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Help! Cycling the Camino.

Discussion in 'Biking the Camino' started by picosrider, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    The statistics show that 12% of those travelling the caminos do so on a bike. My guess is that most of those are on mountain bikes. Ideal for their ruggedness and for carrying lots of heavy luggage. However ruggedness does not mean problem free! As a cyclist are you a competent bike fixer? Do you carry the necessary tools and know how to use them? There may be times when something goes wrong that you are not able to fix. Do you know enough Spanish to get help, and to get the bike fixed?
    It is experiences of my own and other cyclists with whom I have been riding, that have prompted me to start this thread.
    A couple of years back one of my party had a crankshaft bearing go (bottom bracket in English speak). That is a workshop job, so we needed to find a bike shop and get a replacement bearing fitted. This required us to use a bit of “how to get by with simple Spanish”. But we managed it! Once again it taught me that knowing a few useful phrases are well worth the time taken to learn them.
    As a result I have been posting items about how to learn some easy Spanish, just enough to get by and to make your Camino more rewarding and enjoyable.
    See frequently-asked-questions/topic14029.html
    Now I am starting a new thread specific to cyclists. Some Spanish phrases and other topics which I hope will be useful!

    The first phrase that I needed with the bearing problem: Is there a bicycle shop near here? Hay una tienda de bicicletas cerca de aqui?
    Or: Where is the nearest (most near) bicycle shop? Donde esta la tienda de bicicletas más cercana?
    Then having found the bike shop we had to explain the problem. Naturally we had no idea what a bottom bracket bearing was in Spanish!
    But I did know how to say “It is broken (pointing), are you able to change it?” – Está roto, puede cambiar-lo? Are you able to repair it now? – Puede reparar-lo ahora?
    This all happened along the Camino del Norte. The bike shop is in Llanes. Great service!
    And as you can see from the smiles all round, 14 year old Luke got his bike fixed whilst we waited!
     

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  2. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    GETTING THERE.
    The most important part of this year’s pilgrimage is to get to Spain! As with our previous charity bike ride in 2010, our favoured choice is by ferry. Flying might be quicker, but crowded airports and the many rules and regulations for taking bikes on planes are a definite turn off! The two pictures below show us at Santander, about to board the ferry in 2010. Note the luggage on the back of our bikes, luggage which had to be lugged up the Picos de Europa mountains.


    But unlike airlines, on a ferry there is no extra charge for baggage, even heavy baggage like this. No bike boxes/bags required. No dismantling and re-assembly required. Just walk on and walk off. Santander is a gateway to the Camino del Norte so what could be easier?
     

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  3. Davroos

    Davroos Active Member

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    That is a strange comment. Every person that I have met who walked the Camino del Norte started in Irun which is 218 ks away. I have not met anyone who started in Santander. Even within the del Norte forum, it shows a map with Irun as the starting point, so how is Santander the gateway?
     
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  4. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    Now don't be picky Davroos, I did say a gateway, not the gateway.
    I think you miss the principal of travelling the camino. It is making the journey. Where you finish,not where you start. I am getting to Spain by boat from England, if I wanted to be a traditionalist I should sail to Corona and travel the English Way. That is why it is called the English Way!
    Many travellers have time constraints (like my party of 4) so have to cut the cloth to fit. It suits us better to start at Santander, continue from Santiago to Finisterra, and then cycle back.
    Now don't expect me to change my lycra for sack cloth and ashes!

    But if you do, you can find out why I am a penitent pilgrim
    see http://the-picos-ride-for-cancer.blogsp ... chive.html
    Hasta la vista, when our paths cross.
     

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  5. Davroos

    Davroos Active Member

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    Trust me, I don't miss the principal of a Camino having walked two and cycled two. To be honest, I am like your friends, due to time constraints, I have to cycle the longer ones as I work as I am not retired.

    Personally, walking is far superior to cycling, as the camaraderie of the people you meet is amazing. I find you miss this when you ride as you do not spend time, day in, day out. Honestly, you should try this way, even if it is only the last 100 ks of the Frances route
     
  6. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    Hello again Davroos, I think you are right about the greater camaraderie when walking. One reason for us cycling in a group is the camaraderie that builds up between us, although that is not the same as joining in with previously complete strangers. Of course all four of us were strangers when we met but have built up a friendship over an extended time. Two of us used to be enthusiastic walkers but due to knee problems both of us have had to give it up. Fortunately it has not prevented us cycling, which in any case I always found more rewarding than walking. You can go so much further and see so much more in a given time. But each to his/her own. The world would a boring place if were all the same!
     
  7. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    A small thing that can cause a big problem is a broken or damaged link in your chain. Bike chains are the most highly stressed working part of a bike. They rarely give problems, but when they do it means a long walk home. Unless that is, you have the necessary and simple to use tool, and know how to use it.
    Should you be unlucky enough to get stranded without the means of a quick fix, you will need to get help, or walk! So some useful words/phrases in Spanish:
    My chain is broken = Mi cadena está roto.
    How far(at what distance) is it to the next town/large village? = A que distancia está a la proxima ciudad/pueblo?
    Can you/are you able to take me and my bike to a bicycle shop? = Puede tomar-me y mi bicicleta a la tienda de bicicletas?
    But the best option is for you to be able to fix problem. In a period of 4 weeks, 3 of my bike club members had potentially terminal chain problem so I wrote an item for our bike club web site. I hope it will be useful to anyone contemplating a bike ride to Santiago.
    See http://anerleybc.org/bike-chaining/
    I should add that recent experience with 9 and 10 speed chains indicates that the chain rivets are much harder to push out. As a consequence I would recommend a “proper” chain tool rather than a mini-tool. The latter are not beefier enough for the job.
     

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  8. Davroos

    Davroos Active Member

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    On another note about bike chains, my LBS stated that with 10 speed chains, they are a lot thinner and more prone to breakage. In my experience of riding both on and off trails, I have seen 10 speed chains break whereas the 8/9 speed chains can take more of a beating.

    Personally, before I do any long distance that is at least 5 days riding, I have my LBS check out my chain, gears, rear cassette, just to be safe.

    Whilst on the road, I oil the chain every morning as an oiling is far cheaper than breaking a chain.
     
  9. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    Very wise! A good service is common sense before a major ride, but not done by all.
    Chains do not have to cost the earth. I buy and fit. UK bikers can get an 8 speed SRAM or Shimano from http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Default.aspx for less than £9, and 9 speed for under £14. But you do need a chain tool to cut chain to length!
    In my pre-ride service (I leave for Spain 2 weeks from today) I fitted new chain and cassette. I have been using a road cassette (largest sprocket 26 teeth) on my trusty old MTB as I use it mainly on road. But getting old I decided it was time to revert to a MTB cassette with larger, 32 tooth sprocket. I now need lower gears for the Spanish mountains!(Larger sprocket needs a longer chain).
    And yes keeping the chain clean and oiled is best practise.
     
  10. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    Crank Brothers makes a mini tool with a steel chain tool that really works. My shop told me it is better than most dedicated chain tools. Not only that, it is a better spoke wrench than most too.

    http://www.crankbrothers.com/tools_multi17.php
     
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  11. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    MAPS and GUIDES - Los Mapas y Las Guias
    There have been a number of questions about maps and guides on this forum. So for what its worth:
    I have just received the latest CSJ Pilgrims Guides for the northern routes, Ruta de la Costa and Camino Primitivo. They are very detailed, showing routes for walkers AND cyclists. Also where to stay, eat/buy food.
    You won’t find better road maps than Michelin. Their Regional Series have been the standard for many years. They have now brought out the Zoom series for some regions. These are even better, the same detail but easier to read at larger scale. If you were cycling the Ruta Costa and Primitivo you would need 3 sheets, No.141 Galicia, No.142 Asturias, No.143 Cantabrian Coast. This last sheet continues into Pais Vasco as far as Bilboa. With the smaller scale Regional Series of Spain you only need two maps, No 571 Galicia and 572 Asturias, Cantabria.
    Using the CSJ Route Guides I have traced and marked the routes on my maps with a high lighter. It makes for easier navigation. I also mark locations of the alburgues so I can see where they are.
    If you live in the UK try Stanfords the map shop http://www.stanfords.co.uk/ I tried Amazon but they did not have all 3 Zoom maps in stock.
    In Spanish towns try a book shop, la libria. Or probably a better choice, a large petrol/gas station, most of which have shops attached.
    Some "get by in Spanish":
    I am looking for a map, Michelin, for Cantabria = Yo busco un mapa, Michelin, para Cantabria.
    Or, Do you have a map, Michelin, for Galicia = Tiene un mapa, Michelin, para Galicia.
    http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Routes has a bike route option, useful to find the best (quieter) roads for cyclists. You can also enlarge to much greater scales for route planning.
     
  12. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    We had been cycling in mist and rain all morning. It began to clear around lunch time when at last we found a village shop up in the mountains. No English spoken here, and no self service, you have to ask for what you want. It is at times like this that you need to speak at least a little Spanish!

    Here we are, drying out, having a picnic in a Spanish chestnut grove opposite the village shop.
    If you want to learn, or note down some simple phrases check out this " Learn Easy Spanish" posting at frequently-asked-questions/topic14029.html#p99127
     

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  13. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    BIKES ON PLANES – Tip 1
    Most cycling pilgrims will fly to their start points. For those new to taking bikes on planes, always check the terms for bike carriage of your chosen airline. Most/all will require pedals to be removed, handle bars turned at 90 degrees, sometimes saddle lowered/removed, to minimise space. Make sure that you have the necessary tools to do this and don’t forget to take them with you. You will need to reassemble when you arrive in Spain!
    Pedals in particular can be very difficult to remove because they can tighten up as a result of pedalling rotation. (But there is a fix for this, see my next posting, to follow shortly.) They usually require the leverage of a long, dedicated pedal spanner. A worthwhile investment!


    Coming home, at Santiago Airport, we met a young girl in tears. Ryanair would not take her bike because she couldn’t get the pedals off. She only had a normal sized, short spanner and even our beefiest group member couldn’t shift them. Our bikes and baggage had already been carouselled so we were unable to help further. But the tearful girl must have had good Karma, because when we arrived at Stansted-London Airport, so did she – and her bike!
    Lesson 1. Before you go, make sure you can undo anything that needs to be undone, and check that you can get it back together again!
     

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  14. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    You are absolutely right, those things can get seriously stuck.

    You really carry one of those big wrenches? There have been times I would have liked one, but in dozens of plane rides never needed to haul that hunk of metal.

    Good quality pedals can be turned with an allen wrench on the back of the crank. I carry a bit longer allen wrench. Many things will work as a cheater bar.....shoe, pipe, crescent wrench. Be sure the allen wrench is all the way in.

    Remember to turn them the right way--- one pedal is reverse threaded. Put the wrench on the bike and pedal foreward to remove it, backwards to tighten it. Apply a bit of grease, and don't over tighten! I've ridden with hand tighened pedals without them coming loose. (I give them one medium twist with the wrench to seat them and no more)

    If you do a long trip, the pedal can sort of self weld to the crank. You can hear a resounding CLACK when the metal unbonds. Loosening and retightening after a few weeks is a good idea.
     
  15. Davroos

    Davroos Active Member

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    Are you saying thar Ryanair let you fly your bike unboxed? When I flew with them, the fine print said I had to box my bike, the same with Easyjet
     
  16. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
    Picos has been doing a great job with this thread. I thought I'd try to contribute something myself rather than just comment.........

    SPOKES: One of the most common repairs I do on pilgrims bikes is fixing broken spokes. The extra weight of gear, combined with the massive hind quarters you develop biking every day is too much for many spokes.

    Two types of spokes break: too fancy a wheel and too cheap of a wheel. I've seen people touring on fancy 24 spoke bladed spoke wheels. Don't---they won't like it.

    Mostly I see cheap to midrange bikes with some generic carbon steel spokes. I met some people one year with a good Canadian made bike with black spokes of unknown make. plagued by broken spokes. A couple of years later, I met someone who knew the couple. " oh yeah, they must not have liked it, never even unpacked the bike after returning home. He loaned it it to me" Needless to say, the plague had continued.

    If you have a fairly new wheel with 32-36 good stainless steel spokes, such as DT Swiss spokes or Wheelsmith spokes, they rarely ever break. I have a fancy bike which came with $300 28 spoke wheels. However, I tour with an $80 wheel I bought on ebay. For really nasty stuff, I have a free ride Rhynolightwheel made for jumping off stuff. Again it was relatively cheap.

    Carry some spokes and know how to use a spoke wrench. If you break a gear-side spoke it might require freewheel removal to change. I have a tiny tool for that, but it isn't made any more---you'll usually need a bike shop.

    If you do break a spoke and can't replace it, you can get the wheel darn near straight by loosening the spokes opposite the broken one. Yon might need to open the brake a but to get the wheel to stop rubbing. Never ride far like that. just to the first shop, or the wheel will self destruct.

    Here I am fixing a cheap spoke: The only time in my life I've been called and angel sent help!
     

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  17. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    I thought we cycled to get rid of our massive hind quarters!
    Just joking and it is great to have others joining in. Thats the purpose of a forum, and shows others are interested. Your mention of spokes is fortunate because just this week I did a posting for our bike club web site with a bit about spokes and other tweaks to my bike for my upcoming Camino. See http://anerleybc.org/a-wobbly-wheel-fix/
    in this I refer to a John T. he is our club guru. Did his first foreign bike tour in 1951, been in our club for 57 years and there is nothing he does not know, cannot do, about bikes.
    He has travelled the world on his bike and can get by in lots of different languages.
    He was the inspiration for my thread about learning easy Spanish (see frequently-asked-questions/topic14029.html).
    Last year he was struck down by a serious disease. Out on his bike one day and 3 days later crippled and in a wheel chair. But you can't keep a good man down. He has been fighting back, can now manage to shuffle a bit, but is back on his bike! Bit by bit he is cycling a bit further week by week, as you will see in the web page that I have shown above.
     
  18. Davroos

    Davroos Active Member

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    Are you saying thar Ryanair let you fly your bike unboxed? When I flew with them, the fine print said I had to box my bike, the same with Easyjet
     
  19. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    BIKES ON PLANES – Tip 2
    Hello again Davroos, Yes they did. This was 2005 when cheap airlines really were cheap, not the rip off merchants of today when everything is an expensive extra!
    Prior to 2005, at London-Stansted Airport, you took your bikes to Ryanair check-in and they wheeled the bikes down to the plane, and at the destination wheeled them off! You could actually see your bikes being wheeled! Then in 2005 we had our first request to dismantle. It was not then compulsory to bag or box, but in addition to pedals/handlebars, saddles had to be lowered to get bikes to fit (flat) into the carousel shutes. It was this new procedure which probably caught the girl out, and was the start of my disenchantment with taking bikes on planes.
    Then there was a period when although bagging/boxing was introduced it was not strictly adhered to. As we cycled to the airports it was not easy, or convenient to bag/box them, so we didn’t.
    It was around 2007/8 when we (party of 4) cycled to London-Gatwick, checked in our unboxed bikes, flew to our destination, but the bikes didn't arrive! After much hassle they did manage to get them to us the next day. However, this was when the problems really began!
    This was how my back wheel looked after some careful handling by baggage handlers!


    The airline offered to pay for a new wheel but how was I supposed to ride to a bike shop to get it replaced. And in addition to my back wheel problem, the bike of another of our party arrived minus one pedal. Not easy to cycle with only one leg!
    This confirmed my disenchantment with airlines and is why I don’t fly but take the ferry to Spain.
    So lesson 4. It you must fly with bikes, put them in a bomb proof steel box!
     

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  20. Davroos

    Davroos Active Member

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    I have put my bike in a cardboard box on two caminos and will do so again for a third.

    It is funny you mention about how much of a rip off budget airlines are, because I just got flights to Geneva from London with Swiss Air for £108 return, and being a proper carrier, they have given me 23 kilos so my bike will be in a hard case for this flight.

    For me, don't always look at budget airlines, quite possibly a recognised carrier could fly you close by at a fraction of the cost.

    By the way. you are catching a ferry to Santander, have you a cabin? How much is this fare?
     
  21. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    Bikes from the USA used to be easy. Airlines charged a fee of $50 or so on domestic flight, but they were free overseas. We would pack them in a cardboard box from a bike shop, pack lots of stuff with them. and dump the box in recycling at the airport. For the return, our favorite source of boxes was a Carrefour department store. Several of them unpacked new bikes just to give us the box.

    We have have some bikes which took five trips over and back without a hitch, never damaged or late. Then things went downhill. TSA one one trip decided the easiest way to inspect the box for bombs was to cut the box wide open, then dump back in the plane with all the pieces falling out. It was a miracle all the pedals, stuff sacks etc came of the conveyor.

    Some airlines such as Delta will charge $150 each way now. That adds $600 to our trip, which pays rent at a house we frequently visit in the south of France. We made a deal with the landlady to store a set of bikes in the garage, so now I can say that even if we didn't retire to the south of France, we have some bikes which did. On the last trip over, Delta was too busy at check in to bother with the fees, a nice bonus.
     
  22. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    Hi Davroos, Budget airlines tend to be a rip off because, as you rightly point out, when you add in all the "extras", you end up paying as much as with the national carriers, so are not really low cost airlines. When my wheel got ruined, this was not a budget airline, but with Air France.
    Ferries are not cheap but avoid the major hassle of long queues, invasive security checks, etc , at big airports like Stansted and Gatwick. It is so much more relaxing to just cycle to the ferry, cycle on and off at the other end without having to do anything to the bike.
    The cost (high season - 17 July) for us would be £121 each, single, inc bikes, and we share a 4-berth cabin. We normally don't bother with a cabin but just get a reclining seat. This is much cheaper, a seat cost only £7 two years ago. But this year Brittany Ferries have very kindly provided transport, and included a cabin, free of charge as we are doing our pilgrimage as a charity bike ride. We then donate what it would have cost us to the charity. That way they are guaranteed the return fare of £970 even before we start.
    I would expect the cost, without the cabin, to be about £80 each way.
     
  23. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    We recently had to get from Rome to Nice with two bikes. We took a ferry to Corsica, spent some time riding there, then the ferry to Nice. Great way to go!
     
  24. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    BIKES ON PLANES – Tip 3
    Yes I do haul that big wrench around, if I fly, and that is a big if. See my earlier posting and the result of careful baggage handlers! Since that episode I have only flown once. And that was a disaster for one of our party. The result of having to remove and refit pedals when taking bikes on planes.
    As you said “Remember to turn them the right way - one pedal is reverse threaded”. So this is worth repeating.
    Removing pedals can be a problem. So can re-fitting!
    The chain side of a bike is its right hand side and pedals are normally marked on the axle end R or L, indicating which goes on which side. See “L” in this photo.

    As you will see, not all pedals can be unscrewed with an allen wrench. Hence the need to carry that big hunk of metal – a pedal spanner!
    The left hand pedal is reverse threaded (left hand thread) so undoes and does up the opposite way to normal. Because this is unusual it is very easy to get it cross threaded. And many people do!
    A few years back on a bike tour in Portugal, one of my club mates got his cross threaded, and not realising, tightened it up with a long levered pedal spanner. It stripped the thread on the alloy crank arm, requiring a new crank set. This was not readily available over the counter at our destination, and would in any case cost BIG bucks to replace. Luckily he was able to hire a bike so the foreign trip was not completely ruined. So do take extra care refitting the left hand pedal.
    I mentioned in a previous posting (Tip 1) that pedals tighten up with use, making them difficult to remove. However if you don’t do them up tight they can unscrew whilst you are cycling.
    I have found that this works, see photo above. I wrap PTFE tape (plumbers tape) around the axle, not right to the end as you need some clear thread to get re-fitting/screwing started. PTFE is the non stick coating on frying pans etc, so the tape aids removal when you want to get pedals off, but a few wraps acts just like a nyloc nut, so it stays on without having to over tighten it. It has worked for me on several bikes over several years.
     

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  25. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    CYCLING IS JUST GREAT!
    Hope I have not put people of cycling the camino. It really is a great experience. Thousands, hundreds of thousands take bikes on plane and have no problems what so ever. What I was trying to do, was not put you off flying, but to make sure that people were aware of the problems which might (and very rarely) occur. Fore warned is fore armed as they say. If you know the tricks of the trade, the problems will not occur so book your flight and prepare for that life time adventure!

    This is what you can see cycling the Camino del Norte into the fishing port of san Vicente de la Barquera. A beautiful old town with many historic buildings.and the back drop of the Picos de Europa mountains.

    You will cycle over its wide estuary on this 32 arched medieval bridge, and see many more memorable things and places during your bike ride to Santiago.
     

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  26. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    C. Primitivo '12
    Norte-C. de la Reina '13
    C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
    Hola Picosrider,
    We too are ferry fans, also to Santander. On our way home from Santiago we passed through Ribadeo, on the Norte where the Camino turns south towards Miraz. There is a good bike shop in Ribadeo which we thought some folk might like to know about. This seems to be a good thread to post the info, although we hope you don't need it

    From the centre of Ribadeo you need to head for the FEVE staion side of town, not the Bus station end. Go along the Avda de Galicia, which becomes the Avda de America. At a right fork, with signs for the roundabout on the N634 this becomes the Travesia de General. There is a Repsol garage on your left and Cafe Bar Mon on the right. Just past the cafe is the Bici Sport Sandi. If anyone has problems this could be a good place to go. This is within walking distance and about 1km from the town centre.
    Buen Camino to the 4 of you
     
  27. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    Hola Tia Valeria, Your information is most welcome, and very useful. Thank you!
    In April I made a request on this forum for info about where bike shops were, along the Camino del Norte and Primitivo, but did not get a single answer. I did a follow up of which this is an excerpt:
    "We managed to get to Llanes which is on the Camino del Norte. Here we found a bike shop but it was closed!
    However it was due to open again at 7 in the evening for 2 hours. When it opened they replaced a broken axle bearing and 1 hour later we were back on the road. Bravo to the bike shop mechanic at Llanessport!
    There are plenty of bike shops in the cities, e.g. Santander, Oviedo, Gijon, Santiago, Lugo but what about elsewhere?
    Below is a list of the few bike shops that I have found along the Camino del Norte, via the internet (mainly Paginas Amorillas - Yellow Pages):
    At Llanes:Llanesport in town centre
    Villaviciosa: Cueto’s Bike, C/Pedro Pidal Arroyo 2
    Navia: Eureka Bicicletas, Av Carlos Pelaez 8
    Villalba: Moto Taller el Tunel, C/de cidade de Betanzos 6"

    Now that there are a number of readers of this thread, I am sure that some must be able to add to this list?
     
  28. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    LET THE TRAIN TAKE THE STRAIN - 1
    There have been several questions asked about trains in Spain. The FEVE railway provides some very useful services, especially for those travelling the Camino del Norte. The FEVE coastal service provides links from Bilboa to Santander, Santander to Oviedo, and Oviedo to Ferrol in Galicia, north of Santiago. Another useful service is Bilbao to Leon to join the Camino Frances. These FEVE services are slow trains, stopping at every station along the lines. Ideal for hopping on with your bikes and hopping off. No need to book, just turn up and go.
    There are several good reasons for using these trains, either out of choice, or necessity. Time constraints are one common reason, illness, injury, or a major bike problem are others. And they can give your legs a rest as well as adding another experience to your travels.
    We hitched a lift on the train from Gijon to Cudillero as a convenient way of by-passing city traffic and the industial areas around Gijon and Aviles. Another good reason being major road works in these areas where the motor way is being extended.

    This was us at the FEVE station at Gijon. Knowing a bit of Spanish is useful for buying tickets and finding your way around the station. We have found that whereas bus stations are well sign posted train stations are not! So here are some “get you by” phrases.
    Excuse me (please) Where is the station of trains? Por favour, donde está la estation de trenes?
    Please, from where am I able to take the train to Oviedo? Por favour, de-donde puedo tomar el tren a Oviedo?
    You could say “to catch the train” – coger el tren, but coger (to catch) would be another verb to remember!
    From what platform goes the train to Cudillero? – De que anden va el tren a Cudillero?
    Is this the train to...? – Es este el tren a…?
    At what time (hour) leaves the train to...? – A que hora sale el tren a…?
    Four single tickets to… - Cuatro billetes de ida a…
    Note that billete can also mean a bank note, as in: Sorry, I only have a 50 euro note, are you able to change (it)? – Lo siento, solo tengo una cincuenta euro billete, puede cambiar?
    A good phrase book is invaluable if you have taken the time to find out what is in it, and where, so that you can find the appropriate phrases when you need them.
     

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  29. Davroos

    Davroos Active Member

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    On the il Primitivo starting from Oviedo, I found the following bike shops

    I did not look in Oviedo, so I can't comment

    Tineo - 0
    Grandas - 0
    Melide - I asked at the tourist information if there were any bike shops, and they said none, but I found two !!!
    Santiago - 1 that I know of
     
  30. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    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
    We used the FEVE from Santander to Oviedo and to return to Santander from Ribadeo, via Oviedo, etc.
    One useful point for those over 60 - buy a 'Tarjeta Azul' for 3 euros and then get half price travel on the FEVE. I assume that they are available at all manned stations, but if you know you might need one a 3 euros investment in a bigger station like Santander or Oviedo might be worthwhile. All you need is your ID to prove age and that number goes on the Tarjeta Azul.
    Buen Camino
     
  31. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    LET THE TRAIN TAKE THE STRAIN - 2
    On our last bike ride to the Picos de Europa mountains we took a short ride on the FEVE train from Santander to Requejada, just outside the city. On our return, from Cabezon de Sal back to Santander. This was to allow us an extra day in the Cantabrian mountains, rather than spending the time threading our way thru city traffic. This proved to be a sensible option and we intend to make use of the train again, when we arrive on the ferry at Santander in a week’s time. Yes only a week to go!
    The FEVE railway stn is only 5 minutes away from the ferry terminal and there is a train every half hour to take us out and away from the urban sprawl.

    The ferry is due to dock at 18.00 hrs so does not leave much time for cycling and finding accommodation on that first night. We have decided to get the train out of town and then cycle to join the camino near Santillana del Mar and expect to be at our over night stop by about 20.30 hrs, and then get an evening meal. For the first night only we have booked into the reasonably priced Posada La Roblera (using booking.com). Being a late arrival we did not want to risk the chance that the albergue at Santillana might be full!
    On our return journey we will be coming up the Camino Primitivo to Oviedo. If we are behind schedule after nearly 3 weeks of travelling, we can hop on the train at some point to ensure that we get back into Santander in time to catch our ferry.
    The FEVE web site is very comprehensive, except that it is in Spanish! It is best to start with this page http://www.feve.es/es/horarios-y-precio ... de-lineas/ From these maps of the various lines you can see where the trains go to, and a list of all the stations en-route. With the places from which you want to start, and the destinations, you can go to the page for timetables and prices, http://www.feve.es/es/horarios-y-precio ... -horarios/
    You can try auto translation to help decipher the Spanish, but I didn’t find it much help. I just about managed it with my “Easy Learn Spanish”.
    I was pleased to learn from the recent posting by Tia Valeria that half price tickets are available for us over 60s, with the Tarjeta Azul. Does the “Azul” bit mean it is for the blue rinse brigade?
     

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  32. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    NOT THE CAMINO!
    July is a good month to cycle the Camino, but for cycling enthusiasts July offers other exciting events. Things like the Tour de France, and this year only, the London Olympics!
    The Olympics Road Race course includes a circuit which includes Box Hill. The men climb it 9 times, and in the womens race, twice. This hill has now become a Mecca for cyclists! However whilst cyclist come from far and wide, it is a hill which members of my bike club have been going up and down for over 100 years.
    Two weeks ago, I was out on a training ride - some hills in preparation for the Spanish mountains, when an opportunity arose, and one not to be missed. Our moment of fame. One for the record books. One for the photo album. The breakaway up Box Hill!
    Will Bradley Wiggins and the peleton catch us before the top of the climb?


    And just to prove that it really was the Olympic Road Race! I'm the one with the pannier bag
     

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  33. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    BIKE HELMETS IN SPAIN
    When I did my first Camino in 2005 there were reports of cyclists having their bikes impounded because they were not wearing bike helmets. The bikes were only released after payment of a 90 euro fine. This attitude by the Spanish Guardia Civil now seems to be a thing of the past. Helmet law came into force in Spain in 2004 and the strict application of it was probably because it was a new requirement. Now the Guardia Civil don’t seem to bother.
    However, why they bothered in the first place beats me. You were not required to wear a helmet when: Cycling in towns and cities in extreme heat or When cycling up hills. That would seem to cover 90% of the time! And it is only the Guardia Civil, not local police, who can enforce the law.
    See here for further detail about the Spanish bike helmet law, etc: http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1076.html
    Has anyone ever had problems?
     
  34. Davroos

    Davroos Active Member

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    Pico, I have never seen you on this hill, I am there at once a fortnight. Having cycled the Olympic route, but not Box Hill 9 times, I think they could have chosen some better hills in Surrey, ones that are steeper or longer.

    As for helmets, back in the 80's, it became mandatory for all cyclists in Australia to wear them, so when I moved to London in the 90's, I wore my helmet, and I do feel safer having something on my head than just my hair !!!
     
  35. William Marques

    William Marques Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    I will be there at the finishing line of the women's road race on the 29th - I really hope they have a big screen or it will be a long wait.

    I can back up the comment about cheap bike wheels. My original camino in 98 was marred when the front axle on my supermarket bike started to seize up at Palas de Rei and was almost solid by the time we got to Santiago. Since then we have used 26in wheeled tourers with 36 spokes, not fast but pretty bomb proof if you go as slowly as we do.

    I now carry 4 front panniers rather than 2 rear and 2 front as you only fill up the space if you have it and it is lighter and more manoeuvrable with the weight split.
     
  36. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
    Thats one of the reasons we don't use front panniers at all. Well, my wife uses them, but carries them on the rear. She only uses official rear panniers when we camp, and even then we don't use front bags.
     
  37. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    Hi William, The smaller lady in the Box Hill pic also has a ticket for the ladies race, and at one of the best view points by the bottom zigzag. She also has a place for the mens race (on Headley Common). She confirms that there are big screens so hope you are near one.
    I note your involvement with pilgrimages to Rome and Santiago. What about the pilgrimage to see the largest fragment of the true cross at the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana!

    We got there just as the congregation were being allowed to touch the fragment.
    We also visited the basilica and grotto at Covadonga. Another very famous site of pilgrimage, especially for Spaniards.

    It was here that Pelayo had his vision and was told that he would defeat the Moors in battle, and so start the reconquest of Spain.
    Both places are in the Picos de Europa mountains and not too far off some of the caminos, especially if you are on a bike. It was for our pilgrimages to these 2 places that the Picos Riders were born!
     

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  38. newfydog

    newfydog Veteran Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
    This is for you Picos-

    Before we started or first pilgrimage we visited the Picos, and rode up to the Lagos de Covadongs to watch the Veulta.
     

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  39. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    La Vuelta. Lovely photo!
    Lagos de Covadonga was a stage in 2010 but not whilst we were there. It is again this year, 2 Sept, but we will be back in UK by then. We didn't cycle up to the lakes but took the bus and spent a day walking up there, and another day walking the Cares Gorge. This year we are returning to Covadonga on our way back from Santiago. I remember the stunning views from up in the mountains, and the very steep road up there. This time we plan to cycle up to the lakes. At least my younger companions plan to, I don't know if I will make it!
     
  40. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    Unos Pinchazos – Some Punctures!
    I have found that Spanish road surfaces are far better than the pot holed roads of the UK. Also, due to lower traffic density, there is less broken glass and other debris on them. However this does not mean a puncture free ride. On our last camino one of our lady riders had 3 punctures just getting out of the urban sprawl around Santander, and another 2 days later on a mountain road. Here she is at work on pinchazo number 3!

    After the 3rd puncture the cause was traced to a very small fragment of steel wire, it being from the reinforcement used in some car and lorry tyres. On another occasion on a bike tour in Germany the problem was a split in the side wall of a tyre. A temporary repair was made with a tyre boot (using duck tape) to get to the nearest bike shop, but a new tyre was the only solution. In all these cases the tyres were light weight “racing” tyres. For touring something more substantial is required, and preferably with Kevlar or similar reinforcement. This is claimed to reduce punctures by 80%.
    Some useful phrases:
    Where is the nearest bicycle shop? – Donde está la tienda de bicicletas más cercana?
    I have a puncture, do you have a tyre/inner tube, please? - Tengo un pinchazo, tiene un neumático/una cámara, por favor?
    Whilst we are at the bike shop, some other things that might need attention.
    I have a broken spoke/buckled wheel, can you repair it please? – Tengo un radio roto/una rueda abrochada, puede reparar-lo por favor?
    The gears don’t work, can you adjust them please? Las marchas no funcionas, puede aregular-las por favor?
    Do you have a brake cable/gear change cable/chain for 8 speeds? – Tiene un cable de los frenos/un cable para cambiar de marchas/una cadena para ocho marchas?

    Mountain bikers have tougher tyres to cope with rough terrain, but riding off road can be a problem with thorns ,or sharp stones/rocks damaging tyre casings. This might be of use to help resolve tyre problems, see http://anerleybc.org/a-thorny-problem-and-winter-woes/
     

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  41. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    GET WELL SOON!
    Como está? No muy bien. - How are you? Not very well.
    It is when you have a problem along the Camino that you wish you could speak a bit more Spanish. But it is not only bike problems that leave you lost for words. Worse still is illness or injury.
    Spanish tummy is not as common as it used to be, but I suffered severely on the way to Santiago. We had a doctor in our party who put me on a bread and sugared water diet, and dosed me up with Immodeum. Actually it wasn’t dried bread but babies rusks from a local farmacia! After 4 days I was starving and the kind doctor allowed me a 2 course meal. Two jars of baby food, a disgusting sort of meat broth and a better tasting melocotin (peach) purée.
    I don't know how I managed it, but I cycled for 5 days without proper food and it didn't seem to affect my ability to continue cycling, even with the constant hills. But nevertheless, not somthing that I want to repeat!
    So if you should become ill, you might need some appropriate phrases!
    The first is: Where is the nearest chemists/pharmacy = Donde està la farmacia màs cercana
    Do you have anything for stomach ache (pain of the stomach)? = Tiene algo para dolor de estómago?
    I have diarhroea, can you help me? – Tengo diarrea, peude ayudar-me?
    I have a terrible headache, do you have some aspirins? – Tengo un terrible dolor de cabeza, tiene unas aspirinas?
    I am diabetic/asthmatic/epileptic – Soy diabetico/asmatico/epileptico
    I need some medication – Necesito un medicamento
    Lots of possible illness, and medical requirements so be guided by a good phrase book.

    Me Duele It hurts me!
    After leaving the coast at Ribadeo on the Camino del Norte, it is a long climb up to the highest point at Puerto da Xesto. On the second day of this climb and my fourth day of el problema del estomago we met up with 2 East German girls. None of us could speak German, but my physician who was starving me, is Polish. Both she and the 2 girls, having lived behind the Iron Curtain, spoke Russian. So this became the means of communication.
    Like us, the girls had started their Camino at Santander, but whereas we were on day 8 of our bike ride, they were into week 3 of their walk. Whilst cyclists might suffer sore back sides, the poor girls were really suffering with sore feet. Big blisters!
    So they wanted to know: Where is the nearest (most near) pharmacy? – Donde está la pharmacia mas cercana?
    They could then ask: “I have a blister, do you have an ointment (antiseptic cream) for the foot please?”
    Tengo una ampolia, tiene una pomada (una crema antiséptico) para el pie, por favor.
    Or perhaps they might have a twisted ankle: Tengo dolor del tobillo Or just say and point – Tengo dolor aqui - I have hurt here.
    As you can see from the photo above, it was hot and sunny. Another soreness problem can be the sun.
    Sun cream is la crema solar. Sun block is la crema solar de protección total and sunburn is la quemadura.
    So if you leave it too late you might be asking “Tengo mucho dolor! Tiene algo para la quemadura?” - I am very sore! (I have much hurt). Do you have something for sunburn?
     

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  42. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    Just found these 2 photos of our unboxed bikes as we loaded them onto the baggage conveyor belt at Santiago Airport in 2005. All we had to do was remove pedals and front wheel and attach to frame. Also turn handlebars at 90 degrees. But you won't get away with that today!

    Another tip. Ryanair and most buget airlines charge per bag. Thus a pair of pannier bags counts as 2 bags. We put both bags into a black plastic bag, then we only got charged for one bag.
     

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  43. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    VAMANOS - LET'S GO!
    In about 36 hours time we will be starting our bike ride to Santiago. Memories of the last ride along the coastal route of the Camino del Norte come flooding back. As you can see it was a hard ride! Here we are sweating it out at Colunga.

    Then it was on to Cudillero where we fancied a fish and chip supper.

    Then, worn out by our exertions, and feeling sleepy after too much good food and local cider, it was time to find a good place for the night. Such as this new albergue at Lourenza, up in the hills inland from Ribadeo.

    Yes a pilgrimage is a real penance! So it is time to don sack cloth and ashes, and bid you farewell. Adios! Hasta luego, you can follow this years adventure at http://the-picos-ride-for-cancer.blogspot.co.uk/ when our first live post should be on line by Wednesday when our ferry docks at Santander.
     

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  44. Davroos

    Davroos Active Member

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    When do you plan to arrive? I fly on Thursday to Oviedo for another il Primitivo, off road of course, following the track. Maybe, our paths might meet. I will be the Aussie with long hair
     
  45. picosrider

    picosrider Active Member

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    Hi Davroos, The nearest to Oviedo at the start of our ride is that we plan to stay over night at the albergue at Sobreyo on Sat 21st July, then Ribadeo Mon 23, join Camino Frances at Arzua Wed 25, Santiago Thu 26. Then going onto Cape Finistere and Muxia and back to Santiago Sun 29.
    Returning via Lugo Tue 31 to join Primitivo, Oviedo Fri 3 Aug. Then diverting to Covadonga and Picos de Europa. From there back to coast at San Vicente de la Barquera circa Sun/Mon 5/6 Aug and take train part way back to Santander, depending on how much time we have available.
    Well that is the plan, but you know what they say about best laid plans!
    There will be four of us, we three in these bike tops with "South East Cancer Help Centre" on the front, and "The Picos Ride" on the back.
    I am sure that somewhere our paths should cross. I have seen your photo at Enfield Lock, but doubt that you will be wearing a fleece top in Spain!
     

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  46. Spanglish

    Spanglish New Member

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    Greeting fellow Peregrinos. We are planning to bike from St. Jean on October 22. We were told that it is better to bike on the walking trails then on the busy biking paths. Appently they are more scenic. However, there appears to be rain in the forecast. Is this a good idea? Will the walking path roads be a bit muddy for bikes.

    Also, any thoughts on the best way to get from Madrid to St. Jean? I'm guessing a train to Bayonne and then another to St. Jean?

    Thanks for the help! Buen Camino.
     
  47. Setfree1

    Setfree1 New Member

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    Hi
    Where do you recommend starting? How many miles did you on your bike?. I will be biking it in May.
    Thank you
    Dave
     
  48. Stephen Nicholls

    Stephen Nicholls Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Porto to SdC [2011]
    Salamanca to SdC [2012]
    Lisbon to Porto [2013]
    Camino Ingles [2014]
    Ruta del Ebro [2015]
    Sureste [2016 aborted.]
    Finisterre [2016]
    [My final Camino.]
    Anyone going by bike MUST know how to carry out minor repairs and mend punctures. Some fairly large towns have no cycle shops. Carry a few extra spokes and a spoke spanner [they don't weigh much!] And keep your eyes on the tread - tyres wear down quickly over rough routes. Always have a bell to warn walkers ... and ....
    Buen camino!
     
  49. hecate105

    hecate105 Active Member

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    We used hybrids and front & back panniers - and as we were out for 4 months and camping a lot of the time, we had a single-wheel trailer too! We did a huge amount of offroad, as well as on road. Consequently my husband broke quite a few spokes, mostly in spain. We always found a friendly bike shop to fix them. On our way back we tried to get a new wheel with 38 spokes for him in Tours, but due to a language mix-up, just had a new wheel with 32 again. But he has not broken any since then, despite towing a trailer with a 5 stone dog in it...
    A few phrases and a list of bike components in Spanish helped, as did basic please and thank yous' in Basque.
    I can recommend Schwalbe Marathon + tyres wholeheartedly - in 3000 miles I have not had a puncture! Even cycling thru glass-strewn Paris!
    You start when you walk out the door - so Santander is as good a 'gateway' as anywhere else!
     
  50. Aaron Bullock

    Aaron Bullock New Member

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    IS THERE A MAP I CAN OBTAIN FROM PAris TO SANTIAGO. PAPER MAP? THANKS


     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  51. Helen1

    Helen1 Member

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    Location:
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    London to Santiago (2014)
    Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
    Camino Portugues (2016)
    Sentier Cathar (2017)
    Try the sustrans website for the UK routes, there's a definitely map for London to Dover or you could try one of the Dover to Cape Wrath routes e.g. http://www.bikecation.co.uk/trips/dover-to-cape-wrath#/itinerary. I've never done it but this is supposed to be a very good route into Paris (it's the one people use to do London to Paris in 24 hours): https://avenuevertelondonparis.co.uk/. I have an IGN map showing the historic routes through France which I used for basic planning but it's not detailed enough to follow as a route map day to day.
     
  52. Aaron Bullock

    Aaron Bullock New Member

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    Thanks , I typo . Seeking paper map from Paris to santiago
     
  53. Helen1

    Helen1 Member

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    Location:
    London, UK
    Camino(s) past & future:
    London to Santiago (2014)
    Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
    Camino Portugues (2016)
    Sentier Cathar (2017)
    :) Paisley to Santiago via Paris would be super cool though!
     
  54. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,660
    Likes Received:
    2,566
    Location:
    Illawarra Region NSW Australia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
    Hola @picosrider.

    An excellent expose on all things cycling the camino. As one who has cycled from Pamplona to Santiago back in Sept 2015 (see some of my post) I can relate to much of what you have reported on. I totally understand the trains / planes/ automobiles position – I bought my bike from Oz and did all the packing (outbound) myself. Getting the bike back to Oz I had to rely on others, principally the best bike shop in Santiago. Not only did they offer advice on pre-packing cleaning they even arranged transport back to Madrid (I was able to arrange a maxi-taxi to get the bike to the airport). Whilst I am reasonably competent on changing wheels mending punctures etc I must say that there are some really great bike shops in Spain, one in Leon did a full service and clean for 30 Euros and even gave me a free drink bottle.

    Again well done!
     
  55. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,660
    Likes Received:
    2,566
    Location:
    Illawarra Region NSW Australia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
    Hola @picosrider.

    An excellent expose on all things cycling the camino. As one who has cycled from Pamplona to Santiago back in Sept 2015 (see some of my post) I can relate to much of what you have reported on. I totally understand the trains / planes/ automobiles position – I bought my bike from Oz and did all the packing (outbound) myself. Getting the bike back to Oz I had to rely on others, principally the best bike shop in Santiago. Not only did they offer advice on pre-packing cleaning they even arranged transport back to Madrid (I was able to arrange a maxi-taxi to get the bike to the airport). Whilst I am reasonably competent on changing wheels mending punctures etc I must say that there are some really great bike shops in Spain, one in Leon did a full service and clean for 30 Euros and even gave me a free drink bottle.

    Again well done!
     
  56. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    1,660
    Likes Received:
    2,566
    Location:
    Illawarra Region NSW Australia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
    Hola @picosrider.

    An excellent expose on all things cycling the camino. As one who has cycled from Pamplona to Santiago back in Sept 2015 (see some of my post) I can relate to much of what you have reported on. I totally understand the trains / planes/ automobiles position – I bought my bike from Oz and did all the packing (outbound) myself. Getting the bike back to Oz I had to rely on others, principally the best bike shop in Santiago. Not only did they offer advice on pre-packing cleaning they even arranged transport back to Madrid (I was able to arrange a maxi-taxi to get the bike to the airport). Whilst I am reasonably competent on changing wheels mending punctures etc I must say that there are some really great bike shops in Spain, one in Leon did a full service and clean for 30 Euros and even gave me a free drink bottle.

    Again well done!
     

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