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Easy/safe road routes first 7 days?

CaliHiker

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May/June 2018
I’m preparing to do the first 7 stages of Camino Frances with friends hiking. One of our group has a disability and will be unable to walk, but we’d really like for her to be able to join us. We’ve discussed having some of us bike and others walk. If we were going to have her bike the camino to Logrono, are there safe, smooth, enjoyable roads along that way after Roncevalles? She can’t do steep hills and we can‘t risk her falling as she has a metal leg that could be damaged.
 
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#1 - My experience is that the Camino always finds a way to provide.

#2 - Sounds like you and your friends have quite a set of challenges. I know people bike from Roncevalles so, of course, it can be done. As I recall, the road to Zubiri was a challenge walking as a new pilgrim, and I hear accommodations are getting tight. If your friend can't risk falling, is she using an adult "trike"? I assume she is an experienced bike rider and is comfortable riding along busy roads.

#3 - Your friend is so lucky to have friends who care this much about her. Your collective determination will see all of you through.

Buen Camino.
 
I can’t answer your question as I’ve always walked, but I’m pleased that you and your associates are asking the question. Many people have overcome difficulties beyond my comprehension and completed the Camino Frances, so I assume the answer will be yes. ‘Wheelchairpilgrim’ (who occasionally posts on here - the clue’s in the username) - is making her way across Europe in stages; for example.
 
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You're starting from Roncesvalles? Because the climb up the main road from SJPDP is a leg breaker.

The main road from Roncesvalles to Pamplona, the N-135, is smooth and relatively quiet. It's mostly downhill, but you can't hide from the climbs, such as the ~3km up to Puerto de Erro. No idea on entering and exiting Pamplona because I got lost when I did it, plus I picked a different way (with a massive climb) to Estella. The very quiet road, NA-1110, between Estella to Logrono is beautiful, you have to climb out of Estella but it's very moderate, however, moderate is relative.
 
E-trike?
Would solve both the uphill and balance issues to a certain extent.
Other than that the EV1 route goes along part of the way of the Frances.
May be worth a look
 
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What does your friend have to say about it? I think she is the one to be on this forum, involved in the planning. What I can say is that if by the ,"first seven days" you mean SJPP onwards you are choosing to start with a very hard day, but that you could have have a long glide downhill by missing out Pamplona and going direct to La Reina.
Your friend might be interested in using an e-bike. If so, they can be hired. E-trikes are a whole other question. Rental is nearly impossible, and transport by train or bus the same. I have got one myself, and I will tell you now that while I love it, there are difficulties which don't arise with a two wheel vehicle.
One other point. Some walking and some cycling will be difficult to synchronise. I've walked and cycled Caminos, so I'm not coming to this discussion with any bias.
I honestly think that you could have a better chance of making this work with a support vehicle, and all of you cycling or all of you walking, with everyone having one day driving. That way you could transport packs without having to decide too much in advance where you will stay, and you would have more flexibility about accommodation.

Where do you all live? Do you have a long journey before you start? How will you return home?

This isn't something you can decide without the participation of the person with the disability, so please ask her if she would like to post here. I'm sure many people have experience they can share that would help if you could give us a little more information about your plans.
 
You're starting from Roncesvalles? Because the climb up the main road from SJPDP is a leg breaker.

The main road from Roncesvalles to Pamplona, the N-135, is smooth and relatively quiet. It's mostly downhill, but you can't hide from the climbs, such as the ~3km up to Puerto de Erro. No idea on entering and exiting Pamplona because I got lost when I did it, plus I picked a different way (with a massive climb) to Estella. The very quiet road, NA-1110, between Estella to Logrono is beautiful, you have to climb out of Estella but it's very moderate, however, moderate is relative.
Yes, we’ll need to get transport form SJPDP to Roncevalles, but hoping to start the biking from there. The info you gave me is exactly what I am hoping to gather to assess what’s possible. Knowing that N-135 and NA-1110 are the route will help me map it as a starting point. I’ll note the hills and maybe we can figure out if she can do them or not.
 
E-trike?
Would solve both the uphill and balance issues to a certain extent.
Other than that the EV1 route goes along part of the way of the Frances.
May be worth a look
Yes, electric bike may indeed be the necessary way to go. I’ve noted the EV1 and will look that up.
 
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What does your friend have to say about it? I think she is the one to be on this forum, involved in the planning. What I can say is that if by the ,"first seven days" you mean SJPP onwards you are choosing to start with a very hard day, but that you could have have a long glide downhill by missing out Pamplona and going direct to La Reina.
Your friend might be interested in using an e-bike. If so, they can be hired. E-trikes are a whole other question. Rental is nearly impossible, and transport by train or bus the same. I have got one myself, and I will tell you now that while I love it, there are difficulties which don't arise with a two wheel vehicle.
One other point. Some walking and some cycling will be difficult to synchronise. I've walked and cycled Caminos, so I'm not coming to this discussion with any bias.
I honestly think that you could have a better chance of making this work with a support vehicle, and all of you cycling or all of you walking, with everyone having one day driving. That way you could transport packs without having to decide too much in advance where you will stay, and you would have more flexibility about accommodation.

Where do you all live? Do you have a long journey before you start? How will you return home?

This isn't something you can decide without the participation of the person with the disability, so please ask her if she would like to post here. I'm sure many people have experience they can share that would help if you could give us a little more information about your plans.
All good questions Barbara. I’m the forward scout for this as I walked the Frances in 2018 and seven of my friends joined me for one week of it starting in Logroño. Those same friends all want to do another week and would like to start hiking in SJPDP this time. Our good friend was left out the first time, and I’m committed to researching a solution to have her join us, in some way or another, this time.

My thought was to start biking in Roncevalles. The idea of a support vehicle has merit. We will book accommodation ahead of time.

We all mostly live in California, United States. We’ll arrive and depart via plane. Flying into Biarritz and out of Bilbao.

I’ll certainly ask her if she’d like to research on the forum if she feels like this is a possiblity. She has another surgery between now and then, so it’s tough to plan too far ahead. And of course I am not deciding anything for her, I’m merely scouting out the possiblities so that I can have a good discussion with her about it.
 
Have a look at Eurovelo 3 - the Pilgrim's route - which is from SJPP to Santiago along recognised cycle routes. The routes though are for competent road cyclists and your group may want to consider sharing the off road routes (as everyone else seems to do)

https://en.eurovelo.com/ev3

If you need an e-bike, there are plenty rental companies but overnight charging may be an issue if you use Alburgues.
 
Have a look at Eurovelo 3 - the Pilgrim's route - which is from SJPP to Santiago along recognised cycle routes. The routes though are for competent road cyclists and your group may want to consider sharing the off road routes (as everyone else seems to do)

https://en.eurovelo.com/ev3

If you need an e-bike, there are plenty rental companies but overnight charging may be an issue if you use Alburgues.
This is a great site! It shows the elevations along the way which is really helpful. We will book our accommodations ahead and I will be able to search for lodging that let’s us charge an eBike. Thanks Corned Beef!
 
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Yes, we’ll need to get transport form SJPDP to Roncevalles, but hoping to start the biking from there. The info you gave me is exactly what I am hoping to gather to assess what’s possible. Knowing that N-135 and NA-1110 are the route will help me map it as a starting point. I’ll note the hills and maybe we can figure out if she can do them or not.
Excellent! Well in that case you may want to take the NA-1110 from Pamplona to Estella too. I haven't done this my self, but since it runs mostly parallel to the A12, it'll be super quiet.

From the centre of Pamplona, head down to the University of Navarra in the south of Pamplona, jump on the NA-7027 which takes you onto the NA-6000 to Esparza. From there take the NA-6004 which will take you to the NA-1110 and you're sorted.

This route (N-135 > NA-1110) will be a very different kind of Camino, hardly any pilgrims. But the important thing for your friend is that roads are smooth and and quiet, and the panoramas are still beautiful.

P.S. an electric bike will nullify the climbs
 
This is a great site! It shows the elevations along the way which is really helpful. We will book our accommodations ahead and I will be able to search for lodging that let’s us charge an eBike. Thanks Corned Beef!
Just a heads up that, EuroVelo3 includes unsealed roads.

For example, the route from Subiza to Biurrun
 
@CaliHiker it sounds like an electric bike is the way to go, but in case you want an alternative to bike riding, my experience with a disabled friend may help. We had (now sadly deceased) a very good and dear friend who had a serious medical condition and very little lung capacity. We knew he would have trouble but he was still keen to go on camino with us. He solved the problem by using taxis whenever the going was too tough, checking out the maps and elevation charts and walking where he could, catching a taxi if not. No long bus trips, missing whole stages, the taxi rides he took were usually only to our next cafe con leche stop, and then he would walk again. We tended to take the road alternative if we felt he would "fade" and need transport unexpectedly. He "walked" with us for 12 days or so, and loved it. As did the local taxi drivers!
 
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All good questions Barbara. I’m the forward scout for this as I walked the Frances in 2018 and seven of my friends joined me for one week of it starting in Logroño. Those same friends all want to do another week and would like to start hiking in SJPDP this time. Our good friend was left out the first time, and I’m committed to researching a solution to have her join us, in some way or another, this time.

My thought was to start biking in Roncevalles. The idea of a support vehicle has merit. We will book accommodation ahead of time.

We all mostly live in California, United States. We’ll arrive and depart via plane. Flying into Biarritz and out of Bilbao.

I’ll certainly ask her if she’d like to research on the forum if she feels like this is a possiblity. She has another surgery between now and then, so it’s tough to plan too far ahead. And of course I am not deciding anything for her, I’m merely scouting out the possiblities so that I can have a good discussion with her about it.
That all sounds like a plan. Vehicle hire is fairly cheap in Spain unless you want a one way hire. Biarritz to Bilbao wouldn't be a difficult journey to return a car or possibly a van. If you want to talk about electric trikes PM me.
 

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