Search 57,387 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Published on Amazon
Guide to the 16 main caminos with maps, pictures, hyperlinks and other information.
Create your own ad
€1,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.

Cycling the VdlP on touring bikes

Kate McLaren

New Member
My friend and I (both middle-aged but reasonably fit women) are planning to cycle the VdlP next March/April. We have touring bikes and neither of us has ever mountain-biked or has any wish to do so. If we take the roads only, will we really miss out? We originally wanted to do the Camino Frances, but didn't think cycling over the Pyrenees in March was practical.

Would also like to know if the Via de la Plata, taking the roads, is impossibly hilly for the likes of us!

Many thanks.
 
Create your own ad
€1,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Holy Year Credential
Get the HOLY YEAR Camino Credential (Passport) here.

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
We cycled the VdlP on touring bikes on the road almost all the time. It will be a different experience to walking the paths but the places you pass through will be the same. The start of the journey is unexpectedly hilly (Sierra de Aracena) and it is also hilly a day before Salamanca (Sierra de Gredos) there are also big hills in the North whichever route you take but for two fit middle aged women they should not be too big a problem.

Personally if this is a first pilgrimage I would advise taking the Camino Frances and perhaps starting from Roncesvalles or Pamplona if the weather is not good. The VdlP will be much quieter than the CF and can seem like just a long bike ride without the comradeship of the CF.
 

Kate McLaren

New Member
I don't think I'm that bothered about the comradeship. There will be the two of us, and for me this is very much a pilgrimage. But I take your point about perhaps starting at Roncesvalles or Pamplona - would that sort the weather problem? I have no trouble with rain or mist or cold, but snow - no.
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Although you will not find snow in the South on the VdlP in March/April whichever version of it you take in the North is possible to be affected by snow. I remember seeing photos of snow in O Cebreiro as late as May. So the same apples to the CF though by starting at Roncesvalles and staying on the road you would miss the worst of any snow, Pamplona would be less affected but may not feel right for you.

If you are happy to take the VdlP as your first route I can say that you will be passing through some wonderfully historic cities and Easter time especially Holy Week is a great time to be in Spain. The weather should also be great for the journey - but no guarantees.
 

Davroos

Active Member
Having cycled the VDLP this year, I however, stuck to the track. We rode mountain bikes and personally, I feel you will miss out as there are some lovely secluded spots as you ride between the farms, or the Roman mile markers and bridges that you won't cross over and also the Roman arch which you won't ride through.

Good luck with what ever you do
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Published on Amazon
Guide to the 16 main caminos with maps, pictures, hyperlinks and other information.

skilsaw

Veteran Member
When I was on the VdlP in April/May of 2010 I had a few rainy days.

One wet day, I came across a couple of cyclists on Mtn bikes who were sticking to the walking route. Their tires were mired in clay so badly that their Vbrakes were full of mud and the wheels wouldn't turn.

If, by a touring bike, you mean one with 700 c wheels, some of the way is suitable for you if it is dry. Other sections are really steep and will require a 34 tooth cog on the back and preferrably a 26 or 28 tooth gear on the front.

But you can always move onto the road if the conditions call for it. And it is still a legitimate pilgrimage in my books.

Buen Camino,
David, Victoria, Canada
 

Kate McLaren

New Member
Thank you all. At present we are mainly battling with how to get there without (a) getting the bikes destroyed and (b) having to remortgage our house! It seems more complicated to get to the start of the Camino than to bike it! I will have a search among the topics as I am sure there will be some answers there already.
 

Philby68

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Portuguese; 2013 Camino via de la Plata
Hi from a couple of middle aged ( my wife reminds me that middle age has come and gone for me but I fail to acknowledge this sad truth) peregrines from Australia who are planning to cycle the Camino via de la Plata in March/April 2013. We would like to ride touring bikes similar to the ones we used earlier this year on the Camino Portuguese - which by the way was very wet and muddy.
We hope to avoid roads where possible as our experiences on the Camino Portuguese were often hairy and unpleasant. With the economic downturn in Portugal most drivers were avoiding those shiny new tollways and chose to use the paths that we were on.

Comments from Davros suggest that the larger wheeled hybrid bikes would work both on track and if necessary on the roads. This Camino we hope to avoid the hills (mountains) of northern Portugal and a google maps flyover of the via de la Plata suggests that it is pretty fair going, to at least Galicia.

Any tips for cyclists would be much appreciated.

Phil
 

Philby68

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Camino Portuguese; 2013 Camino via de la Plata
Hi Kate, you might be interested in hiring bikes in country...a couple of businesses deliver to your start hotel and pickup at your destination.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
Kate McLaren said:
My friend and I (both middle-aged but reasonably fit women) are planning to cycle the VdlP next March/April. We have touring bikes and neither of us has ever mountain-biked or has any wish to do so.

If you never tried a mountainbike,you owe it to yourself to try one. You might like it. My 63 year old wife won't ride anything else. Nice low gears, good brakes, smooth ride.......

She'd rather ride 10 km on a mtb on the road than one km on a trail on a touring bike.

The hybrid, sold as the best of both worlds, is actually the worst of both. If you want those in between type tires, well, they will go just fine on a mountain bike.
 
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

Davroos

Active Member
Comments from Davros suggest that the larger wheeled hybrid bikes would work both on track and if necessary on the roads. This Camino we hope to avoid the hills (mountains) of northern Portugal and a google maps flyover of the via de la Plata suggests that it is pretty fair going, to at least Galicia.
No, never mentioned a hybrid !!!

We rode mountainbikes and as Newfy said, the gears, oh the gears, you need them !!! As for it being fairly flat, I tend to disagree with that as well. If you look on this site, I have posted a blog with all my gps stats so you can see the heights we climbed. From day 1 we went up, especially through the parq Sierra Nord I think it was called. It was tough, but as I wrote before, the off road route is amazing, the seclusion, the relics and more, but one thing about this route compared to the Portuguese is that it can be very hard finding breakfast, sometimes you need to ride at least 20Ks to find food !!!

But trust me, I would do this one again.
 

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 100 ratings
Downloads
15,115
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
7,776
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,600
Updated
Top