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First Lesson Learned.....

LizC-S

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, May 2016
#1
Do not believe the hype and if Plan A is not achievable, then go to Plan B. Move on and do not look back. I haven't even started my first Camino yet (starting on the 17th)!!!

I tried to book the Orisson on the night of the 17th, but they were full. I had had my heart set on walking there, staying the night and enjoying the ambiance, view, etc, etc and then picturing myself crossing the cattle grid over into Spain. Got an e-mail back saying they were fully booked on the 17th and knowing that SJPDP was getting booked up on the 17th, didn't want to faff around walking up to Orisson, bussing back down, finding accommodation and then bussing back up the next day.

Plan B - taking the Route Valcarlos, with a plan to pre-book the Pilgrim's hostel in Roncesvalles for the 18th and have booked a hotel in Pamplona for a few days later with no bookings in-between. Plan B is to walk at my own pace to Pamplona and see where it takes me!

I am one of those people who have to have a plan, somewhere to stay, etc, etc, so this will be a big change and learning experience :)
 

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MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#4
So this may help or may not depending on how you process it. So the best thing you can do before you arrive is to accept that every day you only control what time you begin your walk& when you stop. It will free your mind & soul.
Buen Camino
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's
#6
Do not believe the hype and if Plan A is not achievable, then go to Plan B. Move on and do not look back. I haven't even started my first Camino yet (starting on the 17th)!!!

I tried to book the Orisson on the night of the 17th, but they were full. I had had my heart set on walking there, staying the night and enjoying the ambiance, view, etc, etc and then picturing myself crossing the cattle grid over into Spain. Got an e-mail back saying they were fully booked on the 17th and knowing that SJPDP was getting booked up on the 17th, didn't want to faff around walking up to Orisson, bussing back down, finding accommodation and then bussing back up the next day.

Plan B - taking the Route Valcarlos, with a plan to pre-book the Pilgrim's hostel in Roncesvalles for the 18th and have booked a hotel in Pamplona for a few days later with no bookings in-between. Plan B is to walk at my own pace to Pamplona and see where it takes me!

I am one of those people who have to have a plan, somewhere to stay, etc, etc, so this will be a big change and learning experience :)
If I can't get a bed I will sleep under the stars :). Why worry the Camino provides :). Buen Camino
 

Wokabaut_Meri

merely labeled
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP - Santiago (April/May 2015)
#7
Do not believe the hype and if Plan A is not achievable, then go to Plan B. Move on and do not look back. I haven't even started my first Camino yet (starting on the 17th)!!!

I tried to book the Orisson on the night of the 17th, but they were full. I had had my heart set on walking there, staying the night and enjoying the ambiance, view, etc, etc and then picturing myself crossing the cattle grid over into Spain. Got an e-mail back saying they were fully booked on the 17th and knowing that SJPDP was getting booked up on the 17th, didn't want to faff around walking up to Orisson, bussing back down, finding accommodation and then bussing back up the next day.

Plan B - taking the Route Valcarlos, with a plan to pre-book the Pilgrim's hostel in Roncesvalles for the 18th and have booked a hotel in Pamplona for a few days later with no bookings in-between. Plan B is to walk at my own pace to Pamplona and see where it takes me!

I am one of those people who have to have a plan, somewhere to stay, etc, etc, so this will be a big change and learning experience :)
...and if Plan B fails, the alphabet has another 24 letters :D

Great attitude... whatever the Camino provides, be content.

Go well.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#13
It is always good in life generally to have a Plan B.

You can better deal with life's inevitable disappointments and distractions if you have an alternative plan, every day, for every circumstance.

On the Camino, it is even more important, especially when walking during peak times.
 

PEI_Heather

Canadian Member :)
Camino(s) past & future
2016 - Voie de la Nive
2012, 2016 - Frances
2013 - Portuguese
2012, 2013 - Finesterre & Muxia
#15
If nothing else, you will always have Plan C: Plan Camino.

Plan C is also cafe con leche, which always worked for me! When in doubt, stop, drink the coffee (erm, cafe) and an idea should come to one's coffee contented brain. Plan C also stands for chocolate, another reason to stop and think about how to figure out an issue...or, to add it to the Plan C lexicon: a challenge, of which the Camino is full! Oh! And Plan C is also churros, that go so well with chocolate.

Plan C is starting to sound pretty tasty, hey?!

A Buen Camino (Plan A, B, C) to you!
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#19
It is always good in life generally to have a Plan B.

You can better deal with life's inevitable disappointments and distractions if you have an alternative plan, every day, for every circumstance.

On the Camino, it is even more important, especially when walking during peak times.
Right on! I was prepared for some rain, but the level of rain I was not prepared for. Originally I was going to bike the trail as much as possible from Pamplona to Santiago. Mud changed my mind, I am now on the roads, but the forecast is again showing sunshine, so I may sneak back on some trail if they dry out. Always be flexible in your options.
 

DeniseG

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 28, 2015
#20
Do not believe the hype and if Plan A is not achievable, then go to Plan B. Move on and do not look back. I haven't even started my first Camino yet (starting on the 17th)!!!

I tried to book the Orisson on the night of the 17th, but they were full. I had had my heart set on walking there, staying the night and enjoying the ambiance, view, etc, etc and then picturing myself crossing the cattle grid over into Spain. Got an e-mail back saying they were fully booked on the 17th and knowing that SJPDP was getting booked up on the 17th, didn't want to faff around walking up to Orisson, bussing back down, finding accommodation and then bussing back up the next day.

Plan B - taking the Route Valcarlos, with a plan to pre-book the Pilgrim's hostel in Roncesvalles for the 18th and have booked a hotel in Pamplona for a few days later with no bookings in-between. Plan B is to walk at my own pace to Pamplona and see where it takes me!

I am one of those people who have to have a plan, somewhere to stay, etc, etc, so this will be a big change and learning experience :)
I thought I wanted to stay at Orisson last year, but I'm glad that was not available. I arrived there at 8:30am! We had breakfast and kept going. That was my favorite day on the whole camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#21
With my hips, knees and ankles all to starting to succumb to the downstream consequences of several earlier decades of being morbidly obese, I have to think about other ways to accomplish future Caminos. I am still an "big" guy, but no longer obese. This year, I started from Madrid, but had to stop at Sarria due to the daily bone grinding pain and the aggravating effects of the constant rain and, generally, raw weather. It just accumulated to the point where it was no longer "fun." So, I pulled the plug t Sarria and took a bus into Santiago. Of course, as soon as I exited the estacion de autobuses there, the sun came out and stayed out for at least the next week.

I do not blame the weather. This was my fourth Camino. I know what I am doing, and I am well prepared, mentally and physically. Also, I am well used to rain and mud. In each of my previous Caminos, I experienced prodigious rain, mud and even snow into mid-May, especially at elevations above about 700 meters ASL. Besides, as the late Rev. Phil Wren always said..."the rain in Spain...falls mainly on....Galicia!" He was of course correct.

So, I am toying with the idea of bicycling the Camino Frances in future, as it has the best infrastructure. Now, don't get me wrong, I HATE sharing the Camino with mountain bikes. I dislike this combination almost as much as I detest mud. For the most part, mountain bikers are an intrusion and an added danger to walking pilgrims. :mad: But, read on...

I completely respect their right to do the Camino on a bicycle. But the absence of bells, whistles, or any advance warning of their approach, especially when approaching from behind, is just treacherous to walking pilgrims. What galls me is that I know there is a road-based alternative more suited to bicycles, and safer to walking pilgrims. Yet cyclists do not use it much of the time. I may seek to change that...

I have good reason for this aversion to mountain bikes on the Camino trails. On my first Camino Frances in 2013, I very nearly lost my life when two speeding (downhill) mountain bikers on as day trip, forced me off the trail while I was walking up Alto de Perdon just beyond Pamplona. NOW, of course, there is a series of steel posts with a steel cable mounted at thigh height to prevent such a disaster. It's just my family motto..."A day late and a dollar short..."

But in 2013, only the quick thinking of the second cyclist, in dumping his bike in the weeds and grabbing my lower shoulder strap prevented me from leaping into space where the drop-off is near vertical for about 100 meters along the trail. I had partially stayed my fall with one of my Leki hiking poles. It literally bent into an archery bow shape, and sprang back to normal afterwards. But, it would not have held my full weight. The second, anonymous biker literally saved my life. Parenthetically, once I returned home a month or so later, I wrote Leki an e-mail explaining the story and praising the construction of even the ultra-lightweight poles I was using. Surprisingly, they sent me a free pair of poles as a thank you...what?! I thank them for helping to save my life, and THEY thank me for being thankful and appreciative...go figure...

Anyway, I have been checking into bicycle alternatives for accomplishing the Camino Frances. Did you know that there are parallel, or near parallel secondary roads and regional highways (typically with nil traffic) that follow and crisscross the Camino Frances from Roncesvalles all the way into Santiago? This explains how folks with skinny tire road bikes can do the Camino. I see them in Plaza Obradoiro all the time and wonder how they did that. I knew that they could not have schlepped the bikes up and down muddy trails in the country. So, they must have used the established, more or less parallel road route. I just need to find out exactly how that route runs, what the elevations are, services along the way, etc.

I plan to ask the skinny tire folks more about how they did this when I return to Santiago in July to work as a volunteer for a month. In the meantime, if anyone knows of a good book or guide that explains the road route alternative to support biking a Camino without having to inconvenience or endanger walking pilgrims, please share it.

My notion is to use a proper "city bike" (the European term), complete with fenders, lights and bell. I happen to have a very good one from my years living in Belgium. It might be slow going up hills, and I expect to have to walk it up many hillside roads, but it will be more comfortable than a mountain bike and certainly more comfortable than enduring that skinny road bike saddle for two or three weeks. DO NOT WORRY, I WILL NOT WEAR SPANDEX! This will save the eyesight of many a person along the way. I am definitely one of those people who should NEVER wear spandex, under any circumstances.:eek:

The notion of buying or renting a bike is also something I might consider. All suggestions and recommendations concerning the type of bicycle, how to obtain and maintain same, and specific gear I might need will be very gratefully accepted.

Also, as I typically stay in hostals or hotels, security for the bike should not be as much an issue, and I will not have to carry as much as I do now as a backpacking pilgrim.

I would prefer to be able to walk as I have in the past. But, depending on what my doctors tell me over the next few months, I may have to revert to "Plan B" for doing a Camino in future.

Any thoughts and suggestions are, of course, welcome. Thank you in advance.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
#22
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Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#24
.....So, I am toying with the idea of bicycling the Camino Frances in future, as it has the best infrastructure. Now, don't get me wrong, I HATE sharing the Camino with mountain bikes. I dislike this combination almost as much as I detest mud. For the most part, mountain bikers are an intrusion and an added danger to walking pilgrims. :mad: But, read on...

I completely respect their right to do the Camino on a bicycle. But the absence of bells, whistles, or any advance warning of their approach, especially when approaching from behind, is just treacherous to walking pilgrims.....

Anyway, I have been checking into bicycle alternatives for accomplishing the Camino Frances. Did you know that there are parallel, or near parallel secondary roads and regional highways (typically with nil traffic) that follow and crisscross the Camino Frances from Roncesvalles all the way into Santiago? This explains how folks with skinny tire road bikes can do the Camino. ....I just need to find out exactly how that route runs, what the elevations are, services along the way, etc.

I plan to ask the skinny tire folks more about how they did this when I return to Santiago in July to work as a volunteer for a month. In the meantime, if anyone knows of a good book or guide that explains the road route alternative to support biking a Camino without having to inconvenience or endanger walking pilgrims, please share it.

My notion is to use a proper "city bike" (the European term), complete with fenders, lights and bell. I happen to have a very good one from my years living in Belgium. It might be slow going up hills, and I expect to have to walk it up many hillside roads, but it will be more comfortable than a mountain bike and certainly more comfortable than enduring that skinny road bike saddle for two or three weeks. DO NOT WORRY, I WILL NOT WEAR SPANDEX! This will save the eyesight of many a person along the way. I am definitely one of those people who should NEVER wear spandex, under any circumstances.:eek:

The notion of buying or renting a bike is also something I might consider. All suggestions and recommendations concerning the type of bicycle, how to obtain and maintain same, and specific gear I might need will be very gratefully accepted.
This is my first Camino, but for the past two years I have done a number of long distance bike rides. And biked a variety of trails prior to that. In particular the past two years I have ridden the Seattle to Portland 205 mile 2-day ride along with a number of 40 to 60 mile rides. You will need to train. I trained as in previous years, but the Camino kicked my butt.

Choose your bike carefully and know its advantages and disadvantages. At home I have a fancy endurance road bike (Fugi Grand Fondo carbon fiber) and a fancy Mountain bike (Specialized 29'er disk brake hard tail rockhopper). For Camino hills you will walk some, but you will also want a real low gear ratio to avoid walking. Mountain bikes usually have the lowest gear ratios of any bike. Mountain bikes can be equipped with non-knobby tires if you are sure you don't want to be on a trail. Newer Mountain bikes now come with disk brakes and there are some huge Camino road downhill stretches, where in the rain that is a big plus.

Narrow tire road bikes are fine for asphalt roads, but are impossible on cobblestone city streets, and downright dangerous on such streets. Mountain bikes usually have a front shock absorbing capability and some have shocks front and back. There are also hybrid bikes. If you go with a city or road bike your hands and wrists will take a pounding such that you need gel-padded gloves and you will need to train for wrist/hand vibration. Whatever you ride, get a saddle that fits you and you are use to riding for hours on end. Your saddle will make your ride hell if it is wrong or your bike is not adjusted.

I have two bells on my bike and as an older gentleman have a lot of respect for not sneaking up on people and if a trail is too narrow, dismounting and walking or waiting until the trail widens to pass.

Would you like to hear some of my hiker stories about pilgrims who insist on walking 4 abreast and then moving two to each side in a way that is impossible to get through, or starting to the right and then as I approach ducking left. And then there are the pilgrims who strap their pointed treking poles (fully extended pointing to the center of the trail and like to walk just off-center. Good manners is needed by all that share the Camino. Bikers can be jerks, but the ones I have meet for the most part respect the walkers, as most of the walkers have respected bikers.

Now as to spandex, I would advise you to seriously consider getting and wearing CWX stability performance tights over padded bike shorts. Think of them as a combination knee support, muscle support and endurance enhancement. There are studies that show you use about 20 to 30 % less energy for a given distance by using such "engineered tights." You may think you look funny, but at the end of 25 km or 45 km day, wouldn't you prefer to have your body feel it has gone a fifth to a third less distance? The choice of vanity is yours.

If you want to explore CWX information and how they work (I discovered them training for half marathons, use them for skiing, mountain climbing, and bicycling) check out http://cw-x.com/how-it-works/
 
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MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#25
This is my first Camino, but for the past two years I have done a number of long distance bike rides. And biked a variety of trails prior to that. In particular the past two years I have ridden the Seattle to Portland 205 mile 2-day ride along with a number of 40 to 60 mile rides. You will need to train. I trained as in previous years, but the Camino kicked my butt.

Choose your bike carefully and know its advantages and disadvantages. At home I have a fancy endurance road bike (Fugi Grand Fondo carbon fiber) and a fancy Mountain bike (Specialized 29'er disk brake hard tail rockhopper). For Camino hills you will walk some, but you will also want a real low gear ratio to avoid walking. Mountain bikes usually have the lowest gear ratios of any bike. Mountain bikes can be equipped with non-knobby tires if you are sure you don't want to be on a trail. Newer Mountain bikes now come with disk brakes and there are some huge Camino road downhill stretches, where in the rain that is a big plus.

Narrow tire road bikes are fine for asphalt roads, but are impossible on cobblestone city streets, and downright dangerous on such streets. Mountain bikes usually have a front shock absorbing capability and some have shocks front and back. There are also hybrid bikes. If you go with a city or road bike your hands and wrists will take a pounding such that you need gel-padded gloves and you will need to train for wrist/hand vibration. Whatever you ride, get a saddle that fits you and you are use to riding for hours on end. Your saddle will make your ride hell if it is wrong or your bike is not adjusted.

I have two bells on my bike and as an older gentleman have a lot of respect for not sneaking up on people and if a trail is too narrow, dismounting and walking or waiting until the trail widens to pass.

Would you like to hear some of my hiker stories about pilgrims who insist on walking 4 abreast and then moving two to each side in a way that is impossible to get through, or starting to the right and then as I approach ducking left. And then there are the pilgrims who strap their pointed treking poles (fully extended pointing to the center of the trail and like to walk just off-center. Good manners is needed by all that share the Camino. Bikers can be jerks, but the ones I have meet for the most part respect the walkers, as most of the walkers have respected bikers.

Now as to spandex, I would advise you to seriously consider getting and wearing CWX stability performance tights over padded bike shorts. Think of them as a combination knee support, muscle support and endurance enhancement. There are studies that show you use about 20 to 30 % less energy for a given distance by using such "engineered tights." You may think you look funny, but at the end of 25 km or 45 km day, wouldn't you prefer to have your body feel it has gone a fifth to a third less distance? The choice of vanity is yours.

If you want to explore CWX information and how they work (I discovered them training for half marathons, use them for skiing, mountain climbing, and bicycling) check out http://cw-x.com/how-it-works/
Older guy

Thanks for sharing your info on the bike side. Very interesting to hear what riders VS walkers have to deal with. So if you were to pick a bike/tires for the same time of year what would it be? How much weight do you carry on the bike & What do you use to carry it.
The last question is lights what works?
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#26
Older guy

Thanks for sharing your info on the bike side. Very interesting to hear what riders VS walkers have to deal with. So if you were to pick a bike/tires for the same time of year what would it be? How much weight do you carry on the bike & What do you use to carry it.
The last question is lights what works?
I am in Porto Marin this morning. I would pick a mountain bike, 29'r hardtail, with fenders, bar ends, disk brakes, and waterproof painers/saddlebags. For tires I would probable pick slicks or city light tread, if I were to take mostly the road, as they also will work on a dry hard packed trail. As to luggage weight I would try to keep it to 25 pounds maybe 30 most. I would send the luggage ahead on days with steep climbs.

I would also advise doing a lot to training a head of time and getting your bike set up or fitted to you professionally. Then write down all the dimensions, take your seat/saddle with you and set your rental bike up exactly as the bike you trained on. Good Luck!

PS any LED flashing light will cause people to see you, but a high vis jacket is critical. I have never been out late enough to need lights to see with and I have done a couple of 60+ km days.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#27
This is my first Camino, but for the past two years I have done a number of long distance bike rides. And biked a variety of trails prior to that. In particular the past two years I have ridden the Seattle to Portland 205 mile 2-day ride along with a number of 40 to 60 mile rides. You will need to train. I trained as in previous years, but the Camino kicked my butt.

Choose your bike carefully and know its advantages and disadvantages. At home I have a fancy endurance road bike (Fugi Grand Fondo carbon fiber) and a fancy Mountain bike (Specialized 29'er disk brake hard tail rockhopper). For Camino hills you will walk some, but you will also want a real low gear ratio to avoid walking. Mountain bikes usually have the lowest gear ratios of any bike. Mountain bikes can be equipped with non-knobby tires if you are sure you don't want to be on a trail. Newer Mountain bikes now come with disk brakes and there are some huge Camino road downhill stretches, where in the rain that is a big plus.

Narrow tire road bikes are fine for asphalt roads, but are impossible on cobblestone city streets, and downright dangerous on such streets. Mountain bikes usually have a front shock absorbing capability and some have shocks front and back. There are also hybrid bikes. If you go with a city or road bike your hands and wrists will take a pounding such that you need gel-padded gloves and you will need to train for wrist/hand vibration. Whatever you ride, get a saddle that fits you and you are use to riding for hours on end. Your saddle will make your ride hell if it is wrong or your bike is not adjusted.

I have two bells on my bike and as an older gentleman have a lot of respect for not sneaking up on people and if a trail is too narrow, dismounting and walking or waiting until the trail widens to pass.

Would you like to hear some of my hiker stories about pilgrims who insist on walking 4 abreast and then moving two to each side in a way that is impossible to get through, or starting to the right and then as I approach ducking left. And then there are the pilgrims who strap their pointed treking poles (fully extended pointing to the center of the trail and like to walk just off-center. Good manners is needed by all that share the Camino. Bikers can be jerks, but the ones I have meet for the most part respect the walkers, as most of the walkers have respected bikers.

Now as to spandex, I would advise you to seriously consider getting and wearing CWX stability performance tights over padded bike shorts. Think of them as a combination knee support, muscle support and endurance enhancement. There are studies that show you use about 20 to 30 % less energy for a given distance by using such "engineered tights." You may think you look funny, but at the end of 25 km or 45 km day, wouldn't you prefer to have your body feel it has gone a fifth to a third less distance? The choice of vanity is yours.

If you want to explore CWX information and how they work (I discovered them training for half marathons, use them for skiing, mountain climbing, and bicycling) check out http://cw-x.com/how-it-works/
Thank you VERY MUCH for all the useful information. It gives me something to consider seriously as I weigh my options. I am committed to remaining off the Camino trail proper and sticking to paved surfaces whenever possible. So, the option of fitting street tires to MTB rims is a very good one. I also liked the mention of disc brakes. My city bike has internal drum brakes, as opposed to caliper brakes. They are largely bulletproof and work in all weather conditions.

I am still leery of spandex. Maybe I could wear shorts but only under a long-tailed shirt. Let's just say that pear-shaped people look awfully funny in spandex...Monty Michelin comes to mind...

Thanks again.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to bike spring 2017
#28
I am still leery of spandex. Maybe I could wear shorts but only under a long-tailed shirt. Let's just say that pear-shaped people look awfully funny in spandex...Monty Michelin comes to mind....
Spandex is great - it holds everything in!
But know there are other options. Primarily mountain bike related, but you can buy padded bike underwear that you then wear under whatever shorts or pants you like. Or there are baggy mountain bike shorts.
Some like these even have lots of pockets.
http://www.jejamescycles.co.uk/cntr...id22946.html?gclid=CJzom6rH3MwCFQsPaQod4fEG0w
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#29
...I am still leery of spandex. Maybe I could wear shorts but only under a long-tailed shirt. .....
Thanks again.
You said you have knee problems. Your knees will still suffer bicycling, just different. Get a pair of CWX stability engineered tights, put a pair of loose pants over them (if you must) and see how much difference they make in hiking or any athletic event. I was shocked at the huge difference. At times in running, I needed to use knee braces before I got my tights, but the stability tights have built in knee braces and leg/calf muscle support that really allows your knees to function. Check out the sales link in my original post. Try it, you just might find out that technology can make parts of your your life better.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#30
WOW! Thanks for the CWX lead. I bookmarked the site. There are at least two retailers near me. So, when I plan my next Camino, I can consider this as a viable alternative to all the elastic supports I now have to wear. The CWX concept looks promising, if a little avant guard for my middle-aged livery...

But, even if it works superb, I WILL have to wear at least a pair of cargo shorts. First, I must have places to carry all the crap I now tote in my cargo pockets each day on Camino (my documents, electronics and other valuables NEVER leave my person (ever); and Second, some men simply ought not wear anything like spandex...I am one of them.

But, thank you sincerely for an excellent idea!
 

PEI_Heather

Canadian Member :)
Camino(s) past & future
2016 - Voie de la Nive
2012, 2016 - Frances
2013 - Portuguese
2012, 2013 - Finesterre & Muxia
#31
With my hips, knees and ankles all to starting to succumb to the downstream consequences of several earlier decades of being morbidly obese, I have to think about other ways to accomplish future Caminos. I am still an "big" guy, but no longer obese. This year, I started from Madrid, but had to stop at Sarria due to the daily bone grinding pain and the aggravating effects of the constant rain and, generally, raw weather. It just accumulated to the point where it was no longer "fun." So, I pulled the plug t Sarria and took a bus into Santiago. Of course, as soon as I exited the estacion de autobuses there, the sun came out and stayed out for at least the next week.

I do not blame the weather. This was my fourth Camino. I know what I am doing, and I am well prepared, mentally and physically. Also, I am well used to rain and mud. In each of my previous Caminos, I experienced prodigious rain, mud and even snow into mid-May, especially at elevations above about 700 meters ASL. Besides, as the late Rev. Phil Wren always said..."the rain in Spain...falls mainly on....Galicia!" He was of course correct.

So, I am toying with the idea of bicycling the Camino Frances in future, as it has the best infrastructure. Now, don't get me wrong, I HATE sharing the Camino with mountain bikes. I dislike this combination almost as much as I detest mud. For the most part, mountain bikers are an intrusion and an added danger to walking pilgrims. :mad: But, read on...

I completely respect their right to do the Camino on a bicycle. But the absence of bells, whistles, or any advance warning of their approach, especially when approaching from behind, is just treacherous to walking pilgrims. What galls me is that I know there is a road-based alternative more suited to bicycles, and safer to walking pilgrims. Yet cyclists do not use it much of the time. I may seek to change that...

I have good reason for this aversion to mountain bikes on the Camino trails. On my first Camino Frances in 2013, I very nearly lost my life when two speeding (downhill) mountain bikers on as day trip, forced me off the trail while I was walking up Alto de Perdon just beyond Pamplona. NOW, of course, there is a series of steel posts with a steel cable mounted at thigh height to prevent such a disaster. It's just my family motto..."A day late and a dollar short..."

But in 2013, only the quick thinking of the second cyclist, in dumping his bike in the weeds and grabbing my lower shoulder strap prevented me from leaping into space where the drop-off is near vertical for about 100 meters along the trail. I had partially stayed my fall with one of my Leki hiking poles. It literally bent into an archery bow shape, and sprang back to normal afterwards. But, it would not have held my full weight. The second, unanimous biker literally saved my life. Parenthetically, once I returned home a month or so later, I wrote Leki an e-mail explaining the story and praising the construction of even the ultra-lightweight poles I was using. Surprisingly, they sent me a free pair of poles as a thank you...what?! I thank them for helping to save my life, and THEY thank me for being thankful and appreciative...go figure...

Anyway, I have been checking into bicycle alternatives for accomplishing the Camino Frances. Did you know that there are parallel, or near parallel secondary roads and regional highways (typically with nil traffic) that follow and crisscross the Camino Frances from Roncesvalles all the way into Santiago? This explains how folks with skinny tire road bikes can do the Camino. I see them in Plaza Obradoiro all the time and wonder how they did that. I knew that they could not have schlepped the bikes up and down muddy trails in the country. So, they must have used the established, more or less parallel road route. I just need to find out exactly how that route runs, what the elevations are, services along the way, etc.

I plan to ask the skinny tire folks more about how they did this when I return to Santiago in July to work as a volunteer for a month. In the meantime, if anyone knows of a good book or guide that explains the road route alternative to support biking a Camino without having to inconvenience or endanger walking pilgrims, please share it.

My notion is to use a proper "city bike" (the European term), complete with fenders, lights and bell. I happen to have a very good one from my years living in Belgium. It might be slow going up hills, and I expect to have to walk it up many hillside roads, but it will be more comfortable than a mountain bike and certainly more comfortable than enduring that skinny road bike saddle for two or three weeks. DO NOT WORRY, I WILL NOT WEAR SPANDEX! This will save the eyesight of many a person along the way. I am definitely one of those people who should NEVER wear spandex, under any circumstances.:eek:

The notion of buying or renting a bike is also something I might consider. All suggestions and recommendations concerning the type of bicycle, how to obtain and maintain same, and specific gear I might need will be very gratefully accepted.

Also, as I typically stay in hostals or hotels, security for the bike should not be as much an issue, and I will not have to carry as much as I do now as a backpacking pilgrim.

I would prefer to be able to walk as I have in the past. But, depending on what my doctors tell me over the next few months, I may have to revert to "Plan B" for doing a Camino in future.

Any thoughts and suggestions are, of course, welcome. Thank you in advance.
No suggestions, but my thought is that you are awesome, Andreo! Cycle on, buddy, cycle on!
 

Liliya

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future
#32
So now after reading this forum I am freaking out a little bit since I leave for the Camino in 9 days. I started training 3 1/2 weeks ago but once I looked at the incline, I realized that I am not prepared for this. I'm not in the best of shape and lack of training is a little frightening.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#33
So now after reading this forum I am freaking out a little bit since I leave for the Camino in 9 days. I started training 3 1/2 weeks ago but once I looked at the incline, I realized that I am not prepared for this. I'm not in the best of shape and lack of training is a little frightening.
@Liliya:
I think that some amount of training is a good idea, if you can manage it, but the most important thing, in my opinion, is to know and respect your own limits. If your one month of training has shown you how far you can comfortably walk in a day, then respect that learning at the beginning of your camino. You will be able to walk further with the same or less effort after you have walked yourself into better condition on the way.
Age is not a reason to avoid walking, but serious health issues may be (ask your doctor). I walked the camino last fall at the age of 67 and with no training. But I am an experienced mountain hiker and this informed my speed and distance of walking. The hike up to Orisson is steep, if you are going that way. But if you are familiar with uphill walking, just keep your own pace for your actual physical condition and stop at Orisson the first night, rather than going on to Roncesvalles. You will need a reservation to stay at Orisson, or may walk the Valcarlos route, which is less steep. Carry a light pack and don't walk further than you are comfortable with and you should be fine. The pilgrimage is not a competition.
 

Liliya

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future
#34
@Liliya:
I think that some amount of training is a good idea, if you can manage it, but the most important thing, in my opinion, is to know and respect your own limits. If your one month of training has shown you how far you can comfortably walk in a day, then respect that learning at the beginning of your camino. You will be able to walk further with the same or less effort after you have walked yourself into better condition on the way.
Age is not a reason to avoid walking, but serious health issues may be (ask your doctor). I walked the camino last fall at the age of 67 and with no training. But I am an experienced mountain hiker and this informed my speed and distance of walking. The hike up to Orisson is steep, if you are going that way. But if you are familiar with uphill walking, just keep your own pace for your actual physical condition and stop at Orisson the first night, rather than going on to Roncesvalles. You will need a reservation to stay at Orisson, or may walk the Valcarlos route, which is less steep. Carry a light pack and don't walk further than you are comfortable with and you should be fine. The pilgrimage is not a competition.
Albertagirl,
Thank you for the advice. I forgot to mention that I will be biking the camino and that is the fear. I would not have a problem walking but for biking, I feel ill prepared. The age is not the problem but the 50 pounds I put on in the past year is. I have managed to loose 7 lbs in the last 3 weeks and hope for a few more before I start but I still have a lot to carry. I have rode long distance 32miles and some incline (200m) just not more than that.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#35
Albertagirl,
Thank you for the advice. I forgot to mention that I will be biking the camino and that is the fear. I would not have a problem walking but for biking, I feel ill prepared. The age is not the problem but the 50 pounds I put on in the past year is. I have managed to loose 7 lbs in the last 3 weeks and hope for a few more before I start but I still have a lot to carry. I have rode long distance 32miles and some incline (200m) just not more than that.
@Liliya:
I wondered about that, since some of the posters above are talking about bicycling. But I think that the principle is the same. If you know what you can do when cycling and stay within your own limits, you should be fine. But you will be for much of the time on roads, if secondary roads. Be very cautious about the traffic. I don't know where you are from. If you are from North America or continental Europe, you will be used to traffic on the right and bicycles on the right. But if from Britain or Ireland you will have to remain very alert at first to the traffic flow. I think you will find if you spend much time on the forum that quite a few of us rely on the camino to help us lose the weight that we piled on in the previous year. You will not be alone in that. Take care and buen camino.
 

angeliki louk

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2014 camino Frances.
June 2015 Camino north
Camino primitivo
#36
Do not believe the hype and if Plan A is not achievable, then go to Plan B. Move on and do not look back. I haven't even started my first Camino yet (starting on the 17th)!!!

I tried to book the Orisson on the night of the 17th, but they were full. I had had my heart set on walking there, staying the night and enjoying the ambiance, view, etc, etc and then picturing myself crossing the cattle grid over into Spain. Got an e-mail back saying they were fully booked on the 17th and knowing that SJPDP was getting booked up on the 17th, didn't want to faff around walking up to Orisson, bussing back down, finding accommodation and then bussing back up the next day.

Plan B - taking the Route Valcarlos, with a plan to pre-book the Pilgrim's hostel in Roncesvalles for the 18th and have booked a hotel in Pamplona for a few days later with no bookings in-between. Plan B is to walk at my own pace to Pamplona and see where it takes me!

I am one of those people who have to have a plan, somewhere to stay, etc, etc, so this will be a big change and learning experience :)
Don't stress about that......The way provides......just go walk and enjoy your way!!!!!
I have done the camino twice,never booked and always found a place to sleep!!!!
Buen camino!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#37
Albertagirl,
Thank you for the advice. I forgot to mention that I will be biking the camino and that is the fear. I would not have a problem walking but for biking, I feel ill prepared. The age is not the problem but the 50 pounds I put on in the past year is. I have managed to loose 7 lbs in the last 3 weeks and hope for a few more before I start but I still have a lot to carry. I have rode long distance 32miles and some incline (200m) just not more than that.
I would not fear the weight as much as the lack of training. The advice about starting slow and knowing your limits is profound on many levels.

The hard parts of biking are saddle soreness which can be serious if your bike is not properly set up for you and you are not use to the saddle. Many men who don't train get temporary impotence due to saddle pressure cutting off blood flow or pressure on certain nerves to parts of the male body. Another common problem is horrible wrist and palm pain do to the vibration passed onto nerves in the hands from bumps in the road.

Start out slowly, take lots of breaks during the first few days, walk your bike every now and then, and go to a good bike store to make sure it is fitted to you. Saddle and wrist problems usually occur for rides in excess of 40 miles (in my experience). Good Luck
 

Liliya

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future
#38
I would not fear the weight as much as the lack of training. The advice about starting slow and knowing your limits is profound on many levels.

The hard parts of biking are saddle soreness which can be serious if your bike is not properly set up for you and you are not use to the saddle. Many men who don't train get temporary impotence due to saddle pressure cutting off blood flow or pressure on certain nerves to parts of the male body. Another common problem is horrible wrist and palm pain do to the vibration passed onto nerves in the hands from bumps in the road.

Start out slowly, take lots of breaks during the first few days, walk your bike every now and then, and go to a good bike store to make sure it is fitted to you. Saddle and wrist problems usually occur for rides in excess of 40 miles (in my experience). Good Luck
Thank you,
I will be bringing my bike so the fit should be good and this one month of training has gotten me used to the saddle. The climb is the fear.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to bike spring 2017
#39
I will also be biking, VDLP, and am concerned about some of the hills. However my new favorite Spanidh word is "empujabici" which means pushing the bike up a hill. There will be some of that, and I just plan to take it slowly.

Meanwhile how are you getting your bike there? I was thinking to just take my saddle and pedals (and of course a bell) as it seems a bit complicated to take the bike on the plane.

Please post updates along your Way
 

Liliya

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future
#40
I will also be biking, VDLP, and am concerned about some of the hills. However my new favorite Spanidh word is "empujabici" which means pushing the bike up a hill. There will be some of that, and I just plan to take it slowly.

Meanwhile how are you getting your bike there? I was thinking to just take my saddle and pedals (and of course a bell) as it seems a bit complicated to take the bike on the plane.

Please post updates along your Way
I am flying British air line and they do not have a charge for bringing bikes on the plane. You have to package it properly and turn it in with luggage. I will be wrapping it in a plastic bag. I fly out this Thursday and will try to let you know how that goes.
 

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
#41
In the meantime, if anyone knows of a good book or guide that explains the road route alternative to support biking a Camino without having to inconvenience or endanger walking pilgrims, please share it.
The CSJ guide books usually have the bikers route given and are good value. :)
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#42
Thank you,
I will be bringing my bike so the fit should be good and this one month of training has gotten me used to the saddle. The climb is the fear.
Then you should be fine. Pack light, on days that are to be long or hilly or wet, send your luggage ahead by service/taxi. The usual price is 3 to 7 euros and on big hill days worth it! Don't do it every day as it removes the ability to stop when you want.
 

mguillen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019
#43
You said you have knee problems. Your knees will still suffer bicycling, just different. Get a pair of CWX stability engineered tights, put a pair of loose pants over them (if you must) and see how much difference they make in hiking or any athletic event. I was shocked at the huge difference. At times in running, I needed to use knee braces before I got my tights, but the stability tights have built in knee braces and leg/calf muscle support that really allows your knees to function. Check out the sales link in my original post. Try it, you just might find out that technology can make parts of your your life better.
Do these get unbearably hot? Are they breathable?
 

Iriebabel

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
? route TBD for April (2019)
#44
With my hips, knees and ankles all to starting to succumb to the downstream consequences of several earlier decades of being morbidly obese, I have to think about other ways to accomplish future Caminos. I am still an "big" guy, but no longer obese. This year, I started from Madrid, but had to stop at Sarria due to the daily bone grinding pain and the aggravating effects of the constant rain and, generally, raw weather. It just accumulated to the point where it was no longer "fun." So, I pulled the plug t Sarria and took a bus into Santiago. Of course, as soon as I exited the estacion de autobuses there, the sun came out and stayed out for at least the next week.

I do not blame the weather. This was my fourth Camino. I know what I am doing, and I am well prepared, mentally and physically. Also, I am well used to rain and mud. In each of my previous Caminos, I experienced prodigious rain, mud and even snow into mid-May, especially at elevations above about 700 meters ASL. Besides, as the late Rev. Phil Wren always said..."the rain in Spain...falls mainly on....Galicia!" He was of course correct.

So, I am toying with the idea of bicycling the Camino Frances in future, as it has the best infrastructure. Now, don't get me wrong, I HATE sharing the Camino with mountain bikes. I dislike this combination almost as much as I detest mud. For the most part, mountain bikers are an intrusion and an added danger to walking pilgrims. :mad: But, read on...

I completely respect their right to do the Camino on a bicycle. But the absence of bells, whistles, or any advance warning of their approach, especially when approaching from behind, is just treacherous to walking pilgrims. What galls me is that I know there is a road-based alternative more suited to bicycles, and safer to walking pilgrims. Yet cyclists do not use it much of the time. I may seek to change that...

I have good reason for this aversion to mountain bikes on the Camino trails. On my first Camino Frances in 2013, I very nearly lost my life when two speeding (downhill) mountain bikers on as day trip, forced me off the trail while I was walking up Alto de Perdon just beyond Pamplona. NOW, of course, there is a series of steel posts with a steel cable mounted at thigh height to prevent such a disaster. It's just my family motto..."A day late and a dollar short..."

But in 2013, only the quick thinking of the second cyclist, in dumping his bike in the weeds and grabbing my lower shoulder strap prevented me from leaping into space where the drop-off is near vertical for about 100 meters along the trail. I had partially stayed my fall with one of my Leki hiking poles. It literally bent into an archery bow shape, and sprang back to normal afterwards. But, it would not have held my full weight. The second, anonymous biker literally saved my life. Parenthetically, once I returned home a month or so later, I wrote Leki an e-mail explaining the story and praising the construction of even the ultra-lightweight poles I was using. Surprisingly, they sent me a free pair of poles as a thank you...what?! I thank them for helping to save my life, and THEY thank me for being thankful and appreciative...go figure...

Anyway, I have been checking into bicycle alternatives for accomplishing the Camino Frances. Did you know that there are parallel, or near parallel secondary roads and regional highways (typically with nil traffic) that follow and crisscross the Camino Frances from Roncesvalles all the way into Santiago? This explains how folks with skinny tire road bikes can do the Camino. I see them in Plaza Obradoiro all the time and wonder how they did that. I knew that they could not have schlepped the bikes up and down muddy trails in the country. So, they must have used the established, more or less parallel road route. I just need to find out exactly how that route runs, what the elevations are, services along the way, etc.

I plan to ask the skinny tire folks more about how they did this when I return to Santiago in July to work as a volunteer for a month. In the meantime, if anyone knows of a good book or guide that explains the road route alternative to support biking a Camino without having to inconvenience or endanger walking pilgrims, please share it.

My notion is to use a proper "city bike" (the European term), complete with fenders, lights and bell. I happen to have a very good one from my years living in Belgium. It might be slow going up hills, and I expect to have to walk it up many hillside roads, but it will be more comfortable than a mountain bike and certainly more comfortable than enduring that skinny road bike saddle for two or three weeks. DO NOT WORRY, I WILL NOT WEAR SPANDEX! This will save the eyesight of many a person along the way. I am definitely one of those people who should NEVER wear spandex, under any circumstances.:eek:

The notion of buying or renting a bike is also something I might consider. All suggestions and recommendations concerning the type of bicycle, how to obtain and maintain same, and specific gear I might need will be very gratefully accepted.

Also, as I typically stay in hostals or hotels, security for the bike should not be as much an issue, and I will not have to carry as much as I do now as a backpacking pilgrim.

I would prefer to be able to walk as I have in the past. But, depending on what my doctors tell me over the next few months, I may have to revert to "Plan B" for doing a Camino in future.

Any thoughts and suggestions are, of course, welcome. Thank you in advance.
Hello Florida compadre...I’m just a stones throw from Tampa. If you haven't tried magnesium for the joint pains I would recommend it after talking with your doctor of course. They can recommend a good daily dose. Also I would recommend you travel with a TENS (electrical stimulation). They have some small ones weighs nothing. On my camino in April I slept with mine almost every night. I would shower after getting to the albergue and put on the stim pads right away. By the next morning joints were ready again. I have Leki poles also and they are the best I have found. Cannot live without them. Consider visiting a podiatrist joint problems can also be from shoe/orthotic issues . I agree with a couple other posters regarding biking, it can also affect your joints especially the knees. Good Luck in Biking and Buen Camino.
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
#46
Do these get unbearably hot? Are they breathable?
Not at all! They are designed to breathe. I own two pair and took both with me on my Camino and last summer on my Coast to Coast bike ride across England. I use my CWX tights for skiing, running, hiking, mountain climbing and long distance biking in all kinds of weather.
 

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