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Handcycling the Camino

2020 Camino Guides

Nicholas VH

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Summer 2018
Hello All,
I am going to be doing my first Camino in the summer of 2018 and I am looking at the best route to plan. Here is the thing, I am a wheelchair user and I plan on doing the Camino in a handcycle. Has anybody ever done it before? what route is ideal? I am thinking the Camino Frances, but am interested in hearing about other peoples experiences if they have done other routes? Another major question, route depending, is for those of you who have done it, how was the paths overall and how often did you need to find the road to be able to accommodate the bike. I am thinking of this question in particular in reference to roughness, narrowness and steepness. Any help is much appreciated!
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I remember in October 2014 there was a young man doing the Camino Frances in some sort of handcycle. Maybe @SYates will know more about him and post something here.
 

HedaP

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances starting SJPdP Sept/Oct 2015, April/May 2017
Was photographing the traditional musician in the arch just before reaching the square in front of the cathedral at Santiago when a young man with one leg got out of his handcycle wheelchair and hopped through the few stairs. He had at least two friends helping him but he had done it. I witnessed their joy at arrival. One of my many camino blessings. Not sure how possible it is to do but I will message you and try to send you my photo of them which was taken inadvertently and is not for public consumption.
 
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Jodipup

Member
Camino(s) past & future
del Norte, Primitivo, Finisterre 2014, Portugeuse 2015, Frances 2016,2017, del Norte 2017,
P1000855.JPG

My daughter (in wheelchair with hand cycle) and I went from Logrono to just past Burgos and then my daughter met up again with some Camino friends from Sarria to Santiago. It was very hard but lots of fun. Try to get a copy of the Camino guide for cyclists. We did not have a copy but met the author en route, he was walking. If you would like more information, private message me.
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
Hello All,
I am going to be doing my first Camino in the summer of 2018 and I am looking at the best route to plan. Here is the thing, I am a wheelchair user and I plan on doing the Camino in a handcycle. Has anybody ever done it before? what route is ideal? I am thinking the Camino Frances, but am interested in hearing about other peoples experiences if they have done other routes? Another major question, route depending, is for those of you who have done it, how was the paths overall and how often did you need to find the road to be able to accommodate the bike. I am thinking of this question in particular in reference to roughness, narrowness and steepness. Any help is much appreciated!
There are places that are not conducive to a hand cycle. The trip to Molinaseca comes to mind. If you hook up with some cyclists, perhaps they can guide you on the roads instead of taking the more treacherous and difficult paths.
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
WOW!
Riding a typical bicycle would be difficult enough, but a handcycle is a whole different issue. Good for you, good luck and please post photos along your journey.
 

canesvenatici

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
September 2017
Hi Nicholas VH, I cycled the Camino Frances from Leon to Santiago from 14 - 18 Sept 2017 on a MTB. There are definitely steep, rocky and technical MTB ascents and descents. On the Camino Frances, the upside is there always is a road option given the volume of traffic the route receives.

The climb to the Iron Cross can be done on tarmac or off-road. Please take the road for the climb to O Cebreiro. This climb is split into 2 sections; before and after Laguna. Whilst the climb after Laguna to the summit on the walking trail can be attempted by cyclists, I chose not to as it is my legs have taken a beating and the 2nd part of the climb is not easy. I found the views to be better on the tarmac route for the climb to the summit as the trail has to be done through the trees.

The descent from O Cebreiro should be done on road till after Fonfria. I was able to use the walking trail to descend after that. The route leading to and after Arzua includes sections on narrow, steep, rocky paths. It's not just a matter of one's strength and endurance but also bearing in mind that the cyclist is amongst a multitude of walkers, all of whom are struggling with the uphill climb.

From Triacestello, the route through Samos is paved, longer but easier and you visit the monastery. The alternative northern route is shorter but almost 90% off-road with ascents and descents on gravel. I took this route and I don't recall a road option. It is the more scenic route though.

Before the bridge to Portomarin, there are 3 options - Principal (Historical), alternative and supplementary. I can only assume the latter 2 are rideable as the Principal route is not for cyclists - it includes an extremely narrow, steep, rocky ascent - I was thankful there were no walkers to witness my toil of carrying my bike and panniers down.

I was told that the Via de la Plata (the Silver route) is a more manageable route as it has less ascents and descents and off-road trails. It may even be done on a hybrid. In amy case, this route can be merged with the Camino Frances from Astorga.

Hope this helps with your planning!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Camino de Levante is very flat, I'd say 95% of it and could be very friendly for handcycling. Look at sites as Gronze, Mundicamino and Eroski for profiles. But on any Spanish/Portugues Caminos you can choose tarmac option.

Ultreia!
 

Aidan416

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020/2021
Hello All,
I am going to be doing my first Camino in the summer of 2018 and I am looking at the best route to plan. Here is the thing, I am a wheelchair user and I plan on doing the Camino in a handcycle. Has anybody ever done it before? what route is ideal? I am thinking the Camino Frances, but am interested in hearing about other peoples experiences if they have done other routes? Another major question, route depending, is for those of you who have done it, how was the paths overall and how often did you need to find the road to be able to accommodate the bike. I am thinking of this question in particular in reference to roughness, narrowness and steepness. Any help is much appreciated!
I am curious if you completed the Camino via handcycle? I am hoping to do it by ATH handcycle in 2020. I would like to know your route, any challenges and any tips you might give. Particularly where you stayed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I remember in October 2014 there was a young man doing the Camino Frances in some sort of handcycle. Maybe @SYates will know more about him and post something here.
Yes, I saw perhaps the same man, myself.
In fact he scolded me!
I was taking a photo of the landscape when he rolled into the viewfinder, and honestly, I did not notice him until he began hollaring at me not to take a photo! I understood and was embarrassed by the scolding, 🥴though I didn't even realize he was in a handcycle. I just saw motion out of the corner of my eye and assumed it was a bicycle. But he appeared to be doing just fine! :)
 

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