouTube). 2000km and still on the same pads. I also needed to tighten the headset again YouTube helped.
The chain I lubed when it felt a little crunchy in certain gears (about every 2 days, rain usually meant more lube but again when it felt crunchy lube !!).
I have DT Swiss spokes and DT Swiss XM481 wheels which are very strong, Maxxis Ardent Race tyres 29x2.35 tubeless with Stans sealant, 18-20 psi which is good in the rough and muddy conditions, if there is a long road section 26psi but there really aren’t that many long road sections.
Bring spares all the bike shops I checked didn’t have what I would have needed !!!
The spares/tools I brought with me were:
Dry Lube, electrical tape, pressure gauge, cable ties, Allen keys, Torx (brake pad adjust), 2x Tyre levers, pump, 2x tubes, patch kit, type plugs, brake pads, brake/gear cables, spare chain link, chain breaker, spoke key, 2x derailleur hangers, chain breaker, spoke key.
No camping !!! As much as I love camping October/November is too late, if you want to wash and dry your clothes each night. I mostly stayed in hostels as I do not like dormitory style accommodations.
Best items were Showers Pass Elite rain jacket and pants and the Showers Pass Waterproof socks and gloves.
Trail runners are the go as you’ll push the bike lot !!
Next best advice NOTHING on your back !!!
I had one set of riding clothes and 2 sets of night clothes.
I hope this helps
 

michael

Member
Michael
Thanks for the detailed reply. Really surprised that the local bike shops don't have spares. Need to rethink that bit. Probably need to carry a whole spare chain as will be riding through Germany and France before heading for Santiago.
I also run XM481s on 240S hubs. I find DTS wheels pretty bomb proof.
Strange about the HS although I do find myself checking mine occasionally to see if I am imagining some movement.
I changed from BB7's to Spyres mainly because I couldn't find the sweetspot to stop them howling under braking. No need to ring the bell for walkers though just a touch on the levers would make enough noise to attract attention.
Are you running a dynamo? I see some powerful lights and gps or did you manage to recharge overnight?
I might replace the Woodchippers with a Jones Loop bar for the trip. I ride on the hoods most of the time any way and for several weeks riding a more relaxed 'dutch style' might be easier. Comment about a pack back or lack of also noted.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Mozárabe 2009
Vía de la Plata 2009
Arles-Puente la Reina 2016
Via Campaniensis (Reims-Vézelay) 2018
Hi Michael,
Do you plan to take any of the Camino trails through France ?
As far as spares go you can only count on specialised bike shops in the bigger cities to have a 29” tyre or tube, chains I’m not sure.
I have a Timber bell but most walkers don’t hear bells so you need to slow down and call out “hola” with a smile 😀.
The Son dynamo hub runs the Sinewave Beacon and tail light, the other lights are See.Sence Icon which I only use in flash mode (to be seen on busy roads) they connect to my iPhone via Bluetooth and have a movement detector which sends a theft alert giving me a bit of security when in a shop but I never let the bike get very far from me.
The GPS is a Montana 650T, in the right display mode the battery will last 7-8 hours but I do carry a spare battery anyway.
Because I stay in Hostals/Hotels the GPS and phone get charged each night from a wall socket.
Initially I had small mud guards but they got binned because thick mud and grass create mud bricks and locked wheels. Digging the mud out with the guard in the way and no stick in site can be a real pain.
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I forgot to mention the Leatherman in the tools list.
 

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