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Cycling the Camino Frances in April 18

Camino(s) past & future
Cycling from SJPDP 13 Apr 18 on the Frances and back to Santander via the Del Norte
#1
Would appreciate any advice on cycling from SJPDP from 13 Apr 18. The first section looks the most challenging. Is it possible to cycle the Napoleon (if open) or the Valcarlos route? I am a competent and fit 'off road' cyclist used to covering long distances and steep hills. From what I can glean from previous threads it appears to be possible with an expectation that I will need to walk some of the steepest sections.
 

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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#2
I'm no cyclist and others may have better advice, but as no-one has replied and I've done both routes, I'll proffer some information.

April 13 is very early in the season and the weather very chancy. I'd wait to decide which route until at SJPDP and then take advice from the helpers in the pilgrims office. If the forecasted weather is at all unfavourable, then take the Valcarlos route and stick to the road. Bad weather in the Pyrenees can be life threatening.

There is a pathway that shadows the Valcarlos road, but after Valcarlos it would be very difficult I think, in early April, as it is likely to be wet - so muddy, narrow and slippery. It runs up and down galleys and through beech forests.

A lot of the Napoleon is on a minor road up, then one section a track across fairly open country, and then narrow (and can be muddy) along the border fence, then the last section where there is a choice of going down a very steep slippery slope through the beech forest, or taking the slightly longer minor road.

If you are lucky and the weather is bright and sunny, you may be fine on the Napoleon - but the walkers will not be impressed when you try to pass on the narrow sections.

Take care and enjoy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#3
I’ve only walked Valcarlos, but the walking path sections would have been difficult single track riding. Stick to the road, and the elevation alone will give you plenty of challenge for your first day. I suspect that the Napoleon route may still have snow in April, and the cyclists I met who took that route, even in the summer, did not have fond memories of the difficulties.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cycling from SJPDP 13 Apr 18 on the Frances and back to Santander via the Del Norte
#4
Thank you both for the excellent advice which is exactly what I need to inform sensible decision making. It sounds like sticking to the road would be the best option for day one.
 

ForrestUS

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Finisterre starting May 12th
#5
I'm no cyclist and others may have better advice, but as no-one has replied and I've done both routes, I'll proffer some information.

April 13 is very early in the season and the weather very chancy. I'd wait to decide which route until at SJPDP and then take advice from the helpers in the pilgrims office. If the forecasted weather is at all unfavourable, then take the Valcarlos route and stick to the road. Bad weather in the Pyrenees can be life threatening.

There is a pathway that shadows the Valcarlos road, but after Valcarlos it would be very difficult I think, in early April, as it is likely to be wet - so muddy, narrow and slippery. It runs up and down galleys and through beech forests.

A lot of the Napoleon is on a minor road up, then one section a track across fairly open country, and then narrow (and can be muddy) along the border fence, then the last section where there is a choice of going down a very steep slippery slope through the beech forest, or taking the slightly longer minor road.

If you are lucky and the weather is bright and sunny, you may be fine on the Napoleon - but the walkers will not be impressed when you try to pass on the narrow sections.

Take care and enjoy!
I myself will be biking the Camino starting May of 2018.. my question to you is I'm having a bike delivered to me in Pamplona and we'll be starting there traveling to Santiago then to Cape finistere is this still considered the Camino Frances by this route?
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Cycling from SJPDP 13 Apr 18 on the Frances and back to Santander via the Del Norte
#6
Yes, this very much constitutes the majority of the Camino Frances. From what I have learned through my research the majority of cyclists start that route in Pamplona. The wisdom being that there is little to be gained from trying to cycle the first section from SJPDP as it is not suitable for bikes. I am only starting from SJPDP as I am flying into Biarritz and it is a convenient place to begin.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#8
Yes @ForrestUS - there is no "official" starting point, it is quite arbitrary. To get the Compostela you have to walk at least 100km into Santiago de Compostela, or cycle at least 200km into Santiago Compostela.
 

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