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Ebikes.

Dancecrime

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances - 2013
Camino de Portugues - 2017
Camino de Frances - 2020
Hello fellow Pilgrims!

My father has expressed some interest in coming on the Camino with me this year however he has let himself go physically over the last few years and I would like to hire him an Ebike.

On the forums I discovered bikeiberia.com and contacted them - they are basically charging $40 AUD per day for a 37 day Camino. He feels this price is a bit steep therefore I am hoping someone can recommend another company?

Secondly we will be transiting through Pamploma on the way to SJDP so another option might be to grab one there however we would have to be able to get it picked up in Finesterre or Santiago if that's not possible.


Please advise if you can specifically help with this query.


PS: I cant wait to get back out on those trails come June!
 

debra

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP 2010, Frances 2010
Via Francigena 2014 bicigrino
Way of St. Francis 2017 bicigrino
Please note I have never bought a bike from decathlon but when looking at 1480 it may be better to look at buying a bike and leaving it/shipping it home if he liked it.
https://www.decathlon.es/es/browse/c0-deportes/c1-ciclismo/c3-bicicletas-electricas/_/N-10qp337 their range is from 700eur to 2000eur

Sorry but I don't know a ton on bike rental company but I would be looking at more than one for prices.

Based on your 37 day are you planing to have him ride with you as you walk? If so that is a lot harder to do than it sound as balancing at low/walking speeds with bags is hard. At 37 day that is walking/biking 25km a day he may find it more enjoyable to be visiting some of the close to the main route sites that most walker skip, do you have maps with this information? On a bike or ebike he will be hard pressed to go slower than 10km/hour. Any thoughts on if he will enjoy sitting around in the villages waiting for you to arrive? In bigger town waiting will be easy and fun but in the smaller villages it may be less fulfilling. Second I know in 2010 biker were not permitted to check in to albugues until 3pm(this may no longer be the case), what are your plans for lodging?

Going on camino with your father sounds great but you may want to try out the walking and biking to a spot 25km away to see how it works for the two of you before getting to Spain.
 

Caminobill

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cf 2002, Cf 2013 , Norte 2016, VDLP May 2018
Hello fellow Pilgrims!

My father has expressed some interest in coming on the Camino with me this year however he has let himself go physically over the last few years and I would like to hire him an Ebike.

On the forums I discovered bikeiberia.com and contacted them - they are basically charging $40 AUD per day for a 37 day Camino. He feels this price is a bit steep therefore I am hoping someone can recommend another company?

Secondly we will be transiting through Pamploma on the way to SJDP so another option might be to grab one there however we would have to be able to get it picked up in Finesterre or Santiago if that's not possible.


Please advise if you can specifically help with this query.


PS: I cant wait to get back out on those trails come June!
I did the VDLP 2018 Cadiz to Santiago and used “ Bicigrino “ they were great,delivred to my hostel and have a great hotel/hostel they use in Santiago . Give them a try for a quote , bike was brand new, new waterproof bags, tool kit, water bottle, great lock. Good luck Caminobill
 

Martin.P

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Algarvinia (Sept 12)
Camino Frances (June 16)
Via de la Plata (May 19)
Finisterre (July 16)
Hi, I'll 2nd Caminobill's recommendation. I used Bicigrinos.com on both the Frances & Via de la Plata. For the Frances they are affiliated with bike shops en route which give free service for most breakdowns.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Hi, I'll 2nd Caminobill's recommendation. I used Bicigrinos.com on both the Frances & Via de la Plata. For the Frances they are affiliated with bike shops en route which give free service for most breakdowns.
Here's the bicigrino.com rental page.

 

Martin.P

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Algarvinia (Sept 12)
Camino Frances (June 16)
Via de la Plata (May 19)
Finisterre (July 16)
Going along with what Debra has suggested, u will really need to look into the practicalities of a combined walk/bike Camino, i.e. condition of trail segments, speed (5k per hour V's min bike speed), ease of leaving/re-joining trail, re-charging points, even holding a conversation walking alongside a biker. There are a lot of stretches where the bike will need to be pushed or lifted also. As early as the 1st or 2nd stage this will be tested. We had a wet stage ascending the Pyrenees & we found it tough for 2 experienced bikers although the downhills are exhilarating if you have a quiet path, albeit dangerous.

Alternatively if your Father stuck to the roads until the "known" flat sections of wide trail it would be a lot safer, but this would take the "togetherness" out of your camino. Some scoff at biking the Camino as an easy solution, don't be fooled by this, your whole body will take the impact & strain of every bump, rise & drop with or without battery pack.

Before u go any further take Debra's suggestion up, find a trail wide & narrow, bike/walk it together & see how u get on.

U could always bike it with your father, this would remove some of the obstacles we have highlighted?

Whatever you do I wish u well, it is a truly great experience, Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Based on some of the above posts maybe you should consider renting a pedal bike for yourself. Then you will be traveling together the whole way. Also the trip won't take as long and even with two bikes you may save on lodging, food and rental costs.
 

Dancecrime

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances - 2013
Camino de Portugues - 2017
Camino de Frances - 2020
Thanks for the tips guys Ill hit up bicgrino for a price!
 

Caminobill

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cf 2002, Cf 2013 , Norte 2016, VDLP May 2018
Thanks for the tips guys Ill hit up bicgrino for a price!
I should add that cycling the Camino is not without hurdles, I was lucky to team up on my second day with Alex from Argentina, many Albergue do not have a secure place to store bikes , especially an expensive bike. Alex with Spanish first language was often able to negotiate a place with security for our bikes. On the VDLP we were to ride say 70% of the track but speep hills, loose rock etc made it not feasible. Cheers Bill
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
From a selfish point of view - as a walker I simply hate the thought of ebikes on the walking trail. Normal bikes are bad enough. Please, if you are going to use an ebike - use it on the minor roads that parallel the path. And I cannot imagine having to lift the weight of an ebike up some of the stony, rocky or muddy, wet paths.
@Dancecrime as someone who is themselves older (nearly 70) and very unfit - can I say that I'd rather walk the camino than try to ride it. Anytime. And I'm always so grateful for the fitness that results from a long, slow, walked camino.
I might think differently if I were riding on a road, which is designed for wheels.
 

Xali1970

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
I used cycling-rentals.com for a 2 week trip.
Great service, bikes delivered to our departure hotels and picked up on arrival. Flexible and helpful.
Re ebike, i can only recommend them. I use one at home most days.
There are a number of e-guides that have very detailed information regards the caminos and the alternative routes for bicycles. I used Peregrino online guides for the VDLP, where alternative sections for bicycle are detailed, all bicycle repair shops in an area listed and which albergues are bicycle friendly with secure off street storage. Never had an issue with it. When in hotels never had an issue with it either.
With the ebike it's a good idea to inquire if it has a "walk" function. When walking uphill pushing the darned thing the engine moves the bike for you. You only have to keep it upright. These things with luggage are heavy.
I cycled the VDLP twice. Once sticking to the road and once sticking to the trail unless recommended not to. The trail was the better experience.
 

Xali1970

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
Also, just thought of it. Buying an ebike locally and shipping it back isn't really an option. The large battery pack will classify it as dangerous freight, making sending by air or by regular postal service impossible. You'll need to look for specialist cargo.
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), CP (rebooked) (2020)
I'm going to second @Xali1970. I've looked at shipping an ebike in and out of Europe this year and so far it is an impossibility. You can ship a bike (minus the battery) but not both. You'll be taking a €500 - €600 hit if you have to leave the battery behind.

Going cross country on rail is a possibility but very expensive or slow (if you have to use certain trains)

Economics on ebikes favours rentals at the moment.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Hi, my 2 cents worth. If he rides an ordinary bike, even on roads, he will be walking some of the time, as he's not super fit. If you hire one bike, and you walk you won't see a lot of each other during the day. You can get (buy, I don't think you can easily rent) all terrain e-bikes, but you can forget about 700 euros. Add a zero.
Bikes on the marked trail in some places aren't a great idea anyway, too many walkers for either the cyclist or the walkers to be safe. Other tracks no problem, use common sense and a bell.
How about hire two normal bikes, and just accept that you will be doing short distances? Sometimes on roads, sometimes on the wider bits of the trail. I have done my Caminos by bike, with a donkey, with a rucksack, and with a hybrid e-bike so have some idea. Private albergues will take bikes no problem, and usually have storage. If you do go for e-bikes charging is no problen as long as the battery is easily removeable, so you can charge it inside as not all bike garages have power points. Check before you hire, not all of them are.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Well as some one who has both cycled the Frances and also walked it I can say they are two totally different experiences.
Now about the ebike - unless there has been a rule change that I have not kept up with - ebike pilgrims do not qualify for a compostela. Ordinary bicgrenos have to ride the last 200 km to qualify.
How will an ebike cope with the Camino Frances ? - well from my personal observations - bloody poorly,. In fact I would actually advise against it for the section between Pamplona and Burgos. I cycled this section in 2015 and tried to (stupidly as turned out) to follow the walkers trail. Eventually I came to my senses and rode the N111 . From Burgos it is possible to ride the Meseta either on the unsealed paths/local roads or the main roads where the Senda parallels them.
If I may I suggest that you and your dad travel to Spain together - have three or four days exploring the Basque Navarra region - even up to the Bay of Biscay. You can then walk from Pamplona to Burgos (Dad can pop over to Barcellona ). From Burgos you could both hire a bike to ride the Meseta to Leon. After a day's rest in Leon you and dad can probably walk to Cruz de Ferro (take your time - 5 days say). You could then organise a taxi to take dad to Ponferrada for him to do a bit of self exploring and the meet up with you to walk the last two or three days into Santiago.
BTW since its most unlikely any of us will be walking the Camino in 2020 dad has an extra year to develop some level of fitness. Buen Camino.
 

anthikes

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 SJPdP > SdC
2018 Porto > SdC
2019 Sevilla > SdC
I remember seeing a pilgrim on a motor scooter once! Think it was Fromista or somehwere near. Maybe a scooter would be a more economical way rather than an ebike?
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
You can travel any way you want as long as you don't want a Compostela on arrival. If you do want the paperwork then it's last 100km on foot, or 200 by bike. In order, no jumping around, no skipping any and two stamps a day.
Some albergues won't let you stay if using motorised transport or bag transport. There are plenty that will, however, and a fair number of hotels. In the end you will just have to decide what suits you, and of course your father.
You have time to think about it....
 

Introvert Fab

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2020
Is it possible to rent a bicycle just for a day?
It will be my first time on the Camino and I would like to know if this is a possibility for days when I'll be exhausted.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
I expect so. I think you might have to return it to the same place. Why not just take a rest day from time to time? Stay in a cheap hotel, see the sights, relax. It's not supposed to be a race.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
How will an ebike cope with the Camino Frances ? - well from my personal observations - bloody poorly,.
I'll chime in here Mike. We keep a couple of ebikes in France, and while they cope just fine with the trails, they are not practical in some other ways.

We've ridden a zillion different routes of the St James network. We are fairly skilled on a mt bike, and ride the trails where ever we can. That would include 95% of the Frances. At the same time, we're getting older--my wife turns 71 in a few weeks, so we're happy to get a bit of pedal assist from an ebike. The last two trips we've done a mixture of French Chemin St Jacques and GR's through France on the ebikes. We've rolled back ten years in the decline of our abilities.

The ebike allows one to haul bit bigger and softer tire (we run 2.8") and better suspension, without crawling like a pig on the paved section. They are a bit heavier, but with gear the relative change is not huge. They allow you to creep up technical climbs, not need to get up momentum to bash over an obstacle. Overall, I'd say they are more trail capable than our old bikes.

They also offer security when for some reason you have to push on extra km (for example one place we were going to stay the proprietor had a heart attack that week). Or last year, when one of us got a respiratory ailment on the plane and spent the two weeks of preparatory rides on the sofa.

That said, they are not going to make a biker out of someone who isn't: I have often said one must learn to bike off road with gear before launching onto a Camino. You need some skills, balance, technique, and that doesn't come in a battery.

Also, they are not cheap. I no more recommend department store bikes than I do department store packs and shoes. This is doubly true with an ebike; if a battery won't get you through a day it becomes dead weight when you need it most.

Finally, they are really hard to ship legally. We bought the bikes in the USA, and kept the batteries here as our spare set. We then bought batteries in France (600 euros each) and clicked them in when we arrived. We found a place to store the bikes there so we're ready to go when we make our annual trip. For us it beats renting, but for most, renting, also not cheap, would be the way to go.

As far as interacting with hikers, we've been doing this for 20 years, we slow down, say hello, never ran one over on a regular bike, and still haven't had a problem on the ebike.



ebf2.JPG


ebf1.JPGeb3.JPG
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hi newfydog, long time no hear from you. Whilst I have no persona experience of an e_bike I understand where you are coming from. I think what I was referring to as having difficulty coping with "parts" of the Frances I would include the Alto del Perdon (although it would be manageable where the rider was experienced). On other sections there are suitable detours. As for interaction with with the walkers - well that's where a "real" bell comes into its own. Cheers
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), CP (rebooked) (2020)
I would include the Alto del Perdon
Seems there is a route.

I was amazed to find that the little bit of scrub road by the Mirador is actually the NA-6056
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Walked from Astorga to SDC in May 2012.
Cycled the Frances from SJPP May 2014
Cycled the Portuguese from Lisbon May 2016
I'll chime in here Mike. We keep a couple of ebikes in France, and while they cope just fine with the trails, they are not practical in some other ways.

We've ridden a zillion different routes of the St James network. We are fairly skilled on a mt bike, and ride the trails where ever we can. That would include 95% of the Frances. At the same time, we're getting older--my wife turns 71 in a few weeks, so we're happy to get a bit of pedal assist from an ebike. The last two trips we've done a mixture of French Chemin St Jacques and GR's through France on the ebikes. We've rolled back ten years in the decline of our abilities.

The ebike allows one to haul bit bigger and softer tire (we run 2.8") and better suspension, without crawling like a pig on the paved section. They are a bit heavier, but with gear the relative change is not huge. They allow you to creep up technical climbs, not need to get up momentum to bash over an obstacle. Overall, I'd say they are more trail capable than our old bikes.

They also offer security when for some reason you have to push on extra km (for example one place we were going to stay the proprietor had a heart attack that week). Or last year, when one of us got a respiratory ailment on the plane and spent the two weeks of preparatory rides on the sofa.

That said, they are not going to make a biker out of someone who isn't: I have often said one must learn to bike off road with gear before launching onto a Camino. You need some skills, balance, technique, and that doesn't come in a battery.

Also, they are not cheap. I no more recommend department store bikes than I do department store packs and shoes. This is doubly true with an ebike; if a battery won't get you through a day it becomes dead weight when you need it most.

Finally, they are really hard to ship legally. We bought the bikes in the USA, and kept the batteries here as our spare set. We then bought batteries in France (600 euros each) and clicked them in when we arrived. We found a place to store the bikes there so we're ready to go when we make our annual trip. For us it beats renting, but for most, renting, also not cheap, would be the way to go.

As far as interacting with hikers, we've been doing this for 20 years, we slow down, say hello, never ran one over on a regular bike, and still haven't had a problem on the ebike.



View attachment 75135


View attachment 75137View attachment 75138
Thank you so much for this post. I have walked 300K and cycled all the Frances. I have also cycled all the Portuguese. I have been toying with the idea of cycling the Del Norte but finding it a bit daunting. I must be getting older! I have recently rented an ebike back home and I thought it would be perfect for the Camino. I understand that I will not qualify for a compostela but this time round my intentions are to purely enjoy the Spanish coast and take it more as a holiday rather than a challenge. Might Contact you for more info if you don’t mind!
thanks
Michelle
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
perfect for the Camino. I understand that I will not qualify for a compostela but this time round my intentions are to purely enjoy the Spanish coast and take it more as a holiday rather than a
Are you sure you won't qualify? I think as long as it's assistance and you still have to pedal you qualify as long as you do the distance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Walked from Astorga to SDC in May 2012.
Cycled the Frances from SJPP May 2014
Cycled the Portuguese from Lisbon May 2016
Are you sure you won't qualify? I think as long as it's assistance and you still have to pedal you qualify as long as you do the distance.
that would be a bonus 😉
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Hi @Dancecrime . There are some great suggestions here.

Let me add another 'Hybrid' Version, that worked very well for us.

For my 2nd Camino and my wife Pat's 1st.

We are both a bit unfit, and carry injuries. Pat has Plantaar Faciitis amongst other things.

So she just wanted a 'taste' of the Camino and was prepared to do the last bit from Sarria. She was very unsure if she would cope or not. As was I....

Now I love the section from Sarria, even though it is very different from earlier stages of the Frances, but I was thinking that this might be her 'only' Camino, so I wanted her to experience other parts as well.

We came up with a Plan, helped by a great Aussie Tour operator based in Spain. Name available if required.
He arranged everything! For I would estimate, about an extra 10% on the costs. i.e. we paid him up front. and we just travelled.

Whilst I would never use an 'agency' for a longer Camino (too locked into accomodation dates etc), for this short, rather 'complex' one it was great.

This is how it worked out. Our agent booked and paid for everything from leaving Madrid to leaving Santiago. And as Pat could not carry much on that 1st one, bag transfers as well.

Yes, real Tourigrino stuff! Please don't look at me like that. :oops:

But it gave her the experience I was hoping for.
  1. We started with 3 days in Madrid. Wonderful time soaking up architecture and the food!
  2. The 'plan' then took over. all tickets etc had been mailed to us. (now it would be etickets)
  3. Train from Madrid to Leon (great trip)
  4. Quick change to the train for Astorga. (A night in Leon would be good in hindsight)
  5. Nice train trip to Astorga.
  6. At Astorga a car was waiting to pick us up at the station.
  7. We had a leisurely drive stopping at a couple of old villages on the way up to Foncebadon. As I wanted Pat to experience the Cruz de Ferro.
  8. We got up at dawn, and walked up to the cruz which was deserted when we got there, and then had a nice walk across the hill tops past Manjarin. I didn't want Pat to face the hard downhill to El Acebo, so 'our car' was waiting at the coffee caravan below the Military Rado mast.
  9. From there we went down to Molinaseca for coffee and then up to O Cebreiro for a wonderful lunch. (when I think how long this section took me to walk the year before!)
  10. Her 1st day of walking was an easy 7kms I think. Just as a warm up, but with wonderful sights and experiences.
  11. 'Our Car' then dropped us down to Sarria, via a short stop at Tricastella.
  12. And from there, our Camino 'proper' began. We 'logged' our start as Sarria.
  13. We started with short days and gradually extended them as she got used to it. (all pre planned and booked). I think we took 7 days to walk from Sarria.
So why do I mention all of that?

Merely to illustrate that there are many ways to walk and experience a Camino, depending on time, health, fitness, and what parts you would like to see.

Personally, I prefer a long Camino, with little if any pre planning, carrying my pack etc.

But there are an infinite number of options for those who have to cater for people with health issues, advancing age etc.

The guy that helped me plan that first one for Pat was great. He has lived in Spain for years, knows all the great places to stay and eat and was really helpful.

Afternote. 2 years after this 1st Camino, Pat walked with me from St Jean :)

Happy Planning.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
that would be a bonus 😉
Hi, Michelle. . :)

There are apparently two main styles of Ebike: One that can throttle up and run like a scooter, and the other which does not run like a scooter, but which will assist with pedaling. I imagine there are other combinations.

If you use an Ebike that only assists with pedaling, but not operational as a throttled scooter, it has been repeatedly stated that such would be granted a Compostela or a Certificate of Welcome (which one depends on the rule regarding being a religious or spiritual seeker) by a member who works as a volunteer at the Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Office.

This will be treated in the same way as you having used a non-Ebike bicycle. The same exact rule applies regarding the requirement for continuous progress of bicycling the final 200 km into Santiago de Compostela.

Hi, Tom :)
 
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