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Electric Bike Camino Frances

tomlee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
new comer..
- Wish to start from Camino dE Norte @ 2015 July
Hi All,

I had read through few forum regarding electric assisted bicycle to use for Camino trip..

So, If Pilgrim going to use Electric assisted Bicycle for Camino, will he qualify for the passport stamp and final certificate?

Is that any official website allow me to ask and checking?

Thanks a lot

Tom
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
Welcome Tom, that question has me stumped. I'll let Johnny Walker answer that one.
Edit: As it is an Electric ASSISTED bike it may not be as cut and dried.
 
Last edited:

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
Whenever or not it is permitted to get a Compostela, I never should drive an electric bike on the camino We have brandnew e-bikes , the latest state of the art model and technology but a battery reach of 45 kms on a flat surface so if any inclination is concerned , the capacity is less. With the cold weather of the recent days here with a lot of efforts I could get 30 kms out of the battery.
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I'll bet the Pilgrims' Office hasn't thought about the question of electric bikes and compostelas. The link falcon put in his post takes you to a page where you can see the rules regarding compostelas. It was interesting to me that the text pointed to the degradation of the Camino because of motor vehicles and popular tourism as one of the motivations for coming up with a modern rendition of the old Compostela and limiting it to people who had walked, gone on horse, or cycled.

We had a somewhat similar issue last year when I was in the pilgrims' office. A couple who had roller bladed the Camino came in proudly proclaiming that they were the first to have done it that way, and were surprised when there was some negative reaction. Several of the office staff wanted to take the question up the administrative food chain because they were not inclined to give compostelas, but the long lines and the more accommodating views of other staff member made the opponents yield to the majority. I assume that if more people start roller blading, or if a lot of people start using electric bikes, it will result in a formal ruling on the question, but till then it will probably just be up to whomever is sitting behind the desk when you walk in for a compostela.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... So, If Pilgrim going to use Electric assisted Bicycle for Camino, will he qualify for the passport stamp and final certificate?...
If such a bike is used to help a disabled pilgrim to make his/her pilgrimage it would fall in the same category as a wheelchair, if it is for luxury reasons only - I think it would be, more likely, considered an under-powered motorcycle. Buen camino! SY
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Laurie is correct. The Pilgrims' Office hasn't yet caught up with the issue of electric bikes. My personal view is that essentially there is no difference between these electric bikes and motor bikes for example and therefore the Compostela should not be issued.

There is one established exception. In 2010 the CSJ raised the question:

Will a disabled pilgrim using motorised transport or with back-up be given a Compostela?

The answer issued by the Pilgrims' Office at the time is as follows:

"This question has been debated thoughtfully and thoroughly in the Pilgrim Office at Santiago. They do not have a hard-and-fast rule about disabled pilgrims and power-assisted modes of transport. They consider each case individually, giving particular attention to the person’s motivation and effort. Their view is that if the person makes their way albeit with assistance for 100 kms and collects sellos on a credencial they will issue a Compostela. They suggest that you ask the CSJ for a letter of introduction and (if possible) have the CSJ tell them by e mail when you are about to arrive. "

People with special needs apart I think it is debatable whether cyclists in general should be issued with credenciales, allowed to use albergues and recieve the Compostela. I realise this is controversial and again I am raising a personal point. It seems to me that cyclists are not in any way similar to walking pilgrims in that they cannot follow the traditional routes, use mechanical propulsion to assist their passage, never ever carry their own belongings, even a day pack, and are often a nuisance to walking pilgrims. I can see no difference between a cycling pilgrim and a motor cycling pilgrim or a motor car using pilgrim. The vast majority of cycling pilgrims travel by road often clocking up daily distances of 100 kms or more.

Ban cyclists? Discuss :D
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
Ban cyclists? Discuss :D
No - don’t ban cyclists! :)

If you are fit and healthy electric bikes seem like a cop out.

I still smile to myself and think blimey, last summer I cycled (on the road) over 1300 miles to Spain. It was a deeply personal and moving experience that I will never forget. I found being alone and motiving myself to carry on in the cold/rain was really hard – it was much easier to keep going when I was walking and had fellow pilgrims all around to chat to.

However, I would say that the current bike situation is unsustainable. Maybe bikes need to be banned from the camino until 2pm!?! Possibly ban the tour groups? Maybe a cycle path will be built and kill the beauty of the landscape and the mountain bikers enjoyment :-(

I think the idea of pilgrim route is important and gets lost in the cycling (and walking) tour group promotional material. I am not a Catholic and I thought very long and hard for a number of years years about making what I see as a Catholic pilgrimage. In the end I went for no other reason than I wanted to and somehow it felt the right thing for me to do. Perhaps non-Catholics (or maybe just cyclists?) should pay a much larger sum of money for a credencial a bit like you now have to pay for a pass to walk parts of the Inca Trail? I have no solutions but banning cyclists seems a bit harsh.
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Camino(s) past & future
CF - sections and whole (2012-2019) and part VF (2017)
Laurie is correct. The Pilgrims' Office hasn't yet caught up with the issue of electric bikes. My personal view is that essentially there is no difference between these electric bikes and motor bikes for example and therefore the Compostela should not be issued.

People with special needs apart I think it is debatable whether cyclists in general should be issued with credenciales, allowed to use albergues and recieve the Compostela. I realise this is controversial and again I am raising a personal point. It seems to me that cyclists are not in any way similar to walking pilgrims in that they cannot follow the traditional routes, use mechanical propulsion to assist their passage, never ever carry their own belongings, even a day pack, and are often a nuisance to walking pilgrims. I can see no difference between a cycling pilgrim and a motor cycling pilgrim or a motor car using pilgrim. The vast majority of cycling pilgrims travel by road often clocking up daily distances of 100 kms or more.

Ban cyclists? Discuss :D
Wow, Johnnie - you're tough on the cyclists!

I have osteo-arthritis in the left knee and I will be doing a bike camino - Pamplona to Finisterre - in September with Saint Mike II here on the Forum. We're mates from our local pilgrim group here in Sydney. We have been training since last year, putting in countless hours to get our legs strong (essential for me particularly due to the osteo). We are cycling with all our gear in panniers and for me, as a smaller person of 52 kilos, I know that I'm going to really "do it hard" on the tougher stretches. It's a privilege to be issued with a credencial and even more of a privilege to be issued with a Compostela but I have worked so hard in training, and continue to do so, all the time with the spirit of the Camino in my heart. I deserve to receive a credencial and a compostela just as much as a walking pilgrim does. I don't see myself as a person with special needs - I'm just someone who has a very common condition that happens as we age (I'm 59). If I couldn't go with the bike option I wouldn't be able to do another Camino and that would make me sad beyond words.

Mike and I have both done a Camino and we are both very aware of the fact that cyclists can sometimes be a nuisance - we have discussed this at length and will be making a great deal of effort to avoid being labelled as a nuisance.

To say that you can't see any difference between a cycling pilgrim and a motor cycling pilgrim or a motor car using pilgrim is not respectful and I find it so upsetting that you, of all people, who has made the Camino and pilgrims, such a large part of your life, and someone who has given so much to pilgrims over the years, that you would even say this.
 

julie

Active Member
Wow, Johnnie - you're tough on the cyclists! ...
Mike and I have both done a Camino and we are both very aware of the fact that cyclists can sometimes be a nuisance - we have discussed this at length and will be making a great deal of effort to avoid being labelled as a nuisance.

To say that you can't see any difference between a cycling pilgrim and a motor cycling pilgrim or a motor car using pilgrim is not respectful and I find it so upsetting that you, of all people, who has made the Camino and pilgrims, such a large part of your life, and someone who has given so much to pilgrims over the years, that you would even say this.
Big hug Jenny, deep breath.

Nobody would ever dream of labelling you a nuisance! You're the type of cyclist (and they do exist) who would stop to make sure that everyone you passed was OK.

There are cyclists and there are cycling pilgrims just as there are walkers and walking pilgrims. For some, cycling is an easy option. For others, like me, walking is easier. If I had a desire to have a real physical challenge on the Camino, I would raise the bar and choose to cycle it. As it is, I prefer to focus on the spiritual so prefer to stay in my comfort zone by walking. Others get in the zone by cycling. To each his/her own.

Johnnie has voiced a personal opinion. We don't have to agree with him but he is entitled to express his opinion. What a boring world it would be if we knew exactly what everyone else would say on any given topic and if we were all in agreement anyway. Don't take his comments to heart. The Camino has become a big part of your life, keep up the training and enjoy every minute of being back there.
 

tomlee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
new comer..
- Wish to start from Camino dE Norte @ 2015 July
Welcome Tom, that question has me stumped. I'll let Johnny Walker answer that one.
Edit: As it is an Electric ASSISTED bike it may not be as cut and dried.
Thanks, well, many discussion below, and i think, to enjoy the journey is more important than certificate.. I will start from Leon on 18 July 2015..hopefully can see any member from here.... :) cheers..
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
Johnnie has voiced a personal opinion. We don't have to agree with him but he is entitled to express his opinion. What a boring world it would be if we knew exactly what everyone else would say on any given topic and if we were all in agreement anyway. Don't take his comments to heart. The Camino has become a big part of your life, keep up the training and enjoy every minute of being back there.
Precisely. And while extreme and confident in his opinion, he was pretty respectful about it. I wish more of our disagreements on this site were like that.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
No - don’t ban cyclists! :) However, I would say that the current bike situation is unsustainable. Maybe bikes need to be banned from the camino until 2pm!?! Possibly ban the tour groups? Maybe a cycle path will be built and kill the beauty of the landscape and the mountain bikers enjoyment :-( I think the idea of pilgrim route is important and gets lost in the cycling (and walking) tour group promotional material. I am not a Catholic and I thought very long and hard for a number of years years about making what I see as a Catholic pilgrimage. I have no solutions but banning cyclists seems a bit harsh.
Helen, you make very interesting arguments. 1st, surely 8 or 10 days of biking cannot equate with the effort of 30+ days of walking. 2ndly, all those on bicycles I have come across were only doing it for the sport of it, and perhaps seeing their own country - no pilgramage there. I have not seen bikers doing any promotional work - that would encourage me to snore more than ever ;0) But then again, in the right spirit, why is not a pilgramage. Very interesting points you raise.
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
People with special needs apart I think it is debatable whether cyclists in general should be issued with credenciales, allowed to use albergues and recieve the Compostela. I realise this is controversial and again I am raising a personal point. It seems to me that cyclists are not in any way similar to walking pilgrims in that they cannot follow the traditional routes, use mechanical propulsion to assist their passage, never ever carry their own belongings, even a day pack, and are often a nuisance to walking pilgrims. I can see no difference between a cycling pilgrim and a motor cycling pilgrim or a motor car using pilgrim. The vast majority of cycling pilgrims travel by road often clocking up daily distances of 100 kms or more.

Ban cyclists? Discuss :D
John

I realise we each have our personal views but I would vehemently disagree with you on you on this.

Cannot follow the traditional routes. Cyclists can follow the traditional routes, in fact it is the walkers who in recent years have had paths made for them beside the traditional routes "the roads". If cyclists want to follow the paths that walkers use they can do so with consideration.

Use mechanical propulsion. I can assure the the propulsion is not mechanical, I stop pedalling - the bike stops.

Never carry their own belongings. We have always carried our own belongings.

Are often a nuisance to walkers. Are sometimes a nuisance to walkers and I cannot defend those cyclist who are not considerate and polite. I trust I have never made my self a nuisance.

Obviously your logic would mean that those pilgrims who took a plane, or boat or car to start their pilgrimage would not be eligible for a compostela. My last pilgrimage to Rome by bike was from my front door - how many walkers start from home these days?

When I cycled the CF cyclists made up more than 25% of the pilgrims I see now that percentage has dropped to less than 10%. Whilst it is possible to cycle 100 km in a day on most days we do 60 km about 3 times the distance of a walker.

By all means add a line to the compostela to state the method of pilgrimage but to exclude cyclists seems wrong.

William

Ban those who do not walk from home? Discuss;)
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
Beyond the ethical issues of electrical or not one must return to the recharge issue. Was a time that there were hardly any electrical sockets in the albergues but then the dreaded cellular phone popped up. Now along every wall there are cephalopod-like constructions of pilgrim's phones taking on go juice. Now albergues must be concerned about recharging bicycles? The world is becoming too complicated.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
People with special needs apart I think it is debatable whether cyclists in general should be issued with credenciales, allowed to use albergues and recieve the Compostela. I realise this is controversial and again I am raising a personal point. It seems to me that cyclists are not in any way similar to walking pilgrims in that they cannot follow the traditional routes, use mechanical propulsion to assist their passage, never ever carry their own belongings, even a day pack, and are often a nuisance to walking pilgrims. I can see no difference between a cycling pilgrim and a motor cycling pilgrim or a motor car using pilgrim. The vast majority of cycling pilgrims travel by road often clocking up daily distances of 100 kms or more. Ban cyclists? Discuss :D
Johnnie - here is my answer to your "discuss"! BTW what on earth brought you to this conclusion??? :mad:

I am sorry that you feel that way about cyclists and in fact given your association with the Camino I strongly doubt you can express a "personal" point of view on this subject. As Jenny posted above we aim to depart Pamplona in early Sept to cycle to Finisterre.
I started out from Merida back in May 2013 to walk to SDC unfortunately a poor choice of footwear and the old Roman road structure caused nerve damage in my foot - result I can no longer walk 15-25 km per day for 30 or more days with 10 kg on my back.
Since people "riding" a horse for more than 100/200 km are entitled to a Compostela what is SO different about cyclists? We in fact do more work than a horse rider - the bloody horse does ALL the work - we at least use our leg muscle the turn the peddles and drive the wheels. Now I may be getting a little hot under the collar but I can tell you if your view gets official support there will be a significant amount of uproar - and not just from the outsiders - the Spanish cyclists are now a significant number so don't stand in their way or they will ride right over you!

Buen Camino to all who cycle; ride a horse or walk. ;):)
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Hola

It is good to see the spirit of respectful debate is alive and well in the forum!

As always the view I advanced was intended to stimulate discussion not to cause personal hurt. If that is the case I apologise.

At the outset let me say that I see no chance of cycling pilgrims being "banned". I suspect the authorities will do nothing which would reduce numbers on the Camino routes.

At the moment we are seeing a significant increase in non traditional modes of transport - roller blades, scooters, skate boards, unicycles and so on. I also sense a very significant increase in cyclists using the Camino as a sporting event. Unlike William cycling leisurely along the Camino paths where possible there are literally thousands of cyclists exclusively using roads to clock up the maximum daily mileages and reach Santiago in the shortest amount of time possible.

Maybe I am simply lamenting the way in which the Camino is becoming a free for all. But perhaps it was ever thus. However I remain unconvinced that there is anything historically authentic about making the pilgrimage to Santiago by bike.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I don't have a problem with Camino cyclists per se but when I see a group of riders with a chase van, stopping from time to time to give some of the riders a rest break on 4 wheels, arriving at their lodging using the vehicle to travel to and from dinner and their support vehicle generally carries all of their gear during the day. All of this makes me feel a bit cheated.
That being said I have seen small groups of walking pilgrims doing exactly the same thing.
The enjoyment of experiencing the spirit of the Camino is what drives me, not the piece of paper for completing it.
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
Nothing anyone else does by way of transport for themselves or luggage bothers me in the least. If they are entitled to a Compostela according to the then current criteria, fine. Of course the most important criteria about the spirit in which a Camino is done is only known by them. So let them judge themselves. It is not for me to do so nor does it affect the way I evaluate my own journey forward. However on a purely practical note I have to say that as someone audibly challenge they often frighten the life out of me. So don't be surprise if you ever find a path-side monument to this COG (Camino Old Geezer).
 

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
, surely 8 or 10 days of biking cannot equate with the effort of 30+ days of walking. 2ndly, all those on bicycles I have come across were only doing it for the sport of it, and perhaps seeing their own country - no pilgramage there. .
Conversely, walking 100 km can't be equated to riding a mountain bike from Prague to Santiago, but both will earn you a Compostela. I find it interesting that one might feel they can judge who is and is not on a "pilgramage" when they can't spell the word.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I thought biking the Camino would be easy until I saw the hard work some of the cyclists had to put in, in 2012. Bikes loaded with panniers and in some cases a backpack as well, pushing bikes through the adobe mud and having to stop every hundred meters or so to clear the mud build up off the wheels and gear trains. Not easy, IMO the walkers had it easy that year by comparison, much respect from me but I will stick to walking, its easier. :):)
 

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
. they cannot follow the traditional routes, use mechanical propulsion to assist their passage, never ever carry their own belongings, even a day pack, I can see no difference between a cycling pilgrim and a motor cycling pilgrim or a motor car using pilgrim. The vast majority of cycling pilgrims travel by road often clocking up daily distances of 100 kms or more.

:D
I find most of the cyclists I met did travel on the trail, and did carry their own gear. Perhaps that is because we did the same. Do you have any statistics on this?

I would suggest that if you can see no difference between cycling and riding in a car, that you find a typical section, say Alto de Perdon, and ride a loaded bike over it, then repeat by driving around it in a car, and compare.
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I do usually both walking and cycling, depending on the season and my mood (no roller blading...I like my old bones!). In the Camino, I walk, because it is less logistically complicated and I think it provides a better social experience. But If the issue is "effort", I can assure you that biking can be quite strenuous; and as ever cyclist knows :), the wind is always against you. Now, attitudes are another thing; but I think we should not mix the means with the message. For example, in my first time in the Camino we met a horseman near Burgos, and we used to joke that in Santiago, the Compostela should be awarded to the horse. But since then I have been told that riding could also be exhausting, and require a lot of and planning and caring for the mount. And talking about attitude...I saw this particular horseman dismount and lend his horse to a lady in real distress, near the end of a grueling day for walkers.
My opinion probably will not count too much, but I would draw the line at motor vehicles (with due particular exemptions). So, I can´t see anything wrong with rollerblading, alhtough probably the 200 km rule would apply to the case.
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
I don't do uphill very well as anyone who has walked with me will tell you. However I can remember once walking up a forest track trying to find room to walk past someone pedalling up, who had passed me easily a few minutes before at the start of the incline. I understand why the wind is always in your face when riding quick enough, but this is the Camino and it is always in everyone's face isn't it? :(
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
Helen, you make very interesting arguments. 1st, surely 8 or 10 days of biking cannot equate with the effort of 30+ days of walking. 2ndly, all those on bicycles I have come across were only doing it for the sport of it, and perhaps seeing their own country - no pilgramage there. I have not seen bikers doing any promotional work - that would encourage me to snore more than ever ;0) But then again, in the right spirit, why is not a pilgramage. Very interesting points you raise.
I thought biking the Camino would be easy until I saw the hard work some of the cyclists had to put in, in 2012. Bikes loaded with panniers and in some cases a backpack as well, pushing bikes through the adobe mud and having to stop every hundred meters or so to clear the mud build up off the wheels and gear trains. Not easy, IMO the walkers had it easy that year by comparison, much respect from me but I will stick to walking, its easier. :):)
I've been harsh on cyclists in the past (though not as far to that side as Johnny Walker). But I will say this....anyone who thinks biking it is easier than walking is being a bit biased themselves. Is it quicker? Sure. And that is a biiiiig deal. But try bicycling up some of the steeper inclines (especially the bikers who stuck to the trail). I wouldn't trade places with them in a heartbeat. It isn't easier or harder, it's just different. Very different.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Like watching those dudes come down the path from Roncesvalles to Zubiri v taking the N-135.
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
When you get down to it, a true pilgrim knows in his or her heart what he/she has accomplished and why, and the Compostela is only a piece of paper. I think I understand the need for requirements based on kilometers walked or ridden, although they seem rather arbitrary and tend to generate discussions such as this which trivialize the original intent of the pilgrimage to the tomb of St James. Do you think that a fourteenth-century pilgrim who started walking from his home in León received fewer indulgences than one who started in Paris? Or consider other pilgrimages and think about this: Should someone who visits Lourdes in the hope of receiving the gift of healing think that just because he or she came from farther away that they have a better chance of being healed? Don't get me wrong, my Compostela holds a special place of honor in my heart and on my wall, but the larger question we should be asking ourselves is this: If they stopped issuing Compostelas tomorrow, would I still walk/ride/cycle/rollerblade the Camino?
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
When you get down to it, a true pilgrim knows in his or her heart what he/she has accomplished and why, and the Compostela is only a piece of paper. I think I understand the need for requirements based on kilometers walked or ridden, although they seem rather arbitrary and tend to generate discussions such as this which trivialize the original intent of the pilgrimage to the tomb of St James. Do you think that a fourteenth-century pilgrim who started walking from his home in León received fewer indulgences than one who started in Paris? Or consider other pilgrimages and think about this: Should someone who visits Lourdes in the hope of receiving the gift of healing think that just because he or she came from farther away that they have a better chance of being healed? Don't get me wrong, my Compostela holds a special place of honor in my heart and on my wall, but the larger question we should be asking ourselves is this: If they stopped issuing Compostelas tomorrow, would I still walk/ride/cycle/rollerblade the Camino?
I totally agree. My response to your question is: I'll walk every year until...I can no longer walk.
Would the chance of "no reward" stops others? Iti is a very interesting question.
 

mitch237uk

Member
Camino(s) past & future
August/September - Camino Frances (2014)
August 22 - Ferrol Camino Ingles (2017)
Here is my two pennies worth, do not ban cyclists they are good company as well at night. I am a walker and a cyclist. What is required is bike bells, and training on how to use them in plenty of time for me to step out the way, IMHO.
 

MickMac

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2013
Frances 2016
Frances 2017
Frances 2018
Frances 2018
Ponferrada-Santiago
July 2019
Laurie is correct. The Pilgrims' Office hasn't yet caught up with the issue of electric bikes. My personal view is that essentially there is no difference between these electric bikes and motor bikes for example and therefore the Compostela should not be issued.

There is one established exception. In 2010 the CSJ raised the question:

Will a disabled pilgrim using motorised transport or with back-up be given a Compostela?

The answer issued by the Pilgrims' Office at the time is as follows:

"This question has been debated thoughtfully and thoroughly in the Pilgrim Office at Santiago. They do not have a hard-and-fast rule about disabled pilgrims and power-assisted modes of transport. They consider each case individually, giving particular attention to the person’s motivation and effort. Their view is that if the person makes their way albeit with assistance for 100 kms and collects sellos on a credencial they will issue a Compostela. They suggest that you ask the CSJ for a letter of introduction and (if possible) have the CSJ tell them by e mail when you are about to arrive. "

People with special needs apart I think it is debatable whether cyclists in general should be issued with credenciales, allowed to use albergues and recieve the Compostela. I realise this is controversial and again I am raising a personal point. It seems to me that cyclists are not in any way similar to walking pilgrims in that they cannot follow the traditional routes, use mechanical propulsion to assist their passage, never ever carry their own belongings, even a day pack, and are often a nuisance to walking pilgrims. I can see no difference between a cycling pilgrim and a motor cycling pilgrim or a motor car using pilgrim. The vast majority of cycling pilgrims travel by road often clocking up daily distances of 100 kms or more.

Ban cyclists? Discuss :D
I agree with you Johnnie I have a slight hearing problem in one ear and out of site hearing directional perception is pretty bad.

I don,t know were the sound is coming from until the bike is right on top of me. It happened several times as I walked alone on the Camino one step either way and disaster for me and the biker.

Some of the paths are very rough and you would not expect a bike to make it but the professional mountain biker can. It seems like an extreme bikers challenge do the have competitions ? or is it La vuelta a Espana ?.

Fit a bell or warning device please! only screaming pilgrims behind stopped me from serious injury. Maybe a set route for bikers with stages would suit and the walkers would be on guard.

Buen Camino
 

tploomis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept. to Nov., 2013
My hat is off to anybody who undertakes biking from Saint Jean Pied du Port to Santiago. It might go faster than walking, but a day in the mountains on a bike is immeasurably harder than a day in the mountains on foot. I bicycled across the United States a few years ago, and any one day of that was tough!
 

MickMac

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2013
Frances 2016
Frances 2017
Frances 2018
Frances 2018
Ponferrada-Santiago
July 2019
My hat is off to anybody who undertakes biking from Saint Jean Pied du Port to Santiago. It might go faster than walking, but a day in the mountains on a bike is immeasurably harder than a day in the mountains on foot. I bicycled across the United States a few years ago, and any one day of that was tough!
Unfair comparison, the companionship talking to pilgrims is one of the things that makes the Camino special not hurtling by at 40 to 50 kmph talking to no one. Before somebody says it each to there own.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
Unfair comparison, the companionship talking to pilgrims is one of the things that makes the Camino special not hurtling by at 40 to 50 kmph talking to no one. Before somebody says it each to there own.
Funnily enough thats what my brother used to say when the uber walkers breezed by and left us behind. :):)
 

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
the companionship talking to pilgrims is one of the things that makes the Camino special not hurtling by at 40 to 50 kmph talking to no one. .
Ah yes, another day hurtling by, talking to no one (in English at least):

hurtl3.JPG hurtle1.JPG hurtle2.JPG
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
I also sense a very significant increase in cyclists using the Camino as a sporting event. Unlike William cycling leisurely along the Camino paths where possible there are literally thousands of cyclists exclusively using roads to clock up the maximum daily mileages and reach Santiago in the shortest amount of time possible.
I see your point.

The minimum distance needed to get a certificate is 125 miles, for a regular road cyclist that’s an easy day’s ride – that’s not going to count as a pilgrimage in most people’s minds.

Camino Frances is around 500 miles, for a road cyclist this could be 4-5 days ride (which could be 5 days of intense introspection/a hard physical ride or 4 days of pretty easy riding depending on the cyclist).

For an audax rider I’m guessing but it must 2.5 days riding? A sporting achievement but probably not a pilgrimage in most people’s mind.

I make these comments with the utmost respect for people on this forum for whom a 60km a day cycle ride might be a huge achievement and enormous physical challenge. My intention is not to belittle people’s achievements, simply to point out the distance limits to get a certificate for a regular road cyclist are trivial and I agree that this kind of cycling has little in common with most people’s idea of a pilgrimage.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I agree with you Johnnie I have a slight hearing problem in one ear and out of site hearing directional perception is pretty bad. I don,t know were the sound is coming from until the bike is right on top of me. It happened several times as I walked alone on the Camino one step either way and disaster for me and the biker. Some of the paths are very rough and you would not expect a bike to make it but the professional mountain biker can. It seems like an extreme bikers challenge do the have competitions ? or is it La vuelta a Espana ?. Fit a bell or warning device please! only screaming pilgrims behind stopped me from serious injury. Maybe a set route for bikers with stages would suit and the walkers would be on guard. Buen Camino
Hola Mick - I fully understand you point of view. Here at home when out training I use a number of shared walking/cycle tracks and I always slow down & ring my bell when approaching a walker - I am especially wary of those with the leads running out of their ears. I know they cannot here the bell and often call out. The shock looks on their faces is often worth a picture.
So to all my bike riding fellow pilgrims - fit a bell to your bike; use it when appropriate and give the walking pilgrims the time to move over or stop. Buen Camino!!
 

jefferyonthecamino

http://www.barrerabooks.com/ - Guidebooks
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (1994) & (2013 - 2019)
Camino Portugués (2015 - 2019)
Camino de Madrid (2019)
Hi All,

I had read through few forum regarding electric assisted bicycle to use for Camino trip..

So, If Pilgrim going to use Electric assisted Bicycle for Camino, will he qualify for the passport stamp and final certificate?

Is that any official website allow me to ask and checking?

Thanks a lot

Tom
Segway is the only way
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
A CAUTION.....
There have been several posts attacking John for expressing his opinion and his right to post it.
Anger has been obvious and expressed.

Feel free to post your opinion but please do not attack other members for expressing theirs.

Let's keep this thread open.
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
If they stopped issuing Compostelas tomorrow, would I still walk/ride/cycle/rollerblade the Camino?
I think the vast majority of people would say "yes": cheap, healthy, cultural and challenging holiday. I've only made it to Santiago once, and yet have walked 4 times: getting to Santiago has never been the goal, the goal was really the process: digging deep with every step. Many many of the Spaniards who walked the Camino do it a week at a time: clearly not meaning to reach Santiago every time.
 

Annie G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Here is my two pennies worth, do not ban cyclists they are good company as well at night. I am a walker and a cyclist. What is required is bike bells, and training on how to use them in plenty of time for me to step out the way, IMHO.
I am from an area of Oregon where bikers and walkers share the same rather extensive paths. We have a university here so many of the cyclists are students who are apparently late for class or work... or are perhaps evacuating the city. Me, I'm just out for a walk in the great outdoors with no particular destination in mind except for some predetermined turnaround point. Sometimes I am accompanied by others and sometimes I meet up with strangers on the path. We all share the pathway but often have completely different goals. And therein lies the difference. As Robert Frost said...
 

NicoZ

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013
Charging. Don't those bikes charge when you pedal? Or when you go downhill?
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
I'll bet the Pilgrims' Office hasn't thought about the question of electric bikes and compostelas. The link falcon put in his post takes you to a page where you can see the rules regarding compostelas. It was interesting to me that the text pointed to the degradation of the Camino because of motor vehicles and popular tourism as one of the motivations for coming up with a modern rendition of the old Compostela and limiting it to people who had walked, gone on horse, or cycled.

We had a somewhat similar issue last year when I was in the pilgrims' office. A couple who had roller bladed the Camino came in proudly proclaiming that they were the first to have done it that way, and were surprised when there was some negative reaction. Several of the office staff wanted to take the question up the administrative food chain because they were not inclined to give compostelas, but the long lines and the more accommodating views of other staff member made the opponents yield to the majority. I assume that if more people start roller blading, or if a lot of people start using electric bikes, it will result in a formal ruling on the question, but till then it will probably just be up to whomever is sitting behind the desk when you walk in for a compostela.

Buen camino, Laurie
The discusion could be..is an e-bike faster a mountainbike or speedbike.you 'll still are pedaling !
Our e bikes do not go faster than 25km/h. Not significanly faster than a normal bike. But the latest invention is that there are now e-bikes who go up till 40km/h and anyway here in the Netherlands can reach the same speed as a moped (50 cc small motorbike ) so as a Dutch saying says " there will be a lot of water going through the river Rhine before this question will be answered - by the Cathedral"
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
I am from an area of Oregon where bikers and walkers share the same rather extensive paths. We have a university here so many of the cyclists are students who are apparently late for class or work... or are perhaps evacuating the city. Me, I'm just out for a walk in the great outdoors with no particular destination in mind except for some predetermined turnaround point. Sometimes I am accompanied by others and sometimes I meet up with strangers on the path. We all share the pathway but often have completely different goals. And therein lies the difference. As Robert Frost said...
Come and see here in the Netherlands.. Bikers and anarchy are almost the same. They created their own rights, ignore any traffic rules and in case of any accident caused by themselves f.ex. a collission with a car whether they had no priority or not, they still have the legal right at their sides.. Crazy rules here. Be carefull for bikers here .maybe they could show the same bad behaviour on their camino too !
 
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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
I sympathise with many of the views here, both walkers and bikers. The answer to many problems would seem to be either to increase the kms needed for bikes or designate certain points for obtaining a sello so that they do not cycle on unsuitable tracks. Problem - what is deemed unsuitable?
Maybe a rule that all pilgrims should take at least 4 nights in the last 100kms, with sellos to prove it would slow life down. I can already hear the 40-50kms per day walkers shouting 'No way' :):)

Considering the original thought:- An electric bike is surely assistance and acceptable for a disability but not otherwise. Discuss??
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
This is a strange thread .. at the heart of it seems to be an "us and them" approach to pilgrimage, the anti-cyclists thinking that walking is a 'pure' pilgrimage but surely it is intent that is the criteria of a pilgrimage? There are plenty of serial walkers on here who seem to be into the walking rather than the reason for the destination.
Saint Theresa of Avilia did her pilgrimage in a coach and four ...

I am a few days away from being 67 and my body's guarantee seems to be running out. When I shower I keep expecting to see a message on my body saying "in the event of serious fault please return to manufacturer" and as part of this I now have problems with my right foot due to two bones broken about thirty years ago. I can walk a few miles for one day but if I repeat the pain becomes too much. I have a damaged knee from a traffic accident over forty years ago and I have a similar problem with that .. though .. it can be fine for days and then suddenly give up on me, also with a lot of pain - so a bicycle is now just about the only way I can pilgrimage through the landscape day after day - should I be banned?

There is a lack of understanding of basic physics in the effort of walkers versus cyclists. Of course cyclists carry their own packs, but they also have to carry a tool kit and spares. Then there is the weight of the bike, easily 30 lbs. If one has to rise up 1000 metres over a couple of miles cycling or walking the effort is the same as lifting one's weight vertically 1000 metres. It feels different, easier, because that 1000 metres is graduated. So a cyclist rising that 1000 metres puts more effort in as they have to lift themselves, their packs, and the weight of the bicycle. The joy, of course, is that they may get to freewheel down the other side!!

Someone wrote that touring cyclists average over 100 miles a day - crikey! perhaps the Tour de France racers can ... touring cyclists, loaded down with baggage and looking at the view and stopping often to experience the moments of where they are tend to average about 30 miles a day, 50 kms - about two day's worth of walking the pilgrimage, and the Compostela takes account of that by doubling the distance needed for cyclists.

Since the rise of off-road biking - a huge industry and sport now - it seems fairly obvious that there will be lots of fast mountain bikers on the Camino as it is an off-road trail .. this is just how it is. One could bring in a ban on 'non-pilgrim' mountain bikers but how on earth would one police that?
As for walkers and cyclists sharing the same paths - well this is how a lot of my town is laid out, there are some miles of shared paths and pavements (sidewalks) and no one ever gets hurt - if you want to check other countries start with Holland and then look at the thousands of miles of French paths where walkers and cyclists share - it is ok you know, it is ok.

If one is going to be a purist in one's concept of what a true pilgrim is then surely there should also be the banning of walking poles and technical boots and clothing. Those who want to be a 'pure' pilgrim should wear medieval clothing and perhaps go barefoot, don't you think?

I have pals who are going on pilgrimage with their bicycles - I know their hearts about this and can tell you that they are "true" pilgrims - their intent is that of a pilgrim.

As for electric bikes - well, they are certainly power assisted so I don't think they should count re the Compostela - but - they are rather fine machines and proper touring ones are capable of assisting for over 80 miles in between charges! See here - http://www.voltbikes.co.uk/pulse-x-hybrid-electric-bike.php but at £2000, well ... I would love to have one, would make my life so much easier ... but .. £2000? I don't think so!

Buen Camino - to ALL of us!! ;)
 
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Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I think the base of all this is the Compostela.
Without the manic drive for this Certificate of Achievement, people would probably take the camino much easier. There would not be debates over who is "real" or "authentic" or "cheating," because there would not be a fundamental Requirement for all of us to meet.
IMHO, the compostela has become idolatrized. People will lie, cheat, and run each other over to get one, even if they haven't a clue what the words say.... they gotta have their official Godly Hike certificate, goddammit!
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I think the base of all this is the Compostela.
Without the manic drive for this Certificate of Achievement, people would probably take the camino much easier. There would not be debates over who is "real" or "authentic" or "cheating," because there would not be a fundamental Requirement for all of us to meet.
IMHO, the compostela has become idolatrized. People will lie, cheat, and run each other over to get one, even if they haven't a clue what the words say.... they gotta have their official Godly Hike certificate, goddammit!
Reb, no one could have said better than you.
It's like the problem in the US where everyone gets an award for engaging in a contest, no one can any longer be deemed a "loser" because "we are all winners" in this politically correct universe.
Eliminate the Compostela, you end the debate.
My only question is how many people would do the Camino without getting an award for having walked 760km or the minimum of 100km? More or less pilgrims? Coming from farther or nearer? I fear the slightly touristic cache of Santiago would be transformed into the nightmare that Lourdes is today. Comments?
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Without the manic drive for this Certificate of Achievement, people would probably take the camino much easier.
That is true! :):)

However, it would not eliminate the griping about backpack transfer, bed bug treatment, using buses and taxis, donativo as free, snoring, trekking pole clicking, boring pilgrim menu, early risers, plastic bag noise, technology, tissue, litter, and a host of other perceived unfairness in life.

For all of the adulation of the Camino as transformational, most of us stay very human. The compostela has little effect on that. It is hard to accept that which we cannot change, or remain tranquil while changing what we can (mostly oneself). Our yardstick for life is very self-centered, so we measure things almost exclusively against our own wants and needs.

Once, the compostela was issued to anyone who showed up at the tomb of St. James. It was not a reward for physical achievement, but a step on a path of spiritual achievement. A return to that could achieve the same thing as eliminating it.

Let's admit, though, that it will not happen. There is simply too much money to be made from the Camino, and the compostela is a major driver in the motivation to walk it.

We cannot change it, so perhaps we should accept it??
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I think the base of all this is the Compostela.
Without the manic drive for this Certificate of Achievement, people would probably take the camino much easier. There would not be debates over who is "real" or "authentic" or "cheating," because there would not be a fundamental Requirement for all of us to meet.
IMHO, the compostela has become idolatrized. People will lie, cheat, and run each other over to get one, even if they haven't a clue what the words say.... they gotta have their official Godly Hike certificate, goddammit!
Just before getting to your post Rebekah I was wondering what the statistics are at the Cathedral regarding what certificate cyclists as for: the Compostela (for religious or spiritual reasons) or the other? I cannot think of one cyclist I have come across on the Caminos who was there for another reason than a week of physical challenge - at the very least I would be tempted to think that the majority of cyclist would then ask for the "other" certificate. And BTW, I am not saying that because they are on wheels they are not "true pilgrims", I am saying that it may simply not be their intent in the first place.
 

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
I cannot think of one cyclist I have come across on the Caminos who was there for another reason than a week of physical challenge .
I'm curious, how do you know all their motivations? I can't see why someone would choose a route with all those cathedrals, pilgrims, and ancient roads in the way if all they wanted was a physical challenge.

And even if it were true why should that bother anyone to the point that they would not be willing to share a trail?
 

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
.
People will lie, cheat, and run each other over to get one, even if they haven't a clue what the words say.... they gotta have their official Godly Hike certificate, goddammit!
Isn't that weird? The first time we got to Santiago we didn't even bother to pick one up. The journey had its own significance to us, and to any higher spiritual existence, and no piece of paper would change that.

When finally went to get one, I was asked if it was a spiritual journey. I asked how one could possibly ride 1600 km following the steps where millions of ancient pilgrims struggled and not find a spiritual element. She smiled, handed me the page of Latin, and I still have no clue what the words say precisely, just what the trip meant to me.

The credential with all the stamps is like a holy document to us. The Compostela means nothing.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Isn't that weird? The first time we got to Santiago we didn't even bother to pick one up. The journey had its own significance to us, and to any higher spiritual existence, and no piece of paper would change that.

When finally went to get one, I was asked if it was a spiritual journey. I asked how one could possibly ride 1600 km following the steps where millions of ancient pilgrims struggled and not find a spiritual element. She smiled, handed me the page of Latin, and I still have no clue what the words say precisely, just what the trip meant to me.

The credential with all the stamps is like a holy document to us. The Compostela means nothing.
Absolutement!
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I don't know how we got here from a question about electric bikes, but here's my two cents worth. When I walked in 2012 I got my Compostela because I had spent twenty years thinking about the Camino and I figured I would not be back so it would be nice to have something to remember the walk. In 2013 I walked from Sarria with my wife and I did not intend to collect a Compostela but my wife asked me to get one with her as it would be the one where we walked together. If I am lucky enough to walk to Santiago again all I want is the final stamp in the pilgrims office, I will not need anything else to show that I have walked.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I'm curious, how do you know all their motivations? I can't see why someone would choose a route with all those cathedrals, pilgrims, and ancient roads in the way if all they wanted was a physical challenge.

And even if it were true why should that bother anyone to the point that they would not be willing to share a trail?
I never said I would not be willing to share a trail? Far from it.

As for how I know their motivation? Because I speak to the people I come in contact with in albergues, cafes, etc. - Spanish being my mother tongue (and English having only been learned later in life - which may explain to you my spelling mistakes that seem to offend you - as per your last comment to one of my posts) I actually engage, hear, share with others, in particular the Spaniards. And no, I do not know the motivation of all, but I have also not said that 100% of them do this for the sport, just that the ones I have engaged with have.

And as to why opt this this route: it is not filled with any more cathedral and ancient roads than the rest of the Spain, but it does offer sleeping accomodations starting at Euros, and many in the 5 to 11 Euro range. Considering the economic situation in the country at the moment, I think this is an attractive feature of this route. Just look at the number of young people on 'paro' on the Camino - they are taking advantage of this forced time off, and low budget accomodations to travel a bit, get to know their country, get a bit of fun while under the current stresses of their life.
 

clearskies

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Here and there
(apols if this is way off topic)
I received my first and last Compostela in 2011 and have been on the Camino three times since.
It's all about the journey for me, getting from A to B and keeping it as simple as possible.
The meeting of people, the kindness and the generosity and visiting what is probably my favourite country outside of Ireland :)
The credencials I possess mean alot more to me than the compostela I received (that is still in its tube on top of a wardrobe btw)
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
The credencials I possess mean alot more to me than the compostela I received (that is still in its tube on top of a wardrobe btw)
Clearskies, I am willing to be this is true for many, many people, and I would be part of that group.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
So - electric bikes and compostelas ... cheap electric bikes don't go far before the battery runs out but electric long-distance touring bikes do - easily 80+ miles on a charge and a full recharge in under four hours. The machines are set up to offer a choice of different levels of motor assistance to the pedalling and also have an over-ride throttle control. By law in the EU they are restricted to 15mph - though one can pedal faster if one wishes to but over that speed the motor cuts out.
I think they are great machines, a definite move forward in personal eco transportation. Using one to do the Camino would be of great assistance, especially if one is disabled in some way (one would certainly help me!). Asking for a compostela at Santiago? (which is what the original post was about) - well it seems to me that it is up to the conscience and intent of the cyclist (or should I write e-cyclist?).
They will be asked where they started, how they did it, and if it was for religious/spiritual reasons - if they, honest in their own hearts, can answer correctly to those three then they get a compostela - whether they are honest or not or "deserve" a compostela or not has absolutely nothing to do with me - just my personal opinion.

And here is a pic of a proper touring e-bike - is it not beautiful? You will see that is is a real pedal cycle, a real bike, just with clean power assist. Has disc brakes too!

pulse-x-hybrid-ebike.jpg
 

tploomis

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept. to Nov., 2013
As a walker on the Camino I was not bothered by the occasional biker passing me. Sure, occasionally one of them seemed a bit wild-eyed, but none was any kind of threat to my health or safety. I don't see why we can't all share the path. The diversity of those doing the Camino is part of its appeal to me, and bikers are part of that diversity. As for whether or not electric assist bikes should qualify for a compostela, I'll leave that decision to the ethicists among us. It doesn't matter to me one way or the other.
 

waveprof

Enthusiast
Camino(s) past & future
May-June 2013, Camino Frances
I think the base of all this is the Compostela.
Without the manic drive for this Certificate of Achievement, people would probably take the camino much easier. There would not be debates over who is "real" or "authentic" or "cheating," because there would not be a fundamental Requirement for all of us to meet.
IMHO, the compostela has become idolatrized. People will lie, cheat, and run each other over to get one, even if they haven't a clue what the words say.... they gotta have their official Godly Hike certificate, goddammit!
I met people driving from bar to bar throughout Galicia, collecting stamps. I'm quite sure they got a Compestella.

If your goal is a compestella, then the camino isn't worth it. I love my compestella (hanging on a wall in my house!) but in the end it's a piece of paper, and one that many people get who haven't walked 100 km and many people don't get who deserve it (think of pilgrims who walk froom SJPdP to Sarria and then get injured). It is, in the end, a physical piece of paper. The camino, to me, is much, much more.
 

julie

Active Member
When you get down to it, a true pilgrim knows in his or her heart what he/she has accomplished and why, and the Compostela is only a piece of paper. ... Don't get me wrong, my Compostela holds a special place of honor in my heart and on my wall, but the larger question we should be asking ourselves is this: If they stopped issuing Compostelas tomorrow, would I still walk/ride/cycle/rollerblade the Camino?
The answer is yes.

Though perhaps I didn't realise it the first time, the Compostela is only a piece of paper. For me, the Camino is about the people I meet and the things I learn along the way. It never fails to throw up situations, conversations or thoughts that result in deep reflection and, consequently, personal growth. That growth is what I take home with me, it shapes my life from that time on.

Why does one need the extrinsic "reward" of a Compostela when the benefits of a Camino are very much intrinsic? I like to have my credential stamped but no longer collect a Compostela when I arrive in Santiago.
 

Albertinho

ninguém disse que era fácil !
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Lisboa - Sant.
2014 Ferrol -Sant.
2015 Porto -Sant.
2018 Porto -Valença
2019 Valença -Sant.
:rolleyes: Perfect solution walk and ride at the same time ?? compostela guarenteed
So - electric bikes and compostelas ... cheap electric bikes don't go far before the battery runs out but electric long-distance touring bikes do - easily 80+ miles on a charge and a full recharge in under four hours. The machines are set up to offer a choice of different levels of motor assistance to the pedalling and also have an over-ride throttle control. By law in the EU they are restricted to 15mph - though one can pedal faster if one wishes to but over that speed the motor cuts out.
I think they are great machines, a definite move forward in personal eco transportation. Using one to do the Camino would be of great assistance, especially if one is disabled in some way (one would certainly help me!). Asking for a compostela at Santiago? (which is what the original post was about) - well it seems to me that it is up to the conscience and intent of the cyclist (or should I write e-cyclist?).
They will be asked where they started, how they did it, and if it was for religious/spiritual reasons - if they, honest in their own hearts, can answer correctly to those three then they get a compostela - whether they are honest or not or "deserve" a compostela or not has absolutely nothing to do with me - just my personal opinion.

And here is a pic of a proper touring e-bike - is it not beautiful? You will see that is is a real pedal cycle, a real bike, just with clean power assist. Has disc brakes too!

View attachment 16693
80 miles + as described in the promotional leaflet yes, written by the manufacturers. But they do not tell you that you need the weight of a polo jockey,
You have to run on a flat surface with no wind in your face, temperatures above 20 degrees Celcius .not faster than 20 kms an hour
My wife and I bought state of the art ebikes with the latest new features , a heavy duty battery .... 120 kms easy !
Once on a hot day we could reach 40 kms on the fully charged battery .
When it is cold like this winter the battery reach only was 30 kms-on a flat road, two bridges over the river with a few slope inclination.
I complained about it and they said. Yes. You are too heavy (80 kgs) there was wind, the temperature was too low. You drive too fast. Bla bla bla...
Winners have a plan ,losers only an excuse ! The manufacturer in my opinion belongs to the second category. Now the bikes are standing here unused ,half a year old , costed €2500 each ! Want to get rid of them. Anybody interested ?image.jpg image.jpg
 
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David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Well, that is a shame, that you have had such a bad experience. A couple I know (seem to be the same size and age as you two) absolutely love theirs and they go on cycling holidays often, staying in b&b accommodation. They have not had any of the problems that you have experienced.
You seem to have rather small batteries on those bikes! What amp are they? As for your bikes it depends what you mean by state of the art as there are a number of sellers out there selling e-bikes that 'look' alright but are rubbish. In England some manufacturers put actual road tests on their websites with info about terrain and weight of rider and so on. They also list allowed weight of rider and load - usually 100kgs.

The thing is, they are not electric mopeds, they can be used motor only but this will flatten the battery in a few miles. They are designed for 'motor assist' not as pure electric motor-run mopeds.

So, yours aren't being used anymore? - message me the cycle make, the motor and battery type and size - should be at least a 250 watt motor and lithium polymer battery of at least 16 amp hours and I may possibly be interested - actually, then again, maybe not - they don't seem to have any derailleur gears, nor disc brakes!
 
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biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
The answer is yes.

Though perhaps I didn't realise it the first time, the Compostela is only a piece of paper. For me, the Camino is about the people I meet and the things I learn along the way. It never fails to throw up situations, conversations or thoughts that result in deep reflection and, consequently, personal growth. That growth is what I take home with me, it shapes my life from that time on.

Why does one need the extrinsic "reward" of a Compostela when the benefits of a Camino are very much intrinsic? I like to have my credential stamped but no longer collect a Compostela when I arrive in Santiago.
One of mine fell off the wall during this debate, spreading broken glass all over the floor. Was it message from above or just my lousy job of framing it?
My credentials are my most prized possessions, second only to my memories.
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this debate. Clearly cyclists have strong views! And why not.

Again from the outset let me say that I do not believe the current rules regarding cyclists will change and it is interesting that the discussion has turned towards the Compostela because my concerns are much more related to the beds available in albergues than the certificates.

As far as I am concerned everyone who makes a pilgrimage to Santiago for religious or spiritual reasons by whatever means should receive the Compostela. That’s the way it always was until some 25 or so years ago when the “100 km” rule was introduced.

No one quite knows how cyclists ever got included in the policy...there is no historical reason. And if there are to be restrictions on who can use albergues if cycling pilgrims are to be admitted then why not others?

I have to admit to being biased towards walking pilgrims who maintain the tradition of walking in the footsteps of those who have gone before and who “keep the old roads open” to quote Seamus Heany. Cyclists represent only 10% of pilgrims who register in Santiago but that’s a lot of beds used. My grumbles are very well expressed in Helen1’s post:

“I see your point.

The minimum distance needed to get a certificate is 125 miles, for a regular road cyclist that’s an easy day’s ride – that’s not going to count as a pilgrimage in most people’s minds.

Camino Frances is around 500 miles, for a road cyclist this could be 4-5 days ride (which could be 5 days of intense introspection/a hard physical ride or 4 days of pretty easy riding depending on the cyclist).

For an audax rider I’m guessing but it must 2.5 days riding? A sporting achievement but probably not a pilgrimage in most people’s mind.

I make these comments with the utmost respect for people on this forum for whom a 60km a day cycle ride might be a huge achievement and enormous physical challenge. My intention is not to belittle people’s achievements, simply to point out the distance limits to get a certificate for a regular road cyclist are trivial and I agree that this kind of cycling has little in common with most people’s idea of a pilgrimage.”


In summary: Cyclists won’t be banned. The Compostela will remain with us. My personal position is that I believe everyone who makes a spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago (by their own definition) by whatever means they choose should receive the Compostela.

After 7 years of volunteering I will not be in the Pilgrims’ Office much after April. Rather I’ll be concentrating on services in English in the Cathedral and also a new project to get some of the churches open for pilgrims along the Camino Frances.

Maybe that’s why I feel more able to express my personal grumbles but they are just that. Now the nonsense of the 100 kms rule....to be continued in another thread!
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Each person who makes pilgrimage to Santiago is unique and on a unique life journey. So I don't think it is to do with percentages, of minorities and majorities - one doesn't even have to go to Christian teaching to refute that, Startrek will do
- "The needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many" ;)
 
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William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this debate. Clearly cyclists have strong views! And why not.

Again from the outset let me say that I do not believe the current rules regarding cyclists will change and it is interesting that the discussion has turned towards the Compostela because my concerns are much more related to the beds available in albergues than the certificates.

As far as I am concerned everyone who makes a pilgrimage to Santiago for religious or spiritual reasons by whatever means should receive the Compostela. That’s the way it always was until some 25 or so years ago when the “100 km” rule was introduced.

No one quite knows how cyclists ever got included in the policy...there is no historical reason. And if there are to be restrictions on who can use albergues if cycling pilgrims are to be admitted then why not others?

I have to admit to being biased towards walking pilgrims who maintain the tradition of walking in the footsteps of those who have gone before and who “keep the old roads open” to quote Seamus Heany. Cyclists represent only 10% of pilgrims who register in Santiago but that’s a lot of beds used. My grumbles are very well expressed in Helen1’s post:

“I see your point.

The minimum distance needed to get a certificate is 125 miles, for a regular road cyclist that’s an easy day’s ride – that’s not going to count as a pilgrimage in most people’s minds.

Camino Frances is around 500 miles, for a road cyclist this could be 4-5 days ride (which could be 5 days of intense introspection/a hard physical ride or 4 days of pretty easy riding depending on the cyclist).

For an audax rider I’m guessing but it must 2.5 days riding? A sporting achievement but probably not a pilgrimage in most people’s mind.

I make these comments with the utmost respect for people on this forum for whom a 60km a day cycle ride might be a huge achievement and enormous physical challenge. My intention is not to belittle people’s achievements, simply to point out the distance limits to get a certificate for a regular road cyclist are trivial and I agree that this kind of cycling has little in common with most people’s idea of a pilgrimage.”


In summary: Cyclists won’t be banned. The Compostela will remain with us. My personal position is that I believe everyone who makes a spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago (by their own definition) by whatever means they choose should receive the Compostela.

After 7 years of volunteering I will not be in the Pilgrims’ Office much after April. Rather I’ll be concentrating on services in English in the Cathedral and also a new project to get some of the churches open for pilgrims along the Camino Frances.

Maybe that’s why I feel more able to express my personal grumbles but they are just that. Now the nonsense of the 100 kms rule....to be continued in another thread!
John

You have selectively quoted a post which reinforces your own point of view. I agree with your personal position that "everyone who makes a spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago (by their own definition) by whatever means they choose should receive the Compostela"

When I cycled to Rome it took 30 days. Is that long enough for a pilgrimage?

I think Helen1 and Anenome seem to have rather one eyed views about cyclist and their motivations perhaps with there own reasons. As for the remark "with the utmost respect for people on this forum for whom a 60km a day cycle ride might be a huge achievement and enormous physical challenge" I will not say I have the utmost respect (a patronising remark) for walkers for whom a 20km a day walk might be a huge achievement and enormous physical challenge as for any normal walker it is a sensible days walk which 60 km is for a cyclists, not because of an inability to cycle further but because 60 km per day enables you to stop and "smell the roses", eat and drink with other pilgrims, visit churches and cathedrals etc.

I am sorry this thread has taken the direction it has but these cyclists v walkers threads crop up from time to time and, without banning them which would be censorship, they always produce more rancour than fruitful discussion.

William
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
I am sorry this thread has taken the direction it has but these cyclists v walkers threads crop up from time to time and, without banning them which would be censorship, they always produce more rancour than fruitful discussion.
That's why it is always best to use more jam than vinegar in the tone of the language we use William.

Best wishes

John
 

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

The minimum distance needed to get a certificate is 125 miles, for a regular road cyclist that’s an easy day’s ride – that’s not going to count as a pilgrimage in most people’s minds.

Camino Frances is around 500 miles, for a road cyclist this could be 4-5 days ride (which could be 5 days of intense introspection/a hard physical ride or 4 days of pretty easy riding depending on the cyclist).

For an audax rider I’m guessing but it must 2.5 days riding?
!
Your numbers are really out there. I won quite a few bike races in my day, and never considered 125 miles easy. I covered 500 miles in four days only a few times in my life.

The CF has take me 12-16 days depending on whether I had camping gear and took a rest day.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
It is worth looking back through this thread and seeing what statements have been made - such as "125 miles a day" - to me those posts sound rather ... well ......!

"3-4 hours to recharge an electric bike battery, not very handy" - yet we need 8 to 9 hours to recharge ourselves! That is certainly not very handy!
"cyclists are not in any way similar to walking pilgrims in that they cannot follow the traditional routes" in nearly the same breath as blaming cyclists for cycling along those very same routes
"never ever carry their own belongings" yet any look at a cycling pilgrim will see that their bike is laden down with their own belongings (plus spares and tools)
"I can see no difference between a cycling pilgrim and a motor cycling pilgrim or a motor car using pilgrim." - that person has never experienced the effort of cycling.
"Perhaps non-Catholics (or maybe just cyclists?) should pay a much larger sum of money for a credencial " - ah, make it a Roman Catholic exclusive walking club?
" hurtling by at 40 to 50 kmph" - that is 24 to 30 mph! Wow! Seriously fast .. and this is on the actual Camino? Really?
" there are literally thousands of cyclists exclusively using roads to clock up the maximum daily mileages " - well, I don't know where that wild number came from but it would mean that they are on main roads and not on the Camino, doesn't it?
"People will lie, cheat, and run each other over to get one [a compostela], even if they haven't a clue what the words say." Really? They really do that? That is what 'people' are like is it?Hahaaha.
"Cyclists represent only 10% of pilgrims who register in Santiago but that’s a lot of beds used. " - well, if they are doing "125 miles a day" that is only 4 nights in refugios isn't it? Not many beds then? Ermm .. unless they are doing 30 miles a day? If so that is 15 beds? - so it is the 90% of walking pilgrims who should be penalised for using 32?

Thinking things in one's head doesn't make them true you know - :):)

Including hills the average unladen cycling speed is between 8-10 miles an hour. To do 125 miles a day would take that 'average' unladen cyclist about 14 hours without any breaks at all. Weekend racers can just about do 20 miles an hour over a day (peak for the stars is 25 miles an hour for just one hour), which would take that person nearly 6.5 hours, without stopping.
The Tour de France competitors - the best cyclists in the world - cycle just over 100 miles a day!

So, to cycle 125 miles in a day, every day, one would have to be extremely fit, racer trained (better than the Tour de France competitors), and young, travelling light, on an expensive racer bike on good quality roads.
For an 'ordinary' pilgrim 30 miles on various road/path conditions, with a pannier laden bike, is quite enough, one is quite tired by then - though one can push oneself to even 50 miles occasionally if the roads are good (and one is feeling a bit crazy).

Looking forward to the next over-the-top claim!
 
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Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Nothing anyone else does by way of transport for themselves or luggage bothers me in the least. If they are entitled to a Compostela according to the then current criteria, fine. Of course the most important criteria about the spirit in which a Camino is done is only known by them. So let them judge themselves. It is not for me to do so nor does it affect the way I evaluate my own journey forward. However on a purely practical note I have to say that as someone audibly challenge they often frighten the life out of me. So don't be surprise if you ever find a path-side monument to this COG (Camino Old Geezer).
Just came across this old post of yours. (I actually looked up your old posts, because I read you were starting your Camino in Zariquiegui - how the hell do you say that - and I was curious; it is an unusual choice I would have thought). Anyway, I've worked out I'll be passing you, DV, on a bike (!) somewhere between Logrono and Burgos. I hope I will treat you and all walkers with the respect you deserve, and since you seem to be easily recognisable I hope to share more than a 'buen camino'. I thank you for your sentiments in this post. To me, the pilgrimage is all. I would love to walk it, but am scared that my knees would give out. I admire your courage and wish you well this time.
 

Al the optimist

Veteran Member
Thanks for the comment Perigrinopaul. I have no hang ups about where I start, walk or end up. This time I am following the advice I give to others who are concerned about their health and ability to walk their Camino - I am taking it very easy to start with and seeing how it goes. I already had a flight to Madrid because I was going to walk the Camino Madrid. So I will go to Pamploma from there. Due to the time I will arrive in Pamploma and that I have to buy some sticks there I will head out to Zariquiegui (which I like staying in) and get going from there. I'm not a great fan of the walk through Pamploma anyway. Buen Camino and hope we get to say hi on our way.
Edit: a Zariquiegui start makes for an easier climb up (and more importantly down) the Alto de Perdon. No point in being an old hand in life if you don't learnt how to make it easier now is there? ;)
 
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marylynn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2019 CF, Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
[QUOTE="Al the optimist, post: 296401, member: 18869"...Due to the time I will arrive in Pamploma and that I have to buy some sticks there I will head out to Zariquiegui (which I like staying in) and get going from there. I'm not a great fan of the walk through Pamploma anyway. Buen Camino and hope we get to say hi on our way.
Edit: a Zariquiegui start makes for an easier climb up (and more importantly down) the Alto de Perdon. No point in being an old hand in life if you don't learnt how to make it easier now is there? ;)[/QUOTE]


Hi, Al, I am arriving in Pamplona on May 27th and, based on your advice, I may stay in Zariquiegui on the 28th, and will be taking it easy on my walk to Burgos before I start hospitalera duties in Estella on June 15. I may see you along the way!
 
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Al the optimist

Veteran Member
I will be staying there on 27th now but only walking to Obanos on 28thand to Lorca the next day to try out my heel. So I guess you will soon catch me.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I think the base of all this is the Compostela.
Without the manic drive for this Certificate of Achievement, people would probably take the camino much easier. There would not be debates over who is "real" or "authentic" or "cheating," because there would not be a fundamental Requirement for all of us to meet.
IMHO, the compostela has become idolatrized. People will lie, cheat, and run each other over to get one, even if they haven't a clue what the words say.... they gotta have their official Godly Hike certificate, goddammit!
You are completely 1000% correct.
Got the first in 2008 Reb, have ignored the Certificate since.
Its somewhere in the cabinet draws.
Have got serious problems with the Supraspinatus tendons in both shoulders , operation in Sept , but will be departing from Moissac in early June.

If i get a horse and buggy / lorry will i get a certificate?
Can he/her accompany me , with the lorry attached to the office?

I'll just walk Reb, take my time , ring ahead more often than not and see how we go......but i would love to see a horse and cart.........lol
 

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
You are completely 1000% correct.
Its somewhere in the cabinet drawers.
Exactly. Does any body really care that much about the compostela, apart from the tourists who do the Sarria leg?
Sure, I find it fulfilling going to the pilgrim office and going through the ritual, but that isn't the motive for my pilgrimage.
 

PeteP

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ingles (2013)
Primitive (2014/5)
An interesting thread.
I did the Ingles two years ago, Jonnie W was a great help.
My wife and I set out from Oviedo last September. She has cancer so we brought BO51REV our motorhome with us. Walking to Lugo was
not as easy with BO51 as using the hostels, busses, trains and taxis helped us walk the full distance.
Now we're back and expect to be in Santiago on Sunday.
I'm posting this because my wife is on an electric assisted bike. I walked from Lugo to Palas de Rei but logistics were so difficult that today I cycled.
Jan, my wife cannot walk more than a few yards without considerable pain, buy she has cycled 30k today with electric assistance.
I too wonder about the difference between riding a horse and an electric bike. Both need daily care, both add power from outside the user.

Hi All,

I had read through few forum regarding electric assisted
bicycle to use for Camino trip..

So, If Pilgrim going to use Electric assisted Bicycle for Camino, will he qualify for the passport stamp and final certificate?

Is that any official website allow me to ask and checking?

Thanks a lot

Tom
..
 

ddraver

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Newbie (Nov, 18)
Now, I'm a cyclist so I find it hard to accept that cyclists shouldnt count as pilgrims. However, I also toally understand that for a lot of cyclists it's about "making the trip" rather than any spiritual reason. Particularly so with the new bikepacking fad (of which I'm a fan) which is about doing big distances, carrying minimal and super-lightweight kit. I think such people should be encouraged to look at the via francigena as I reckon that's quite a good cycling vs walking equivalent. ;)

E-bikes though...

I worked for an MTB guiding company in the Alps last summer and "e-Mountain bikes" - which can handle very technical terrain - are becoming more and more popular and causing more and more controversy. Should the guides offer e-bike trips, is it cheating? Are they the perfect exploration tool for the guides. My job was to drive the group as high up as we could get, from where they would then ride on, uphill, for another 2-3 hours in some cases befroe reaching 'the fun bit'. E-bikes ould significantly cut that time down.

And so It goes on, personally I think they have an important part to play and cyclists in general need to get over themselves and their egos about it. As a commuting tool, as a way to help less able people to get a "proper" ride in (say a 30km loop in the country vs a 10km, non powered, ride that doesnt get them out of their town, or even an old guy putting a motor in his road bike to allow him to stick with his clubmates on a club run), for shopping trips etc, they are the future.

But...for a compostella, which is, after all, a certificate of completion of a physical challenge. I'm not sure i can get behind that sorry. Come, enjoy Spain, enjoy the Camino, enjoy the outdoors, have a beer with everyone in the evening. But it's not the same thing.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Afraid to say, I have reached that point in my life as to say who cares?
 

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