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New entrance into Santiago from Monte de Gozo for cyclists?

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
The previous route was down steps, so was not suitable for bicycles. Cyclists had to follow the road, crossing it twice in order to reach the bridge over the motorway at the bottom of the hill. The new route looks cycle friendly and I assume that like all of the Camino Francés it will be open for cyclists. One can only hope pedestrians walk sensibly, keeping to one side (preferably the right) so as to let cyclists pass safely.
SHARE THE PATH!
 

jmcarp

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2013
Camino del Norte a Chimayó (USA), 2015
Camino Portugues, 2017
...
I am afraid it will very tempting for skaters...
View attachment 83247
Good point. I wonder who will enforce that? However, as post-pandemic pilgrim numbers increase, the numbers of pedestrian (pilgrim) walkers may actually discourage local skateboarders. Now about the bicigrinos...?
 

4 Eyes

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF from SJPP 14, VDLP from Seville 15, DN&P from Irun 16, Portuguese from Lisbon 17, CF from SJPP 18
I have been knocked down twice by bicyclists, once seriously injuring my ankle when I was 3, and once injuring my wrist when I was a bit older. I have never come across a mean or unsafe cyclist on the camino however. They have been considerate, friendly, sweet, and sometimes pitiful when hauling their bikes up a steep rocky slope. Yes let's all be considerate of each other.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
The previous route was down steps, so was not suitable for bicycles. Cyclists had to follow the road, crossing it twice in order to reach the bridge over the motorway at the bottom of the hill. The new route looks cycle friendly and I assume that like all of the Camino Francés it will be open for cyclists. One can only hope pedestrians walk sensibly, keeping to one side (preferably the right) so as to let cyclists pass safely.
SHARE THE PATH!
I am afraid that it for lack of better terms just an unrealistic request. Look how narrow that path is. Pilgrims quite often walk in small and sometimes large groups, chatting, taking photos and engrossed in the moment. That is what walking pilgrims do. Joyously. Unreasonable to expect people living in the moment, a joyful moment, to march to Santiago single file, left right-left. Hup two three four...what are we walking for....dress up that column lad! Be mindful! Be sensible! There may be 100+ kilograms of human and metal two-wheeled machine bearing down on you at 24 kilometres an hour! lol.
I am sorry, as much as it would be nice for the path to be shareable, it is not designed for both.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have been knocked down twice by bicyclists, once seriously injuring my ankle when I was 3, and once injuring my wrist when I was a bit older. I have never come across a mean or unsafe cyclist on the camino however. They have been considerate, friendly, sweet, and sometimes pitiful when hauling their bikes up a steep rocky slope. Yes let's all be considerate of each other.
Your story on the camino is not my story. Although not knocked down, I have come very close a number of times by speeding, disrespectful bicyclists. The majority never used a bell nor their voice to shout a warning. It seemed to happen more often on weekends and appeared to be mostly Spanish men out for pleasure rides.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Your story on the camino is not my story. Although not knocked down, I have come very close a number of times by speeding, disrespectful bicyclists. The majority never used a bell nor their voice to shout a warning. It seemed to happen more often on weekends and appeared to be mostly Spanish men out for pleasure rides.
@4 Eyes didn't say that they were knocked down on the Camino, but as a young child.

I have been knocked down twice by bicyclists, once seriously injuring my ankle when I was 3, and once injuring my wrist when I was a bit older.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
@4 Eyes didn't say that they were knocked down on the Camino, but as a young child.
I know, Trecile, but he later indicated in his post that all of the cyclists he saw while walking the camino were were considerate and friendly.🚲...not my story.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
One can only hope that cyclists will use their bells and give plenty of warning!

Although not knocked down, I have come very close a number of times by speeding, disrespectful bicyclists. The majority never used a bell nor their voice to shout a warning. It seemed to happen more often on weekends and appeared to be mostly Spanish men out for pleasure rides.
I tell you what, how about i use the big airhorn țhat i have to blast at lorries? That should startle everyone within 500 metres. Or I could just continue As I have always done with a polite good day in whatever language seems best. Shouting is not necessary.
Because I am getting bored with this lack of toleration and perpetual complaining by walkers. I've walked and cycled caminos, walked on my own and with a donkey. Never been attacked by a bike or a dog. I've spent the last two weeks cycling in France, not on a St. James route and pedestrians and cyclists seem to manage very well together. The main problem for cyclists is when walkers spread across the path paying no attention to their surroundings and then freeze like startled rabbits at a polite ding of a bell. I have seen that cyclists who want to ride fast tend to use roads rather than cycle tracks, anyway.
So please can we drop the automatic instruction on using a bell?

Thank you.
 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
I am afraid that it for lack of better terms just an unrealistic request. Look how narrow that path is. Pilgrims quite often walk in small and sometimes large groups, chatting, taking photos and engrossed in the moment. That is what walking pilgrims do. Joyously. Unreasonable to expect people living in the moment, a joyful moment, to march to Santiago single file, left right-left. Hup two three four...what are we walking for....dress up that column lad! Be mindful! Be sensible! There may be 100+ kilograms of human and metal two-wheeled machine bearing down on you at 24 kilometres an hour! lol.
I am sorry, as much as it would be nice for the path to be shareable, it is not designed for both.
RJM seems to be unaware that almost the whole Camino Francés is officially a shared route open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The equivalent in England would be called a bridleway and have a specific legal definition as a shared path. The pictures of the short new section descending from Monte Gozo to the bridge over the AP-9 motorway show it to be 3m wide and quite capable of accommodating walkers, cyclists and even the occasional horse (though in four trips along the CF I have only ever seen one donkey). There is enough room for pedestrians to walk two abreast, ideally on the right, yet still leave room for cyclists to pass safely.

According to the cathedral arrival figures, there are approximately 11 walkers on the CF for every one cyclist. About half of these, including most who like to ride fast, choose to follow the road alternative. So on the track there are more than 20 walkers to every cyclist. It should not be difficult to co-exist amicably. Is it unreasonable, as RJM suggests, for walkers to be considerate towards cyclists?

SHARE THE PATH!
 
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Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
I tell you what, how about i use the big airhorn țhat i have to blast at lorries? That should startle everyone within 500 metres. Or I could just continue As I have always done with a polite good day in whatever language seems best. Shouting is not necessary.
Because I am getting bored with this lack of toleration and perpetual complaining by walkers. I've walked and cycled caminos, walked on my own and with a donkey. Never been attacked by a bike or a dog. I've spent the last two weeks cycling in France, not on a St. James route and pedestrians and cyclists seem to manage very well together. The main problem for cyclists is when walkers spread across the path paying no attention to their surroundings and then freeze like startled rabbits at a polite ding of a bell. I have seen that cyclists who want to ride fast tend to use roads rather than cycle tracks, anyway.
So please can we drop the automatic instruction on using a bell?

Thank you.
Well said, though the suggestion not to use a bell is controversial. My partner and I disagreed on this subject. In my series of European cycling guides, I encourage cyclists to always use a bell politely when coming upon walkers from behind and if this gets no response to consider a shout as well. She felt that as walkers might consider the ringing of a bell to be rude it was best to use one only in potentially dangerous situations. When talking to walkers, which I often do, I do get conflicting comments. Some feel that ringing a bell is impolite while others complain about cyclists who do not ring their bells. The answer is tolerance on behalf of both walkers and cyclists.

SHARE THE PATH!
 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
I see we still have to watch out for cyclists though 🤣.
Of course you will. Officially the CF is a joint use track to be enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Just as when you walk along a road you have to watch out for motor vehicles, so on the CF you need to be aware of cyclists.

SHARE THE PATH!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Your story on the camino is not my story. Although not knocked down, I have come very close a number of times by speeding, disrespectful bicyclists. The majority never used a bell nor their voice to shout a warning. It seemed to happen more often on weekends and appeared to be mostly Spanish men out for pleasure rides.

My story too. I have been hit 3 times thus far by cyclists on the Camino, all 3 travelling too fast, on a steep downhill and trying to squeeze past on a narrow trail. All 3 times without warning. Not wishing to open up that old debate though...... :rolleyes: One of the downsides of walking the CF I find..
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
One can only hope that cyclists will use their bells and give plenty of warning!

As we know many cyclists do not ring the bells. I hope when the camino is crowded Again, cyclists will stay on the road, or get off the bikes and walk them down. On this bob sled section it could potentially be dangerous otherwise.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Walking or riding is only significant because these are the recognised means by which people must complete the last l00 km or 200km on a particular route to obtain a Compostela. Not because somehow it confers some special right to be on a particular track across the landscape.
 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
As we know many cyclists do not ring the bells. I hope when the camino is crowded Again, cyclists will stay on the road, or get off the bikes and walk them down. On this bob sled section it could potentially be dangerous otherwise.
Marbe2 might hope that 'cyclists will stay on the road' but the law does not discriminate against cyclists. The CF is officially a multi-use route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Many cyclists, particularly the faster ones, prefer the road. Others like the challenge of following the Camino route on their bikes and it is their right to do so. What we need is more understanding between the various types of trail user.
SHARE THE PATH!
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Mike! Please do not misrepresent what I was communicating!
I'm happy to share the path with riders! There are circumstances with both riders, going too fast in crowded narrower areas and not warning people with a bell, as well as not getting off their bikes when the path is too close for the crowds and bikes to exist together. There is also a problem when groups of pilgrims try to walk side by side making it difficult for both other walkers and cyclists to pass!
We can share paths most of the time if all of us are considerate! I would certainly hope someone publishing a Camino book for cyclists would support this?
 
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Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
Walking or riding is only significant because these are the recognised means by which people must complete the last l00 km or 200km on a particular route to obtain a Compostela. Not because somehow it confers some special right to be on a particular track across the landscape.
Exactly. The Camino is a shared track, available equally to all kinds of user be they walkers, cyclists or horse riders. But, tongue in cheek here, you have hit upon something which could bring many long distance walkers and cyclists together. 100km walkers (from Saria) and 200km riders (from Ponferrada) are often seen as short term carpet-bagging interlopers who clog up the path into Santiago for true pilgrims. Get rid of them, by denying them a Compostela, and there would be ample space for walkers and cyclists to share the new track down from Monte de Gozo, which after all was the original theme of this thread. (note; I do not hold this view myself. I believe the path should be open to all walkers and riders no matter how short their journey).
SHARE THE TRACK!
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Right, air horn it is, then. 😈 Please may I also have knives in the hubs?
Walkers may carry a pole to stick in the spokes.
Or we could all just show a little tolerance and goodwill.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
RJM seems to be unaware that almost the whole Camino Francés is officially a shared route open to walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The equivalent in England would be called a bridleway and have a specific legal definition as a shared path. The pictures of the short new section descending from Monte Gozo to the bridge over the AP-9 motorway show it to be 3m wide and quite capable of accommodating walkers, cyclists and even the occasional horse (though in four trips along the CF I have only ever seen one donkey). There is enough room for pedestrians to walk two abreast, ideally on the right, yet still leave room for cyclists to pass safely.

According to the cathedral arrival figures, there are approximately 11 walkers on the CF for every one cyclist. About half of these, including most who like to ride fast, choose to follow the road alternative. So on the track there are more than 20 walkers to every cyclist. It should not be difficult to co-exist amicably. Is it unreasonable, as RJM suggests, for walkers to be considerate towards cyclists?

SHARE THE PATH!
Quite aware it is a shared path, whether a good idea to be or not. I have walked the Frances and other routes six times. Nice try with the condescending chatter, though. lol
Yes, based on many comments while walking the Camino's, and on here as well, there are a lot of bad incidents of cyclists hitting pilgrims, having near collisions etc. A walking human just cannot compete in a collision with a human traveling twice their speed atop a metal machine, nor can they for the most part react fast enough to avoid collision. The walking variety of pilgrim comes in all ages, physical condition and even at times has medical physical limitations (I have observed blind pilgrims being led along with assistance). That is a fact. Some even have small children with them, and even have a child in a stroller. The bicycle coming at high speed down a narrow path, and at times several bicyclists present a very serious hazard to those with small children and physical limitations. That is a fact. There is simply no being able to share the path at times. That is a fact and quite honestly unreasonable to expect it. Pilgrims, as I said before, are not going to stay to the right of the path. That is simply not what walking the Camino is about, and yes I have been to many cities where there are paths that have bicycle and walking lanes, but that is not the Camino.
I can only say to the bicyclists to simply live with the notion that walking pilgrims do not care for you at times. It is what it is. Get over it.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I have said my main problem was mostly what appeared to be mostly local men out on the weekends riding fast and furious with no regard for walkers on the camino paths. I stand by my first hand experience...it was sometimes frightening.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
In addition, I find it very unsettling that there are a few bicyclists on this thread that oppose to slowing down and making their presence known to walkers by way of a bell or a shout...what is so difficult with that? I agree we should share the paths equally, but where is common courtesy? The times I am made aware of the cyclists coming by if they forewarn me, I am happy to go to the right side of the trail to give them as much room as possible in order to pass me.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I, too, am willing to make way for cyclists. Unfortunately, some ride too fast and they are upon us suddenly. I wind up freezing in place -not knowing which way to go and so I literally freeze in place. It is a very unpleasant feeling not knowing whether you are going to be hit by a bike. In 2019 my sister was brushed by a bike going to fast. I believe most of us wish to coexist peacefully and pleasantly and we often do interact with cyclists when the opportunity presents itself. However, as the numbers increase so does the danger. Cyclists, please give us loud clear signals that you are coming.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
The Camino is a shared path because of useage, not something “official”. Local authorities who build concrete paths can designate useage - but that’s a different thing to the Camino. No official body regulates the Camino. How could they? It’s made by the people who use it.

Personally I curse all local authorities that build shared paths, without separating cyclists from walkers. Dangerous to both.

Spending all that money surely the new concrete path into Santiago could have been wide enough to at least paint a separation line down the middle. It won’t completely solve the problem, as people always stray over lines, but it might help a bit.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Because I am getting bored with this lack of toleration and perpetual complaining by walkers.
Mutual tolerance is best served by sincere and clear communication, offered without sarcasm or dismissiveness. Mostly, I think we are doing pretty well.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I tell you what, how about i use the big airhorn țhat i have to blast at lorries? That should startle everyone within 500 metres. Or I could just continue As I have always done with a polite good day in whatever language seems best. Shouting is not necessary.
Because I am getting bored with this lack of toleration and perpetual complaining by walkers. I've walked and cycled caminos, walked on my own and with a donkey. Never been attacked by a bike or a dog. I've spent the last two weeks cycling in France, not on a St. James route and pedestrians and cyclists seem to manage very well together. The main problem for cyclists is when walkers spread across the path paying no attention to their surroundings and then freeze like startled rabbits at a polite ding of a bell. I have seen that cyclists who want to ride fast tend to use roads rather than cycle tracks, anyway.
So please can we drop the automatic instruction on using a bell?

Thank you.

Barbara, You are, indeed, very fortunate to have never come close to being hit by a bike on the camino. My sister was brushed by a biker going too fast in 2019 and she was actually hit once by a cyclist who was behind us on a descending trail in the alps. I encountered a rider coming around a downhill curve on a trail in a state park in PA a few months ago. At the last second he said “ “right”... there was little time...I went right....turns out so did he! Luckily, and thankfully, he wound up going into the weeds and there was gratefully no tree there. I have had a couple of close calls on CF. I, for one, do freeze, precisely because in those circumstances that was the best option! No idea of which direction to go in! Please understand, I want cyclists to enjoy their camino and really try to clear the way when I see or hear them from a distance. However, the reason the issue of cyclists and walkers continues to be a problem and, unfortunately, bores you, is because we walkers are continually being endangered by cyclists going to fast and not giving us time to yield safely. Obviously you have not had this experience and do not ride in such a manner. But those posting here have either experienced the danger, first hand, or have seen someone else impacted by reckless riding. I would hope that safe riders and cycling authors would be advocating with other riders to improve the situation.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I see two issues here: crowded shared paths on the Camino Frances, and a lack of common expectations and practices when on shared paths. When I learned to ride a bicycle, at the age of five, I learned to ride carefully on a shared path, and I eventually graduated to riding on the side of a road, knowing that I was in danger from motor vehicles, so must be always aware, and that a pedestrian in my way was a hazard to me as well as to them. I had the greater power to avoid a collision: by warning the walker of my arrival and by preparing to slow down, and to stop, if necessary. From my experience, Spanish cyclists have not been educated to warn walkers on shared paths of their arrival. As a walker, it is pointless to tell riders on this forum what we want them to do. And Spanish riders are unlikely to change their practices in spaces where they feel at home and are obeying the rules of the road, as they learned them. The only suggestion which I could make is to remain very alert for the silence and speed of approaching cyclists, and to stay to the far right of shared paths, as much as possible. A warning would be nice, but cannot be expected.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I see two issues here: crowded shared paths on the Camino Frances, and a lack of common expectations and practices when on shared paths. When I learned to ride a bicycle, at the age of five, I learned to ride carefully on a shared path, and I eventually graduated to riding on the side of a road, knowing that I was in danger from motor vehicles, so must be always aware, and that a pedestrian in my way was a hazard to me as well as to them. I had the greater power to avoid a collision: by warning the walker of my arrival and by preparing to slow down, and to stop, if necessary. From my experience, Spanish cyclists have not been educated to warn walkers on shared paths of their arrival. As a walker, it is pointless to tell riders on this forum what we want them to do. And Spanish riders are unlikely to change their practices in spaces where they feel at home and are obeying the rules of the road, as they learned them. The only suggestion which I could make is to remain very alert for the silence and speed of approaching cyclists, and to stay to the far right of shared paths, as much as possible. A warning would be nice, but cannot be expected.


We do not wear ear phones. We are a pair and for the most part, we are vigilant and warn each other of an approaching bicycle including distance and numbers of bikes coming and we yield whenever possible. Even more vigilant are we when descending hills, going around curves, or when walking parallel to running water or other noise that might mask the sound of a bicycle. Nevertheless, I have had my heart in my mouth at times on almost every camino because of the speeds of cyclists approaching without warning. I too try to stay to the right, but as you know sometimes the right has the worst terrain to walk on. Clearly we must stay vigilant give the recklessness of a minority of cyclists. But sooner or later something needs to be done. I won’t hold my breath...I see posts from 2013 pleading for assistance from Spansh Govt as well as exhorting cyclists to slow down and give proper warning.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Marbe2
I'm sorry you have had problems. As a walker and cyclist i try to see both sides.
As apparently this is difficult for many here I'm leaving this discussion to others. Enjoy your walks in good health, maybe we will meet one day on the path or cycle way.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Wait Barbara, I have a serious question.
when walkers... freeze like startled rabbits at a polite ding of a bell.
Perhaps you can help me understand what I should do. When I hear a bell behind me, I try not to move abruptly either to the left or the right. Depending on the situation, I figure that the bicyclist can see exactly where I am, and it is better to let them avoid me rather than me making a sudden movement into their path. I try to be predictable. In some situations I might even stop. I cannot jerk my head around to make a quick judgement in time.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
One can only hope that cyclists will use their bells and give plenty of warning!
I'm beginning to think that the fancy cross country trekking bikes don't even come with bells. We were passed by a lady in Portugal while walking, she was doing the best she could but had no bell. "Ding, ding! Ding, ding!" Locally almost none of the bike riders use bells. Nor do they call out "On your left!" much. They don't seem to understand that by the time the walker hears them, they're only about 5 feet away and approaching rapidly. We just avoid walking on the hike and bike path locally during weekend days when the parking lot is packed to the gills with bike riders' cars.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
Of course you will. Officially the CF is a joint use track to be enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Just as when you walk along a road you have to watch out for motor vehicles, so on the CF you need to be aware of cyclists.

SHARE THE PATH!
You're shouting.
I hope you also mention in the guide that it's inappropriate to be moving on 2 wheels while studying the screen of the phone on the handlebars. Because it's hard to share a path when you don't even know someone is in front of you. And if I'm keeping to the right I shouldn't have to dive into the bushes because some young fellow has forgotten he's actually a moving vehicle and should be aware of his surroundings. (It took 2 Hola!s to get him to look up. And then he passed me without incident.)
I always feel sorry for the bike riders when I see them guided off onto a road that is way steeper than the footpath (that is only 1 butt wide.) I also felt very sympathetic watching them tote their bikes down those stairs entering Santiago.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
Ok, CClearly, here is my best advice. Most cyclists will try to let you know that they are on the path and would like to pass you. If you are on your own in the centre then it doesn't much matter whether you move to the right or left, but staying in the centre is the least helpful. If you are in a group then try to all go to the same side. In countries that drive on the right a group walks on the right, a single person on the left. So try to all bunch up on the right if you can, please. Of course the average cyclist will try to use the smoother bits, but that isn't in the highway code.
Obviously it is best if we all keep some situational awareness.
I don't know about Spain, but in France the bell is a legal requirement. Unfortunately its naff all use as anyone making any sort of noise of their own (such as walking or maybe just breathing) won't hear it. Whereas a good loud air horn will have you jump so high I can ride under you before you land. I compromise and say hello, please can I pass? Which may result in the startled rabbit response due to excessive politeness. Can't win, can I?
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
here is my best advice.
Thanks for the response.
In countries that drive on the right a group walks on the right, a single person on the left.
I have never seen this distinction before, worded like that. But I think you are talking about a "passing protocol"? I.e. a group should leave room on the left, for any single walker (or cyclist) to pass? Then, after passing, it would be polite for the single walker or cyclist to move to the right again so the next fast walker or cyclist can pass on the left.

So we seem to be saying that both walkers and cyclists should keep to the right of a shared path (assuming we are in a country where cars drive on the right) and basically follow the same practices as cars would on the road - keeping to the right and allowing space where possible for passing on the left.

Sorry if I seem to be slow to set this out, but I expect I'm not the only one. It seems that the rules/courtesies of the road would apply to all situations, except where walkers are on a roadside. In that case they should be single-file (or close to it) on the side facing traffic.

I have often made the startled rabbit response, and I really cannot always control it. That's why I have trained myself not to react suddenly in any way. I cannot trust the cyclist behind me enough to think that jumping to the right is a good idea. If I have time, I'll turn and look, and then move to the right.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
And Spanish riders are unlikely to change their practices in spaces where they feel at home and are obeying the rules of the road, as they learned them. The only suggestion which I could make is to remain very alert for the silence and speed of approaching cyclists, and to stay to the far right of shared paths, as much as possible. A warning would be nice, but cannot be expected.
I agree with your post, but think you are giving the Spanish bicyclists the benefit of the doubt regarding their training. It takes no training imo to see as an adult that you are possibly going to plow into a walker at a high speed if you do not give them warning. Vehicles all have horns to avoid collisions. It's just plain common sense, not training.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
On the Frances in 2015, my son and I were walking uphill on a path consisting of many large stones of gravel and ruts. We were rounding a curve and here comes a Spanish bicyclist in the opposite direction at high speed. I didn't see him and he didn't see us. He skidded around the curve, swerved to avoid a collision and fell down, moaning and groaning in deep pain, unable to get up. My son went to help, but could not communicate. Thankfully walkers coming soon behind us spoke Spanish, also saw the man on the ground, and were able to call for help. There were quite a few pilgrims on this section and that man should have been more careful...both for his own sake, as well as everyone elses.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
walking uphill on a path consisting of many large stones of gravel and ruts. We were rounding a curve
I was in this situation on an early part of the Camino de Madrid last fall. Only the fact that there were few persons on the trail: cyclists or walkers, and I was extremely alert, helped me to avoid collisions. I think that the cyclists who speed along such paths enjoy the speed and the excitement of the ride, but do not consider the possibility of a collision with an unseen walker. In your case, the cyclist was able to react quickly enough to avoid injury to anyone else. but this cannot always be the case.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I think that the cyclists who speed along such paths enjoy the speed and the excitement of the ride, but do not consider the possibility of a collision with an unseen walker.
Yes, they are certainly enjoying themselves! It's more like mountain biking with a few jumps thrown in. I try to remind myself that I am a guest in their country and that helps when my attitude starts to get the best of me.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Pilgrims will simply never form up on and stay to the right on the Camino path. They won't. Never, ever. Have to just live with that. Nor will they be swiveling their heads 360 degrees, scanning for dangers. Nope, not going to happen. It's the Camino, not an army reconnaissance patrol. Nobody's going to put mirrors on brackets attached to pack straps so as to see what's coming from the rear. Pilgrims will walk carefree. Talking, laughing and at times doing silly things. Some will have earphones on listening to music, all other sounds cancelled. Some will be in a group drinking wine and eating while walking. I have done that before. It can be fun. I walk the Camino to smile, not to seriously grimace whilst in fear of a collision.
I would say to any prospective bicycle pilgrim to keep all that in mind. If you ride fast you will endanger walkers.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Of course the average cyclist will try to use the smoother bits, but that isn't in the highway code.
Obviously it is best if we all keep some situational awareness.
This is a good point.
If you're walking along and a cyclist needs to pass, please understand that your feet navigate those rocks and potholes more easily than someone can with a loaded bike. Considerstion goes both ways and is essential even - especially! - if we feel provoked. And mutual awareness is definitely a mutual responsibility. It's not us against them...we're all in this together.

It's relatively easy to move aside and try to be considerate on a senda or dirt road. The problems come where there's nowhere for either party to go, and i don't know if there are good answers here.
 

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
I tell you what, how about i use the big airhorn țhat i have to blast at lorries? That should startle everyone within 500 metres. Or I could just continue As I have always done with a polite good day in whatever language seems best. Shouting is not necessary.
Because I am getting bored with this lack of toleration and perpetual complaining by walkers. I've walked and cycled caminos, walked on my own and with a donkey. Never been attacked by a bike or a dog. I've spent the last two weeks cycling in France, not on a St. James route and pedestrians and cyclists seem to manage very well together. The main problem for cyclists is when walkers spread across the path paying no attention to their surroundings and then freeze like startled rabbits at a polite ding of a bell. I have seen that cyclists who want to ride fast tend to use roads rather than cycle tracks, anyway.
So please can we drop the automatic instruction on using a bell?

Thank you.
My issue is not with the "polite" bells. It is with those who use neither bells nor a polite good day or anything else for that matter.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
So we seem to be saying that both walkers and cyclists should keep to the right of a shared path (assuming we are in a country where cars drive on the right) and basically follow the same practices as cars would on the road - keeping to the right and allowing space where possible for passing on the left.
I've never heard about such a "passing protocol" for pedestrians on footpaths that are also used by cyclists. Nor do I have any intention to adopt it. I lived in quite a happy symbiosis with other users on the paths to Compostela. No bikes or horses ran into me from the front or from behind, there were no near misses, I stepped to the right or the left of a narrow path when I heard them coming and my choice was determined either by how I felt or what seemed most appropriate or by what the ground was like to the right or left of the path. In general, my choice also depends on how wide a shared path is and whether I expect bikers to come from both directions or mainly from behind or mainly coming towards me.

To be clear: when you walk on a road in Spain, i.e. used by cars, that is not in an urban area and you are a single pedestrian and there is no footpath, the side of the road that you walk on is not yours to choose. The laws on road use and road safety stipulate that you walk on the left side of the road, unless reasons of safety and visibility require to be on the right side, for example in a narrow curve or bend. Based on my personal observations, many pilgrims seem to unaware of these laws. But there are no such rules for footpaths.

And again, on roads used by cars and outside of urban areas, if more than one pedestrian are walking together, they have to walk in a single file on the left. Of it is a procession or an organised group with a leader, they actually have to walk on the road and on the right; I've been once in such a situation in France with cars whizzing by and it doesn't feel comfortable, and we also had someone with us who walked at the back and carried a warning flag. Again, no such rules for footpaths.

Other European countries where cars drive on the right have similar laws on road safety and road use.
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
a group walks on the right,
Of it is a procession or an organised group with a leader, they actually have to walk on the road and on the right
This is brand new to me - which is why I was trying to figure out what @Barbara meant. Next time I am marching along the road leading a group, I will know what to do! It sounds like it might have a military origin, with soldiers marching along with their vehicles!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Next time I am marching along the road leading a group, I will know what to do! It sounds like it might have a military origin, with soldiers marching along with their vehicles!
After walking so much on Roman and Medieval roads last year, I find myself imagining moving aside for legions advancing from behind. Some things you don't argue against.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
To be clear: when you walk on a road in Spain, i.e. used by cars, that is not in an urban area and you are a single pedestrian and there is no footpath, the side of the road that you walk on is not yours to choose. The laws on road use and road safety stipulate that you walk on the left side of the road, unless reasons of safety and visibility require to be on the right side, for example in a narrow curve or bend. Based on my personal observations, many pilgrims seem to unaware of these laws
I think that many pilgrims from countries where they drive on the left get confused about this, along with people from right side driving countries who never learned this rule. I remember learning as a child that pedestrians should walk facing oncoming traffic, so that they can see an oncoming car from a distance.
Of it is a procession or an organised group with a leader, they actually have to walk on the road and on the right;
Would this be a procession that has been granted permission to use the road in this way?

In addition to using their bell, or calling out to walking pilgrims, I would like bicigrinos to just slow down when they are approaching walkers. Yes, you may actually have to come to a stop occasionally too if the path is particularly narrow.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Would this be a procession that has been granted permission to use the road in this way?
My Spanish is so limited that I actually cannot find regulations about slow moving groups or "formations" on carriageways; also, this may be regulated at the regional level. But I think you find similar rules throughout continental Europe. I did find the Spanish regulation about having to walk on the left side of the road as a pedestrian outside built-up areas.

In France, we didn't need a permission. We were actually an organised group on foot pilgrimage to Compostela ☺. Most of the time, we were off road of course but a few times we had to walk for a short time on dual lane carriageways outside built-up areas.

For Germany, I found an English translation of their road regulations. No permission required for "formations". Formations can be groups of cyclists, groups on foot like "funeral and other processions", riders on horseback. It's enough that other road users recognise the formation as such, no permission required.

PS: French "Code de la route" - Obligation for single pedestrians to walk on the left of the road outside built-up areas in art. R412-36. Obligation for cortèges, convois ou processions to walk on the right unless they walk in single file when they must walk on the left in art. R412-42.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I think that many pilgrims from countries where they drive on the left get confused about this, along with people from right side driving countries who never learned this rule.
I agree. I now remember one occasion, on a flat straight road with some car traffic but not much, somewhere in the middle of the Camino Frances, when all the pilgrims ahead of us started to move to the right side to walk there. Although we knew that it was not correct and against traffic regulations, we decided, in the interest of making it easier for drivers, to also walk on the right side. ☺

Therefore, good luck with trying to introduce and to enforce a catalogue of voluntary rules for walkers and bikers on trails in such an international environment. ☺
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
The engineer (and cyclist) in me doesn't see this thread as a means of venting views on the rights and wrongs of mixed modes on the camino. It is an opportunity to help the various Associations manage the route.

If the site of incidents were GPS plotted, then there would be information available to those managing the route to be able to introduce signposting/warning signs (cheap) or to improve the track (expensive) or to re-route the track (very expensive).

I would venture that with the information on a map, the areas of concern (mixed mode pinch points) will quickly be visible.

Perhaps a "collisions / near-collisions" thread with a location might be useful to future pilgrims. There is usually the assumption that "near-collisions" will be 8 times the level of collisions (iceberg effect) so near-collisions are just as valuable (but less painful) than a collision.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
This is brand new to me - which is why I was trying to figure out what @Barbara meant. Next time I am marching along the road leading a group, I will know what to do! It sounds like it might have a military origin, with soldiers marching along with their vehicles!
Also applies to horses, led or ridden. I'm not sure how it applies to cycle paths though, just stay awake is probably best.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
Growing up in 'the States' I was taught to walk on the side facing on-coming traffic -- ie, the left side.

I've been knocked down by joyriding cyclists three times over the years, including once on that dangerous rocky slope approaching Zubiri. Very fortunate not to have been seriously injured..... But only once did the offending cyclist -- a Frenchman, God bless him! -- even bother to look back, let alone stop to check on my condition. The others just carried on.... I confess that I harbor some serious lingering resentment of Camino cyclists, in consequence.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
In countries that drive on the right a group walks on the right, a single person on the left.
Interesting, I've consistently heard that, when walking on paths, in countries that drive on the right, pedestrians (single or groups) walk on the right and allow people to pass them on the left. However, when walking on roads where there is no sidewalk, pedestrians (one or more), should walk on the left facing traffic as a general rule.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Interesting, I've consistently heard that, when walking on paths, in countries that drive on the right, pedestrians (single or groups) walk on the right and allow people to pass them on the left. However, when walking on roads where there is no sidewalk, pedestrians (one or more), should walk on the left facing traffic as a general rule.
I always walk opposite traffic on the camino. I want to see so I can get out of the way if needed, ASAP.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I always walk opposite traffic on the camino. I want to see so I can get out of the way if needed, ASAP.
I generally do. Sometimes I may not, for example heading into a blind turn, or when I am only walking by the road for a short distance and would need to cross the road (and traffic) twice to do so, or if I am climbing a steep hill and likely to be more visible to traffic coming from behind than oncoming traffic.

When walking on a road with very little traffic, in the heat of the day, the temptation is strong to walk on whichever side provides the most shade, I must admit.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Interesting, I've consistently heard that, when walking on paths, in countries that drive on the right, pedestrians (single or groups) walk on the right and allow people to pass them on the left. However, when walking on roads where there is no sidewalk, pedestrians (one or more), should walk on the left facing traffic as a general rule.

Those cyclists who compare compare
This is a good point.
If you're walking along and a cyclist needs to pass, please understand that your feet navigate those rocks and potholes more easily than someone can with a loaded bike. Considerstion goes both ways and is essential even - especially! - if we feel provoked. And mutual awareness is definitely a mutual responsibility. It's not us against them...we're all in this together.

It's relatively easy to move aside and try to be considerate on a senda or dirt road. The problems come where there's nowhere for either party to go, and i don't know if there are good answers here.

I have no problem moving to an area to help the rider. However, I need time to navigate and when the bike is coming too fast and unannounced this is often not possible, especially when there are several riders and other walkers.

We try now to walk the CF at off peak times as it is not peaceful to always be hyper alert.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I think the inevitable generalizations we make based on one experience won’t likely hold up in other experiences. Coming from a college town, my vantage point (whether I am on a bike or in a car) is that college students are the most rude and most unsafe pedestrians in the universe. But as a walking peregrina, I turn my complaints to the cyclists on the camino.

The complaints that walking pilgrims make about cyclists are the same as the ones I would make as a cyclist vis a vis cars. I ride a lot out in the country, and I have had encounters with cars that go too fast, don’t leave me much space, and are frequently rude.

Not sure where that leaves us, except to say that we can complain all we want, but in the final analysis, I think rude cyclists on the camino are just as inevitable as snorers in albergues. If I don’t look out for cyclists when I’m walking, or if I don’t look out for cars when I’m riding my bike, the joke may be on me, even though my heirs may be able to monetize my tragedy with a lawsuit.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I think the inevitable generalizations we make based on one experience won’t likely hold up in other experiences. Coming from a college town, my vantage point (whether I am on a bike or in a car) is that college students are the most rude and most unsafe pedestrians in the universe. But as a walking peregrina, I turn my complaints to the cyclists on the camino.

The complaints that walking pilgrims make about cyclists are the same as the ones I would make as a cyclist vis a vis cars. I ride a lot out in the country, and I have had encounters with cars that go too fast, don’t leave me much space, and are frequently rude.

Not sure where that leaves us, except to say that we can complain all we want, but in the final analysis, I think rude cyclists on the camino are just as inevitable as snorers in albergues. If I don’t look out for cyclists when I’m walking, or if I don’t look out for cars when I’m riding my bike, the joke may be on me, even though my heirs may be able to monetize my tragedy with a lawsuit.
What seems to be rudeness to the more vulnerable party: cyclist or pedestrian, is often, I think, largely the natural lack of attention of the stronger or faster person to the more vulnerable. If I am a cyclist, I am looking for cars, as sources of extreme danger to my safety, and less to pedestrians (although speeding cyclists may be injured in collisions with pedestrians). This may be why shared paths or routes can be dangerous to the slower party. In general, our attention is focused on those who are dangerous to us. And of course this danger can be exacerbated by the desire of pilgrims on camino routes to walk and share with other pilgrims, resulting in less attention to the traffic. We walkers are on the vulnerable end of the traffic race, and should do what we can to keep ourselves and our companions safe: stay alert, don't fill the whole width of a path, perhaps even walk alone, with arrangements for community time at the next coffee stop. And of course some of us will feel safer walking on less-travelled paths. Buen camino to all.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
What seems to be rudeness to the more vulnerable party: cyclist or pedestrian, is often, I think, largely the natural lack of attention of the stronger or faster person to the more vulnerable.

BRILLIANT observation, I think you nailed it. Your post should certainly go a long way to un-demonize cyclists to pedestrian peregrinos/as.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
My friend’s husband died on the camino just a few kms from Santiago. He was cycling, she was walking; he had a heart attack. A year or so later I was approaching the spot where he had collapsed, and I was in a very emotional and saddened state as I pictured in my mind what had happened there. All of a sudden I heard a yell behind me, and a cyclist just missed crashing into me. In a dazed state I just burst into tears. Cyclists just don’t realize that walkers aren’t always “aware” of what is going on around them.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
If a car hits a bike, the law requires them to stop....otherwise is it not hit and run? Yet bikes hit pedestrians, or force them off the road resulting in injury. Yet some do not even stop to make sure the walker is OK? Maybe if there was a similar hit and run law cyclists would slow down and warn those on foot they are approaching and, of course, stop to check on the victim.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
If a car hits a bike, the law requires them to stop....otherwise is it not hit and run? Yet bikes hit pedestrians, or force them off the road resulting in injury. Yet some do not even stop to make sure the walker is OK? Maybe if there was a similar hit and run law cyclists would slow down and warn those on foot they are approaching and, of course, stop to check on the victim.
Depending on the laws of the place, a bike may already have this obligation to "stop and render aid." It goes along with being treated as a wheeled vehicle in traffic...bike riders and motorbike riders seem to be confused about the whole stopping for stop signs and traffic lights thing, also unsafe lane changing...I think I'd want to take a look-see informally at the traffic laws of a place before undertaking a bike tour of it. But it's been so long since I sat a bike I probably can't even keep it upright any more.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I think the inevitable generalizations we make based on one experience won’t likely hold up in other experiences. Coming from a college town, my vantage point (whether I am on a bike or in a car) is that college students are the most rude and most unsafe pedestrians in the universe. But as a walking peregrina, I turn my complaints to the cyclists on the camino.

The complaints that walking pilgrims make about cyclists are the same as the ones I would make as a cyclist vis a vis cars. I ride a lot out in the country, and I have had encounters with cars that go too fast, don’t leave me much space, and are frequently rude.

Not sure where that leaves us, except to say that we can complain all we want, but in the final analysis, I think rude cyclists on the camino are just as inevitable as snorers in albergues. If I don’t look out for cyclists when I’m walking, or if I don’t look out for cars when I’m riding my bike, the joke may be on me, even though my heirs may be able to monetize my tragedy with a lawsuit.
Growing up in 'the States' I was taught to walk on the side facing on-coming traffic -- ie, the left side.

I've been knocked down by joyriding cyclists three times over the years, including once on that dangerous rocky slope approaching Zubiri. Very fortunate not to have been seriously injured..... But only once did the offending cyclist -- a Frenchman, God bless him! -- even bother to look back, let alone stop to check on my condition. The others just carried on.... I confess that I harbor some serious lingering resentment of Camino cyclists, in consequence.



With great respect Laurie,I do not see the problem as a matter of perspective...Getting hit 3 times as rappahannock descrbes has more to do with danger, injury and lethality....We have had some very close encounters and my sister was hit once and brushed a second time . Because of the speeds of the cyclists all one can sometimes do is freeze! And we are vigilant while walking! No ear phones, often looking back when areas begin to narrow or there is noise that might prevent us from hearing a bike! It is no “joke” when you are hit by a bike or a car, Laurie!!

Legally everyone riding a cycle is required by law to have a bell. And they need to use it! Only racers, I believe, are allowed dispensation from this law And no one should be racing on a pedestrian sharing path as I understand Spanish cycling laws.
And groups of racers need prior authorization to race. Do you really think these racers would be granted permission to race on the CF?

I am very happy when the Camino family here advocates with authorities in Spain for folks who are being injured and attacked by other perpetrators, but there appears to be apathy for advocating for the enforcement of biking regulations that in the end would protect cyclists and and walkers from further injuries. This problem will only get worse and those in the position to do someyhing about it in Spain, or who have contacts there, must, at some time deal with ths issue on the CF.


Cycling Rules In Spain

Below you will find the main rules in Spain when riding a bicycle.

  • All cyclists must ride on the right hand side of the road and never ride against the flow of traffic.
  • Cyclists must use any designated bicycle lanes and trails and ride at no more than 30 km/h.
  • You must not cycle in a bus lane as they are only intended for public transport.
  • Using a mobile phone while cycling is prohibited.
  • You are not allowed to listen to music while cycling through headphones or earbuds.
  • You must keep both hands on the handlebars when cycling other than to signal.
  • You must use hand-signals to indicate your intention to turn or change direction.
  • You should park your bicycle in designated spaces and must not attach it to trees, benches, traffic lights, street lights and waste bins etc.
  • Unauthorised racing is not permitted.
  • When riding in bicycle lanes or similar areas, you must take care when approaching junctions which are used by pedestrians or other vehicles.
  • Cyclists must not exceed the speed limit of the road or make abrupt or dangerous movements.
  • When cycling close to a building, you must allow at least 5m between you and the buildings facade.
  • All bicycles must be fitted with a bell, rear reflector and have front and rear lights.
  • Reflective clothing must be worn between sunset and sunrise.
  • Children under 7 must be carried in an approved seat and must wear a helmet.
Riding a bicycle on pavements, sidewalks, public parks and other similar pedestrian areas is also not permitted, except at a speed of less than 10 km/h and when the following conditions apply:-

  • There are no cycle lanes available to use
  • There are no signs prohibiting cycling.
  • The pavement or sidewalk is over 3m wide
  • The sidewalk is not crowded and you are able to cycle at a distance of at least 1m from any pedestrian and can cycle in a straight line for more than 5m.
When pushing a bicycle, you are classed as a pedestrian and can therefore push your bike on the pavement.

Cycling Fines

Needless to say, any of the above infractions can potentially result in a hefty fine.

Below are just a few of the current fines that can be issued. However, it's hard to say how much of a fine you will incur for some of the other infringements listed above.

  • No brakes or faulty brakes - €80.00
  • Not having any lights on between sunset and sunrise - €200.00
  • Failing to stop at a traffic light - €200.00
  • Not having a bell - €80.00
  • Failing to give way - €200.00
  • Not wearing high visibility clothing - €200.00
  • Being under the influence of alcohol - €500.00
 
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Marcus-UK

Old Git
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles 2016 Camino Portuguese 2017 Considering Invierno late (2020) In lieu of VdlP (2020)
I tell you what, how about i use the big airhorn țhat i have to blast at lorries? That should startle everyone within 500 metres. Or I could just continue As I have always done with a polite good day in whatever language seems best. Shouting is not necessary.
Because I am getting bored with this lack of toleration and perpetual complaining by walkers. I've walked and cycled caminos, walked on my own and with a donkey. Never been attacked by a bike or a dog. I've spent the last two weeks cycling in France, not on a St. James route and pedestrians and cyclists seem to manage very well together. The main problem for cyclists is when walkers spread across the path paying no attention to their surroundings and then freeze like startled rabbits at a polite ding of a bell. I have seen that cyclists who want to ride fast tend to use roads rather than cycle tracks, anyway.
So please can we drop the automatic instruction on using a bell?

Thank you.
I suppose that using a wooden lollypop stick attached to the rear wheel to cause a continuous noise is classed as too childish or noise pollution. I can't use the dangling taffeta from my handlebar ends anymore since they are blocked up with rear view mirrors.
 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
This thread started when I welcomed the new route from Monte de Gozo down to the bridge over the AP-9 motorway on the outskirts of Santiago as being cycle-friendly. This compared with the old route where pedestrians used steps down the hillside while cyclists were obliged to use a potentially busy stretch of main road. When the bridge was reconstructed in autumn 2017, it was equipped with a wide dual-use cycle/pedestrian path to the left of the road. As a result cyclists had to cross the main road twice, once at the bottom of the hill and again at the beginning of the bridge, two potentially dangerous manoeuvres. The new route removes this problem and is clearly a benefit to cyclists. I assume this was the main driving force for building it.

The initial post describing the new link received a number of comments from walkers who generally criticised the construction for being both ugly and having the potential to attract cyclists (and skateboarders!). Indeed some comments went so far as suggest that cyclists be banned from using it to protect the safety of pedestrians (as they had been banned from the steps previously). The more I think about this, it is clear these comments are missing the whole point of the new route. Pedestrians were quite happy with the old steps. The new track is solely for the benefit of cyclists, providing a safe route avoiding traffic. To suggest banning cyclists is perverse and if it were to happen would be a complete waste of the public money spent constructing the route.

My original post (and all my further posts) had the message that cyclists and pedestrians need to share the path amicably. Unfortunately this was responded to not by messages of peaceful co-existence but by tales of woe of accidents and the danger posed by cyclists. Eventually the whole thing went off at a tangent arguing about what side of the road to walk in various European counties. The real question is how can cyclists and pedestrians peacefully share the Camino. As a cyclist, with many years cycling throughout the world, I am well aware of the rules of the road. When I cycle on a road in Spain I follow these rules and keep to the right. When I pass something (not very often but it does happen) I pull out to the left to overtake then return to the right. When a vehicle approaches from the other direction, they pass to my left.

For cyclists, the same basic policy applies on the Camino too. All cyclists understand this, without this common sense unwritten rule it would be anarchy. So when I approach another path user slowly from behind, be they on foot, two wheels or horseback, I ring my bell and hope they will keep right to allow me to pass on their left. If I pass people coming the other way (rare, very few return from Santiago the way they have come), then I keep right to allow them to pass to my left. This is not rocket science, nor should it be controversial. It is a matter of safety. If a cyclist collides with a pedestrian, or comes off trying to avoid them, he/she is more likely to be injured seriously. I am not, as one comment suggests,. calling for pedestrians to walk in single file on the right. Walk wherever you like, but when you hear a bell or polite hola! from behind, just edge to the right. Its easy really.

SHARE THE PATH!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Marbe2, I don’t disagree with anything you say. But I don’t think it leads to any advice other than what I suggested — pilgrims on foot have to be more aware and alert, because it can be dangerous. That’s not fair, that’s not right, but what else can we do? My use of the word “joke” was only in the colloquial sense to indicate that this is one of those cases in which insisting that I am right and have priority in the path does nothing to save me if I am hit by a bike. I don’t defend irresponsible and dangerous cycling behavior, but think it’s relevant to point out that there are many other places where the dangerous behavior comes from pedestrians or cars. I am not being dismissive, but the camino is not unique — any time you get motorized transport, cars, and pedestrians moving over the same space, there is danger, and there will be crazy and rude people in all three modes. And tragically there will be injuries and deaths in all catgories. The Spanish authorities seem highly sensitized to the car vs. pedestrian conflict, and have done a lot to separate the two, but not so much with the pedestrian vs. cyclist conflict or cyclist vs. car conflict (cyclists get killed almost every year on the camino). I know that responsible cyclists on the camino also have their share of stories about rude pedestrians who think they are in charge and have no obligation to, as Mike put it, SHARE THE PATH.

Unless there is going to be a vigorous enforcement campaign by the Spanish authorities, or unless someone puts together an educational effort that will reach these irresponsible cyclists, I think we are very limited in what we can do about it. Saying we are right and the cyclists are wrong doesn’t stop the accidents. In light of that, and knowing that there are reports of many crazy cyclists on the camino, it seems that the best advice is to be more alert and aware of the danger.

Maybe others have better ideas, but one place to start would be to contact some of the many web based groups of camino cyclists. We’re pretty much preaching to the choir here on this forum.


 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
My friend’s husband died on the camino just a few kms from Santiago. He was cycling, she was walking; he had a heart attack. A year or so later I was approaching the spot where he had collapsed, and I was in a very emotional and saddened state as I pictured in my mind what had happened there. All of a sudden I heard a yell behind me, and a cyclist just missed crashing into me. In a dazed state I just burst into tears. Cyclists just don’t realize that walkers aren’t always “aware” of what is going on around them.
I sympathise but cannot agree with this statement. I am sure you would agree that a cyclist needs to be aware of what is going on around them at all times. The same must apply to pedestrians too. If you do not have awareness, it would be highly dangerous to walk anywhere let alone 800km across Spain. Someone without basic awareness should be safely confined in a home for their own safety. They could wander into traffic, walk over a cliff, trip over the kerb or stand in the path of a cyclist. While this applies everywhere, it is even more important on shared routes such as the Camino.

SHARE THE PATH!
 

4 Eyes

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF from SJPP 14, VDLP from Seville 15, DN&P from Irun 16, Portuguese from Lisbon 17, CF from SJPP 18
We all ought to be aware at all times whether walking, cycling, or driving. That does not happen in real life since none of us is perfect. We all have moments of lapse in awareness and judgment. We are rational yet emotional beings. That's why accidents can happen to all of us, whether due to our own lapses or lapses on the part of others we encounter. If having momentary lapses qualifies us to be confined in a home, then all of us would be confined in a home. Yes, I vote for sharing the path, showing consideration, having respect and tolerance, not jumping to judge others, and sharing our experiences to communicate and hopefully educate each other.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I can understand cyclists using the Camino path where it is wide and paved but in many places it is a narrow dirt path - to me obviously a footpath. Often close to and essentially parallel with a quiet paved rural road or dedicated cycle way. I don’t understand the need to use the footpath when there is a more suitable alternative.
And as for speed - keep that for the Vuelta or Le Tour. Which are both on paved roads.
 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
I can understand cyclists using the Camino path where it is wide and paved but in many places it is a narrow dirt path - to me obviously a footpath. Often close to and essentially parallel with a quiet paved rural road or dedicated cycle way. I don’t understand the need to use the footpath when there is a more suitable alternative.
And as for speed - keep that for the Vuelta or Le Tour. Which are both on paved roads.
I am sorry to disagree. The Camino is not just a footpath, it is a trail for use by people on foot, horse and bicycle. It is a footpath, bridleway and cycle track all rolled into one. In medieval times it was just walkers and horse riders. Indeed, if this forum had existed 800 years ago it would probably have been full of comments from walkers complaining about people on horseback. The bicycle is a darned new fangled invention, dating from the late-19th century, but since much of the modern Camino is a late-20th century resurrection of the medieval route, bicycles are quite at home here.

Not all cyclists are the same. Those who wish to ride the route as quickly as possible and those who are not up for the challenge of off-road riding use the roads. There are no exact figures as to how many cyclists are in these two categories, but my experience leads me to think it is about 50%. The other 50%, who relish the fun of off-road riding and the challenge of doing this on an historic route, want to follow the trail as much as possible. In this respect they are no different to walkers who also wish to follow the 'authentic' trail and not walk on roads all day. However, there are a few places where I believe for safety reasons it is better that cyclists take an alternative route. The descents from the Alto del Perdón to Uterga and from Manjarin to El Acebo, plus the ascent from Valcarce through La Faba to La Laguna, are obvious candidates. In my guide to Cycling the Camino de Santiago (Cicerone Press ISBN9781852849696) I advise against using the trail for these sections and describe the alternative routes in detail. I cannot stop people riding them however. In my view they are mad to ride these sections, but they have every right to do so and long may this freedom last.

Cyclists are outnumbered about twenty to one on the trail. To progress at all, they need to be aware of walkers and treat them with respect. Bells are a legal requirement on bicycles in Spain, but I cannot make people use them. I always use mine and often shout a polite hola! if I think I have not been heard. My former partner on the other hand feared that walkers may think it rude if she rang her bell and hardly ever used it. But she did ride very slowly past other pilgrims. The important thing is tolerance and sharing between all trail users. False assertions, particularly from a moderator of this forum who should know better, that the Camino is 'obviously a footpath' do not help this tolerance.

SHARE THE PATH!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
The Camino is not just a footpath, it is a trail for use by people on foot, horse and bicycle. It is a footpath, bridleway and cycle track all rolled into one. In medieval times it was just walkers and horse riders. Indeed, if this forum had existed 800 years ago it would probably have been full of comments from walkers complaining about people on horseback.
Not so. I have to agree with @Kanga. Medieval pilgrims and other travellers on the Camino Frances for example would have travelled together on reasonably wide roads. They would not have searched for narrow footpaths to be away from traffic and be able to enjoy more peace and more pleasant scenery as we do. We have a lot more options now. The trail from Pamplona up to the Alto del Perdon and down again on the other side is a good example. That narrow trail is for people on foot. The national road to the right is for bicycles. The motorway to the right is for cars.

Why people believe that the combination of roads and paths marked on their maps and marked by yellow arrows is the only Camino de Santiago and the only ""historical"" one and why bikers believe that they must ride exactly on the trails where pilgrims walk today is something I fail to understand.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
We are talking about this location near Monte do Gozo, are we? There's a sign for people on foot to warn them of the steps ahead but nothing for cyclists ☺. They can turn right, then turn left into the N-634. Looking at it from Streetview I don't understand why they don't create a bike trail on the right of the N-634 and over the bridge. It looks as if there is space for it. Pity that we were not alerted when the plans for the pasarela were published and local people had a chance to view them and give an opinion.

And let's see what the new sign will say ...

Steps.jpg
 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
We are talking about this location near Monte do Gozo, are we? There's a sign for people on foot to warn them of the steps ahead but nothing for cyclists ☺. They can turn right, then turn left into the N-634. Looking at it from Streetview I don't understand why they don't create a bike trail on the right of the N-634 and over the bridge. It looks as if there is space for it. Pity that we were not alerted when the plans for the pasarela were published and local people had a chance to view them and give an opinion.

And let's see what the new sign will say ...

View attachment 83854
You have the right location. It is my understanding that a blue and white sign showing a pedestrian signifies pedestrians only, just like one at the entrance to a motorway showing a car means motor vehicles only. So previously, being advised by the sign that they could not go down the steps, cyclists did follow the road bearing right downhill. At the bottom, they had to cross the N-634 main road and follow it cycling on the right. Upon reaching the re-constructed bridge over the AP-9, cyclists then had to re-cross the road to reach the multi-use track on the left over the bridge. However it is all redundant now as the steps have been replaced with the new track.

I agree with you that a better and cheaper solution would have been to provide a short traffic segregated cycle track alongside the N-634 at the bottom of the hill. However this would have needed to be on the left of the road to connect up with the multi-use track opened in 2018 over the AP-9 motorway bridge. Had it been on the right, as you suggest, cyclists would still have needed to cross the N-634 twice. There is indeed space on the left and this was used as a diversion for walkers while the new route was under construction. However a lot of money has been spent on the new trail, and I doubt if any changes will be made now.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
And as for speed - keep that for the Vuelta or Le Tour. Which are both on paved roads.
There are people on off-road bikes who think speed on a narrow trail is just fine, in fact the point. These are the only people on the camino I've personally had close and quite scary encounters with - in each case local MAMILs pretending to be in the UCI mountain bike world cup. This has nothing to do with the camino. I've only had cordial interactions with genuine bicigrinos, who as a matter of good sense tend to avoid the gnarly bits.

The other 50%, who relish the fun of off-road riding and the challenge of doing this on an historic route, want to follow the trail as much as possible.
I have no argument with fun and challenge, but not at the expense of the safety of others. Mountain bikers can do whatever they want to endanger themselves as cyclists, but should (please) leave the rest of us out of it.

And as @Kathar1na just said, the historical route is mostly not the one we walk. The camino was on roads, and a whole lot of those old roads now being under the Carretera.
Why people believe that the combination of roads and paths marked on their maps and marked by yellow arrows is the only Camino de Santiago and the only ""historical"" one and why bikers believe that they must ride exactly on the trails where pilgrims walk today is something I fail to understand.
Same. The route today is an estimate only.

I posted these links elsewhere but if you want to know a bit more, these are absorbing reading:
https://www.academia.edu/1943292/Roman_engineering_on_the_roads_to_Santiago_The_roads_of_the_Rioja

[The sub-text here and the 'elephant in the living room' is who does the camino belong to, cyclists or walkers. I'd posit that it belongs to none of us, because the Camino is more mysterious than a path on the ground. Certainly, though, walkers and those on horseback are the only people who travel as historical pilgrims once did. People using machines that were not invented in the heyday of the historic camino - cars, planes, bikes - cannot actually claim any precedent.]
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I am sorry to disagree. The Camino is not just a footpath, it is a trail for use by people on foot, horse and bicycle. It is a footpath, bridleway and cycle track all rolled into one. In medieval times it was just walkers and horse riders. Indeed, if this forum had existed 800 years ago it would probably have been full of comments from walkers complaining about people on horseback. The bicycle is a darned new fangled invention, dating from the late-19th century, but since much of the modern Camino is a late-20th century resurrection of the medieval route, bicycles are quite at home here.

Not all cyclists are the same. Those who wish to ride the route as quickly as possible and those who are not up for the challenge of off-road riding use the roads. There are no exact figures as to how many cyclists are in these two categories, but my experience leads me to think it is about 50%. The other 50%, who relish the fun of off-road riding and the challenge of doing this on an historic route, want to follow the trail as much as possible. In this respect they are no different to walkers who also wish to follow the 'authentic' trail and not walk on roads all day. However, there are a few places where I believe for safety reasons it is better that cyclists take an alternative route. The descents from the Alto del Perdón to Uterga and from Manjarin to El Acebo, plus the ascent from Valcarce through La Faba to La Laguna, are obvious candidates. In my guide to Cycling the Camino de Santiago (Cicerone Press ISBN9781852849696) I advise against using the trail for these sections and describe the alternative routes in detail. I cannot stop people riding them however. In my view they are mad to ride these sections, but they have every right to do so and long may this freedom last.

Cyclists are outnumbered about twenty to one on the trail. To progress at all, they need to be aware of walkers and treat them with respect. Bells are a legal requirement on bicycles in Spain, but I cannot make people use them. I always use mine and often shout a polite hola! if I think I have not been heard. My former partner on the other hand feared that walkers may think it rude if she rang her bell and hardly ever used it. But she did ride very slowly past other pilgrims. The important thing is tolerance and sharing between all trail users. False assertions, particularly from a moderator of this forum who should know better, that the Camino is 'obviously a footpath' do not help this tolerance.

SHARE THE PATH!
Dude, the Camino is a footpath, and you gotta stop yelling. 😆
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
@Mike Wells I repeat what I said earlier. When I walked in 2001 I don't recall any cyclists on the footpath. Cyclists had maps showing them the best cycling routes. Maybe there was the occasional person who wanted to make their ride uncomfortable, but I don't remember them.

One of the books that inspired me to walk that first camino was by Bettina Selby, called "Pilgrim's Road; A Journey to Santiago de Compostela". It detailed her bicycle ride from Vézelay (first published in 1994). I no longer have a copy, but I'm sure she rode on roads, not the footpath. She had researched the route using the CSJ library and historic documents. Quiet country roads and laneways whenever possible but I don't think she (or any cyclist in those days) even considered riding on the footpath. And even when the road was busy. She wore a bright red sweater with a large shell emblazoned on the back, so as to alert lorry drivers of her status.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
It is my understanding that a blue and white sign showing a pedestrian signifies pedestrians only, just like one at the entrance to a motorway showing a car means motor vehicles only.
I got my motorvehicle driver's licence long ago and some of the signs you see today didn't exist at the time. I'm not sure what the sign means other than "stairs ahead". I was intrigued to learn that Spain has these signs ☺ :

stairs again.jpg
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
When I looked at the photo of the model of the new footbridge/footpath near Monte do Gozo I thought it showed people who were walking down and in the middle there were two riders on white horses. I now see that these are rocks and people are shown as walking up or down. The pasarela is meant both for pilgrims and locals, according to the local newspapers, and I think the Monte do Gozo area is also being further developed as a leisure area for the Compostelanos/as.

So genuine question: these three right angle turns at the beginning and end - is that a good arrangement for cyclists?

Maquette.jpg
 

Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
@Mike Wells I repeat what I said earlier. When I walked in 2001 I don't recall any cyclists on the footpath. Cyclists had maps showing them the best cycling routes. Maybe there was the occasional person who wanted to make their ride uncomfortable, but I don't remember them.

One of the books that inspired me to walk that first camino was by Bettina Selby, called "Pilgrim's Road; A Journey to Santiago de Compostela". It detailed her bicycle ride from Vézelay (first published in 1994). I no longer have a copy, but I'm sure she rode on roads, not the footpath. She had researched the route using the CSJ library and historic documents. Quiet country roads and laneways whenever possible but I don't think she (or any cyclist in those days) even considered riding on the footpath. And even when the road was busy. She wore a bright red sweater with a large shell emblazoned on the back, so as to alert lorry drivers of her status.
I first cycled the CF in 1995. After following the road from SJPdP over the Ibañeta pass, I then went off-road through the Pyrenean foothills from Burguete to the Alto de Erro. It was horrendous. Unbridged streams to ford and mud everywhere. I had to stop every few minutes to free cloying mud from my brakes and mudguards. I abandoned my plan to do the whole route off-road. and followed the roads through Pamplona and Estella as far as the Montes de Oca. Here I tried off-roading again and this time it worked. The better drainage of the limestone and chalklands of the meseta gave trouble-free riding and I continued through the green lanes of Galica to Santiago. I met very few other people, just a few walkers and the occasional cyclist. At that time many of the routes through the fields were new or non-existant and there were very few sendas beside the main roads (the only senda I recall was between Frómista and Carrión des los Condes and that had only just been opened). For long distances, walkers trudged along the edge of the roads.

Since then the surface throughout the trail has been improved, mostly with stone chippings. Though there are still a few muddy sections, particularly the descent to Zubiri and the track between Hontanas and the convent de San Antón, much of the route is now a dream to ride. As I wrote in an earlier post, some cyclists prefer the roads and other like the challenge and fun of riding what is now one of Europe's best long distance off-road cycle routes. What I and a few other cyclists pioneered in the 90's has now become a chosen route for many. My guide to Cycling the Camino de Santiago (Cicerone Press ISBN 9781852849696) fully describes both routes and allows cyclists to make their choice.

SHARE THE PATH!
 
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Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
When I looked at the photo of the model of the new footbridge/footpath near Monte do Gozo I thought it showed people who were walking down and in the middle there were two riders on white horses. I now see that these are rocks and people are shown as walking up or down. The pasarela is meant both for pilgrims and locals, according to the local newspapers, and I think the Monte do Gozo area is also being further developed as a leisure area for the Compostelanos/as.

So genuine question: these three right angle turns at the beginning and end - is that a good arrangement for cyclists?

View attachment 83857
I assume they perform the same purpose as half barrier chicanes where cycle tracks reach roads; that is to slow cyclists down. Personally I hate such artificial obstructions, but I do see that they serve a purpose and have safety benefits for walkers and cyclists alike. More evidence that this whole construction was built with cyclists in mind as in most European countries speed inhibiting measures are de rigour in obtaining planning permission for new cycle tracks.

I think the authorities were expecting a huge increase in the number of pilgrims using the accommodation on Monte de Gozo during Holy Year. Could improving the infrastructure from here to the city be part of this?

I am glad I am not the only one, but I too though it was two horses coming down the track. It was only when I enlarged the picture did I see that it was just a rocky hillside.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
riding what is now one of Europe's best long distance off-road cycle routes
Says who ☺?

There is actually a European long-distance route to Compostela in development by the EuroVelo people. However, as you can see from their website most of this EV3 in Spain is still under development and only one section around Burgos is marked with EuroVelo signs for this EV3 (in yellow) but not yet certified (in green). Some of you may have seen them or the signs for another long distance cycling route, the EV1 route which crosses the same area but then turns south and eventually ends in Portugal.

EV3.jpg
 
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Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
I got my motorvehicle driver's licence long ago and some of the signs you see today didn't exist at the time. I'm not sure what the sign means other than "stairs ahead". I was intrigued to learn that Spain has these signs ☺ :

View attachment 83856
I am intrigued too. The only place on the Camino where such a sign may be necessary is where the track crosses the N-111 by bridge between Viana and Logroño. I did not see one, but I was not looking. I am guessing here, but as the old sign on the descent from Monte de Gozo does not show a bike being carried, could it be that the stairs were for pedestrians only.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I agree. I now remember one occasion, on a flat straight road with some car traffic but not much, somewhere in the middle of the Camino Frances, when all the pilgrims ahead of us started to move to the right side to walk there. Although we knew that it was not correct and against traffic regulations, we decided, in the interest of making it easier for drivers, to also walk on the right side. ☺

Therefore, good luck with trying to introduce and to enforce a catalogue of voluntary rules for walkers and bikers on trails in such an international environment. ☺

Always walk facing traffic, except on a blind curve or steep hill. Then you should walk along the outer curve to see oncoming traffic and be visible to drivers. On a sharp corner with limited visibility (blind curve) or a steep hill, it’s safer to walk along the outer corner rather than to stay in the inner corner, even though this is opposite of the rule to face traffic when walking. In the inner corner, you won’t be able to see upcoming traffic and it won’t see you. Cross the road at a safe distance from the curve, walk along the outer curve, and cross back again at a safe distance. You should be extra careful during this segment, because drivers and cyclists may not expect pedestrians on the right side of the road. I believe this is standard walking practice in most countries. When we walk down from El acebo to Molinesca, we, especially, follow this practice. There are some sharp turns on the road descending down and without crossing the road, you must actually go onto the road at times. Therefore, going to the right is safest for the auto driver and the pedestrian. But do be mindful that a bike going down hill on a road is traveling faster speeds and be hyper alert for them approaching on the right.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
i believe this is standard walkers ng prqctice has n mst countries.
Yes, I am familiar with this since age 12 or so. You probably went to the mall but we European countryside teenage girls walked along the road with our friends on Sunday afternoons. Not as many cars then as now and I think this has grown out of fashion. 😁

Also, I don't remember any Middle Aged Men In Lycra on bikes then who were on their Saturday or Sunday group bike ride. Maybe lycra had not yet been invented.
 
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Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
Says who ☺?

There is actually a European long-distance route to Compostela in development by the EuroVelo people. However, as you can see from their website most of this EV3 in Spain is still under development and only one section around Burgos is marked with EuroVelo signs for this EV3 (in yellow) but not yet certified (in green). Some of you may have seen them or the signs for another long distance cycling route, the EV1 route which crosses the same area but then turns south and eventually ends in Portugal.

View attachment 83858
I am aware of route proposed by Eurovélo for EV3 and have studied it closely. Like most Eurovélo routes, at this stage much of the route is wishful thinking. Initially it is a road route from the Ibañeta pass, mostly following the old national N- roads that evolved from the Roman via Lactea and the medieval Camino, that is the N-135, N-111 and N-120 until it reaches the meseta after Burgos. There are exceptions. mostly caused by the A-12 motorway. Where this has usurped the old N road and cyclists are forbidden to ride on the motorway, deviations are made either on the Camino route itself (as on the exit from Pamplona or between Logroño and Navarette) or on local minor roads. Where the motorway is incomplete and heavy traffic is forced to use the old N- road (as between Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Burgos) lengthy detours are shown. From Burgos the EV3 follows the off-road Camino over the meseta to Frómista and on through León, Astorga and Ponferrada to O Cebreiro. Once in Galicia, roads are re-joined following the old N-633 to Palas de Rei. From here it should follow the N-547 to Santiago, but where the parallel A-54 motorway is incomplete between Palas de Rei and Arzua local roads and parts of the Camino are followed instead. Finally the Camino is followed into Santiago.

Getting from a proposed route on the map to a fully waymarked Eurovélo cycle way is long drawn out process. I have some experience of this. The EV17 is a cycle route following the river Rhone from its source in Switzerland to its mouth on the Mediterranean. In 2014 I was commissioned by my publishers to write a guide book for this route. At that stage the route was in the early stages of development. The Swiss part was complete and waymarked (as R1 not as EV17) while in France a few short parts had been waymarked as Via Rhona but 75% merely existed as proposed lines on a map like the EV3 does now. We intended this to be the first complete guide book to the route. Using the proposed route I cycled the planned EV17 twice and wrote my manuscript. The guide was published in 2016 (Cycling the River Rhone Cycle Route, Cicerone Press ISBN9781852847555). It was not quite the first guide as we were beaten by six months by another book. This was in Italian and had used an even earlier version of the route than I did, so it was not much competition. The book sold well, but within a few months of publication we were getting complaints from readers that the route was wrong, something that continued to grow over the following years. What was happening was that as plans moved ahead to waymark the route and install cycle-friendly architecture, so the route got changed by the relevant local authorities. By the time the route is finished (about 90% now) nearly half of my route description will be wrong. I am preparing a second edition, which was supposed to be researched this summer but has been delayed by coronavirus. This will require a complete re-write.

There are some obvious sections of the proposed EV3 which will change before they are ever waymarked. When the missing sections of the A-12 (not yet started) and A-54 (under construction) motorways are completed some of the more major detours to avoid heavy traffic on the old N- roads will no longer be necessary. But inevitably there will be smaller local changes too. What they will end up with is a road route similar to that in my guide (Cycling the Camino de Santiago, Cicerone Press ISBN9781852849696). This might satisfy those cyclists who prefer road cycling but what smooth tyred cyclists will make of the track between Rabé de las Calzadas and Hontanas is anyone's guess though they will not be happy. It will be no good for the other half who like an off-road challenge. Off-roaders will still want to follow the Camino and good luck to them. The downside is that the existence of a waymarked cycle route may give ammunition to the anti-cyclist commentators on this forum calling for cyclists to be excluded from the Camino as 'they now have their own track'.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
The other 50%, who relish the fun of off-road riding and the challenge of doing this on an historic route, want to follow the trail as much as possible. In this respect they are no different to walkers who also wish to follow the 'authentic' trail and not walk on roads all day.

Not to argue one way or another on cyclists' use of the unpaved paths but just to note that, in many places, the "authentic" trail is underneath the paved roads. It was the routes that people were walking and riding between villages that eventually turned into roads, that were later paved, then broadened and expanded to the highways of today. When those highways became dangerous for pedestrians, other parallel routes were found for pilgrims. But, much as we like to think that we are walking literally on the footsteps of medieval pilgrims, likely those footsteps are buried under tarmac. Leaving aside consideration of the fun of off-road cycling, if you really want to traverse the historic route, you are probably more likely to be there on the roads.
 
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Mike Wells

author of 'Cycling the Camino Frances'
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1995) (2017 x2) (2018) Via de la Plata (1996), Finisterre 2018
Not to argue one way or another on cyclists' use of the unpaved paths but just to note that, in many places, the "authentic" trail is underneath the paved roads. It was the routes that people were walking and riding between villages that eventually turned into roads, that were later paved, then broadened and expanded to the highways of today. When those highways became dangerous for pedestrians, other parallel routes were found for pilgrims. But, much as we like to think that we are walking literally on the footsteps of medieval pilgrims, likely those footsteps are buried under tarmac. Leaving aside consideration of the fun of off-road cycling, if you really want to traverse the historic route, you are probably more likely to be there on the roads.
It may surprise you, but I entirely agree. Indeed I point this fact out in my guide to Cycling the Camino Frances. There are even places where to travel the medieval Camino would mean following the central reservation of the A-12 motorway! The trouble is large numbers (probably the vast majority) of both pedestrian and cycling pilgrims are not aware of the effect of 20th century route improvements. They prefer to believe that by following the current waymarked route they are travelling in the path of the pilgrims of old.

The irony is that a cyclist riding the road route alternative is more likely to be following the 'historic' route than someone following the waymarked 21st century Camino. However, to many cyclists, the fun and challenge offered by 800km of off-road cycling are more important attractions anyway.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
There is quite a lot of off road cycling available in Spain without using a pilgrimage route, if you aren't actually looking for a pilgrimage. Most of it with reasonably priced hotels, and far fewer walkers. I've enjoyed some of it when travelling home.
Not to mention road cycling for those who want large daily distances.
Please don't get me started on my pet theory that there is probably not a single path, track, or road anywhere in Europe that some pilgrim at some time hasn't walked or rode a horse on. Including a few bits built by the Romans and still useable today. I could take you along some of it not three miles from my home. And over the ford across the river, if it comes to that. Not that the official waymarked camino goes along it, that would be far too easy. Oh no, it winds around in half a circle up a couple of unnecessary hills.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
I sympathise but cannot agree with this statement. I am sure you would agree that a cyclist needs to be aware of what is going on around them at all times. The same must apply to pedestrians too. If you do not have awareness, it would be highly dangerous to walk anywhere let alone 800km across Spain. Someone without basic awareness should be safely confined in a home for their own safety. They could wander into traffic, walk over a cliff, trip over the kerb or stand in the path of a cyclist. While this applies everywhere, it is even more important on shared routes such as the Camino.

SHARE THE PATH!

I'm not sure that situational awareness for a walker includes turning around to look behind them every 20 metres..... I actually can't, I have bad knees. Maybe I need wing mirrors on my hat? :oops:

We are going to disagree, most strongly. So I'll leave this thread I think. These debates never end well...... :rolleyes:
 

Peregrinopaul

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
There is quite a lot of off road cycling available in Spain without using a pilgrimage route, if you aren't actually looking for a pilgrimage...
...and if you are, cycle the fabulous Via de la Plata, where pilgrim numbers are low, and interaction between walkers and cyclists is a welcome event in my experience.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Nothing in the statement naming the Camino Frances as a UNESCO World Heritage site mentions
As I wrote in an earlier post, some cyclists prefer the roads and other like the challenge and fun of riding what is now one of Europe's best long distance off-road cycle routes.
It's explicitly a pilgrimage route. Most of us are on foot, some of us are on bikes, and a few have horses or donkeys. The fact that foot pilgrims have to dodge lunatics on mountain bikes indulging in a fun challenge is a sad part of the experience, and is likely behind the pushback you're getting, Mike. I would doubt that any of us who have had close calls or collisions are happy with the thought that you're encouraging people on mountain bikes to go for it. I know I'm not.

I have no quarrel with cylists in general on the way, having once been a triatlete and avid cyclist myself. It's just that the mixed use does not always work out well when the cyclists are not careful. In my experience, solo bicigrinos are generally quite sensitive to foot pilgrims. It's the mountain bikers who can create 'interesting experiences.'

As you have admitted about the authentic way, most of it is now under asphalt. So a cycle pilgrim wanting to follow the ancient camino would be unlikely to come into conflict with walkers on the narrower footpaths along the way.
Barbara has a very good point when she says:
There is quite a lot of off road cycling available in Spain without using a pilgrimage route, if you aren't actually looking for a pilgrimage.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Nothing in the statement naming the Camino Frances as a UNESCO World Heritage site mentions

It's explicitly a pilgrimage route. Most of us are on foot, some of us are on bikes, and a few have horses or donkeys. The fact that foot pilgrims have to dodge lunatics on mountain bikes indulging in a fun challenge is a sad part of the experience, and is likely behind the pushback you're getting, Mike. I would doubt that any of us who have had close calls or collisions are happy with the thought that you're encouraging people on mountain bikes to go for it. I know I'm not.

I have no quarrel with cylists in general on the way, having once been a triatlete and avid cyclist myself. It's just that the mixed use does not always work out well when the cyclists are not careful. In my experience, solo bicigrinos are generally quite sensitive to foot pilgrims. It's the mountain bikers who can create 'interesting experiences.'

As you have admitted about the authentic way, most of it is now under asphalt. So a cycle pilgrim wanting to follow the ancient camino would be unlikely to come into conflict with walkers on the narrower footpaths along the way.
Barbara has a very good point when she says:
10 x times like..... Ooops. I said I’d stay off this thread!
 

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