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New Rules re: Electric Assist Bikes...

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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I came across this in La Voz de Galicia / Santiago:


When I was there this year, staff told me that the rule was that electric ASSIST bicycles do qualify as bicycles, PROVIDED that you MUST pedal for the electric assist to kick in. Per the article, above, this is still the case.

Hope this helps.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I came across this in La Voz de Galicia / Santiago:


When I was there this year, staff told me that the rule was that electric ASSIST bicycles do qualify as bicycles, PROVIDED that you MUST pedal for the electric assist to kick in. Per the article, above, this is still the case.

Hope this helps.
Tom, in the article (translated by Chrome) I read the portion quoted below as part of the article. I am wondering if that written caveat is part of your understanding. . that ebikes are only to be used by those with an informity or mobility issue? This is translated by Chrome from the Spanish.

"...the Pilgrim's Office they clarified yesterday that the electric bike is already among the means of transport suitable for obtaining the Compost[ela]. Although only as an exception for people who have some type of disability."
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
There was an article on the El Pais website several days ago. I think it is related to the quoted article from La Voz de Galicia. It made me wonder whether Tomás Sánchez from Bicigrino has tried to push the issue or at least have it clarified and get an official statement.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
I came across this in La Voz de Galicia / Santiago:


When I was there this year, staff told me that the rule was that electric ASSIST bicycles do qualify as bicycles, PROVIDED that you MUST pedal for the electric assist to kick in. Per the article, above, this is still the case.

Hope this helps.


I do hope this can be clarified explicitly as it could well be a slippery slope.

Clearly some form of powered assistance should be permitted for wheelchair users. They deserve a medal the size of a bin-lid for even contemplating the journey.

Extending that dispensation to e-bikes initially sounds like a logical step - but how is the line drawn at ‘some kind of disability’?

Parking permits for those with qualifying disabilities (I’m truly sorry if that is an inappropriate term - it’s ignorance not disrespect if so) in the UK can now extend in certain circumstances to non-apparent and non-physical conditions. It’s a very difficult subject.

I thoroughly support equality of access to opportunity - who could not? But I’ve never subscribed to the ‘all must have prizes’ concept.

I’m so pleased it’s not my decision.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I do hope this can be clarified explicitly as it could well be a slippery slope.

Clearly some form of powered assistance should be permitted for wheelchair users. They deserve a medal the size of a bin-lid for even contemplating the journey.

Extending that dispensation to e-bikes initially sounds like a logical step - but how is the line drawn at ‘some kind of disability’?

Parking permits for those with qualifying disabilities (I’m truly sorry if that is an inappropriate term - it’s ignorance not disrespect if so) in the UK can now extend in certain circumstances to non-apparent and non-physical conditions. It’s a very difficult subject.

I thoroughly support equality of access to opportunity - who could not? But I’ve never subscribed to the ‘all must have prizes’ concept.

I’m so pleased it’s not my decision.
:) I parsed out a single section of text, but within the article the context specifies examples of 'physical' disabilities and mobility issues. I think that is how it will be interpreted.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
My own somewhat jaded opinion on all of this is that at some point the rules are going to converge and break down, but really, who cares! What about roller blades? What about being carried in a sedan chair?

If I want to get a compostela, or a distance certificate, or a certificate of completion, how does that have any impact on the value of your compostela, your distance certificate, or your certificate of completion? This is all about extrinsic validation, but it seems to me that the real value of the camino is that it is all about the internal goings on. Camino Lesson Number 1 — the camino is between you and your god/goddess/spirit, and no one can take the value of that relationship away from you. And no certificate can give you that relationship.
 

Bradypus

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Ideally I would abolish the 100/200km rule altogether. But I would probably settle for having a set of rules where the rationale behind them is publicly stated and the rules themselves are consistent with that rationale and also consistently applied. How difficult would it be for the cathedral to make a definitive ruling on the matter of electric bikes and update the pilgrim office website to state the decided position? And at the same time they could also add the fairly recent rule requiring pilgrims to walk/ride their final 100km only on an officially recognised route - something which is not mentioned at all on the website but appears as a mandatory condition only on the most recent credencials. Is it reasonable to expect people to comply with the conditions for receiving a Compostela if you do not tell them what they are in clear and readily accessible terms?
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
For me this "obtaining Compostela" issue (and rules about it) is so overblown and overrated. Either the Cathedral do something serious about controling it (like tracing your steps and checking at certain check-points) or just give that piece of paper out to anybody that shows up. I mean they do try to push some rules here but their control of it is almost non-existent. Except those silly 2 sellos/day on the last 100km. Come on, even elementary school kids could easily fake that.

For me the Compostela never was important (although I do have one, and the Franciscan one too) but in my eyes it's less and less important and actually completely irrelevant for a pilgrim. Or a walker. Or a tourigrino. Or a perrogrino. Or a burrogrino. Or a whoeverXYZgrino...

Buen Camino :)
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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My own somewhat jaded opinion on all of this is that at some point the rules are going to converge and break down, but really, who cares! What about roller blades? What about being carried in a sedan chair?

If I want to get a compostela, or a distance certificate, or a certificate of completion, how does that have any impact on the value of your compostela, your distance certificate, or your certificate of completion? This is all about extrinsic validation, but it seems to me that the real value of the camino is that it is all about the internal goings on. Camino Lesson Number 1 — the camino is between you and your god/goddess/spirit, and no one can take the value of that relationship away from you. And no certificate can give you that relationship.

BTW Roller blades are considered walking as you must propel yourself. This has been done and accepted.

Still waiting for the inevitable pogo stick Pilgrim...LOL
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
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As the qualifying methods to be eligible for a Compostela expand further and further, my notion of simply eliminating the documents entirely starts to make sense. For those who did not see it in other threads, my idea is:

1. The pilgrim office interview is to validate the credencial. Nothing changes in that regard,
2. If accepted, the same two sellos are affixed to the credencial, on the last page of sellos to indicate that you made it to the Cathedral, and on the inside front cover to signify that the credencial is closed, and
3. A pre-printed, passport-sized Compostela card containing the Latin greeting and prayer, but NO PERSONALIZATION, would affixed or placed in the credencial...

That is IT. This reduces contact time per Pilgrim to a couple of minutes, instead of the current median of about 10 minutes per person.

The Cathedral would license selected commercial vendors to issue ceremonial compostelas and Distance Certificates, dog certificates, ferret certificates...whatever... Bulk supplies of Compostelas only could only be obtained from the Cathedral / Pilgrim Office. The Cathedral gets a small per document fee, in return for the official license.

The commercial vendor could handle the document sale process according to what the clientele dictates. Costs would be whatever they needed to be. The Cathedral is OUT of this.

- The pilgrims win by vastly reduced waiting times.
- The local economy benefits by additional revenue sources.
- The pilgrim office staff benefit by being able to handle vastly increases arrival volumes,
- The Cathedral benefits by taking a small royalty, in return for outsourcing the certification process.

Validation of a claim to eligibility for Cathedral approval remains with the Cathedral via the Pilgrim Office. But all the commercial, down-stream stuff is outsourced. Ostensibly, the vendors could not issue a personalized Compostela unless a customer showed an approved credencial.

At least that is MY PERSONAL THREE cents worth.

It will NEVER happen. But, I am thinking of preparing a white-paper, in Spanish to float this alternative when I am there next year.

They must come up with a better way to do things. This applies both to dealing with locomotive methods to get to Santiago, and to counter or make redundant current and emerging methods of cheating the current system.

Hope this helps the dialog.
 
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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)
They must come up with a better way to do things.
I'm going to be the contrarian here and just say, "They do? Why?" They don't have to do anything.
So what if it's inefficient and inconvenient and chaotic? It's also not mandatory. If someone can't be bothered with what they perceive as hassle, they can forgo the compostela. And if people really want to cheat that's between them and their God - or karma.
It will NEVER happen. But, I am thinking of preparing a white-paper, in Spanish to float this alternative when I am there next year.
I hope not. As I said on the other thread, and please don't take this personally @t2andreo , these ideas...just no thanks. I think it would be a great pity if the compostela became just another commodity and a commercial process-driven venture, done by machine and involving tourist ventures outside the Pilgrim's office.

I am not even Catholic, but still find (even after a number of caminos) that the closing of my crediencial, by a person in the Pilgrim's office, is a strangely moving thing. And if I get a certificate, it means something in part because of the human interaction that happens at the desk and even while waiting in the queue - and because of the admittedly disjunct tradition that came before what we do now.

It's not that money has never changed hands and that pilgrimage has never been cheapened in this way. It was, which is one reason for the reformation. But that's another topic and out of bounds.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
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I totally get and respect your observations and opinion. I take none of what you said personally. We can always disagree and still be good friends, which I believe we are.

Most all is what I said was to stimulate discussion... I think it did.

That said and done, the current process, and outputs / products is going to come under severe stress with the coming 2021 Holy Year.

Throwing more bodies at the current, labor intensive process, is not the answer. Longer hours will not help either.

Something in the process has to be streamlined to accelerate the process. Or, the process must be changed. I cannot see any alternative.

Automation of some things might help. The new queuing system is a step in the right direction.

But as I told both pilgrim office and Cathedral management in August, the new queuing system is but one brick. They will need more bricks to build a wall (proverbially speaking).

Discussion here, among my fellow Camino addicts, all sincere people, is a good way to test ideas.

I understand the aversion to too much automation and a strong preference for increased human contact. But, I think this is an analog of the “you can have it good, fast, or cheap...pick two....” Any solution will of necessity be a compromise. It will not be possible to please everyone.

I sincerely hope they sort it out in time...
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
For me this "obtaining Compostela" issue (and rules about it) is so overblown and overrated.
I agree. It's my impression that the Cathedral is saddled with this Compostela business now as it has developed in recent decades but doesn't really take such an interest in it. They can't or won't drop it, for obvious reasons, and they can't make it fairer or control it better for financial reasons. They have better things to do with their human resources and other resources. The link to El Pais that I posted earlier was illuminating when the author quoted some information that he was told by volunteers of the Pilgrims Office in connection with whether or how the Pilgrims Office grants Compostelas to e-bike riders and then added as a remark to readers: "I don't believe what they told me". 🙂
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
My own somewhat jaded opinion on all of this is that at some point the rules are going to converge and break down, but really, who cares! What about roller blades? What about being carried in a sedan chair?

If I want to get a compostela, or a distance certificate, or a certificate of completion, how does that have any impact on the value of your compostela, your distance certificate, or your certificate of completion? This is all about extrinsic validation, but it seems to me that the real value of the camino is that it is all about the internal goings on. Camino Lesson Number 1 — the camino is between you and your god/goddess/spirit, and no one can take the value of that relationship away from you. And no certificate can give you that relationship.
“Your Camino is yours” personally I wish there was a bell on every bike and a speed governor on wheeled vehicles.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Tom, in the article (translated by Chrome) I read the portion quoted below as part of the article. I am wondering if that written caveat is part of your understanding. . that ebikes are only to be used by those with an informity or mobility issue? This is translated by Chrome from the Spanish.

"...the Pilgrim's Office they clarified yesterday that the electric bike is already among the means of transport suitable for obtaining the Compost[ela]. Although only as an exception for people who have some type of disability."
As it should be. There are more than enough bicycles, let alone electric bikes!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
As regards the electric assist bicycle issue, I suspect something was lost in translation in the La Voz article. Here is my “official” understanding on this issue.

Electric assist bikes were first seen at the Pilgrim Office last year (2018). I was told then, as I was again this year (2019), that these bikes are simply considered bicycles AS LONG AS YOU ARE REQUIRED TO PEDAL.

In my review of the technology, nearly 100% of all of these bikes require you to apply at least minimal pedal power to allow the assist motor to engage. True, you can coast down a slope. But, eventually, you MUST PEDAL.

Any e-bike that permitted you to drive as though it was a petrol powered scooter, etc. was not allowed, as no pedaling was required. That is still the rule, regardless of what the article might infer.

The other thing I discovered in speaking to the security guys, is that there is virtually no way to sort the traditional cyclists out from those riding electric assist mountain bikes or city bikes. They pointed out, correctly in my view, that more and more e-bike makers are integrating the battery and motor to near-conventional bicycle frames.

The result is increasingly difficult to spot. Clearly, the security guys do not want this chore. To do it properly, a staff person or volunteer would have to be assigned to inspect and verify every bicycle to eliminate those that did not comply.

I certainly do not want that job. YOU try disqualifying a peloton of Italian bikers ...nope, not me...

So, the rule for the past two-years is that if a pilgrim says they cycled, the credencial is validated against the 200 km / minimum 2 sellos daily rule. End of discussion...

I think they are leaving sleeping dogs lay.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
The result is increasingly difficult to spot. Clearly, the security guys do not want this chore. To do it properly, a staff person or volunteer would have to be assigned to inspect and verify every bicycle to eliminate those that did not comply.

I certainly do not want that job. YOU try disqualifying a peloton of Italian bikers ...nope, not me...
New business opportunity here. Buy old bikes and rent them out to compostela seekers. :(
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues '15, '16, & '19
Via Francigena '17
Frances '18
Muxia & Finisterre '18
Tahoe Rim Trail '19
“Your Camino is yours” personally I wish there was a bell on every bike and a speed governor on wheeled vehicles.
An E-Bike, which can go as fast as 30 km/h, ridden by an inexperienced and/or inconsiderate rider will result in collisions. E-Bikes have a place in this world but not on walking trails. Additionally, there is the risk of fires from the lithium battery.

Yeah, a bell and governor would be nice at a minimum. My future strategy is simply to go off-season SJPP to Muxia, skip the Sarria to SdC leg (unfortunate), carry my 7 KG, reservations unnecessary, skip the compostela, and have a great time.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
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Or, you could do the right thing and just stay off shared paths to the maximum extent. There is a complete, parallel road route to Santiago. There are even guide books for this.

In fact, and I have stated this before, much of the current N-120 road is paved on top of the original cart tracks that were the original Camino Frances. In most countries roads developed on top of older paths, trails and cart roads.

The current off-road paths and tracks of most Camino routes are mostly modern inventions, intended to keep pedestrian pilgrims off the roads used by cars and trucks. On the Frances, they are very near, often parallel, and sometimes in sight of the N-120. There is a reason for that.

So, if you ride your bicycle, e-bike, whatever, on the shoulder of the N-120, you are actually, factually, and historically closer to the original track of the Camino than if you took the chance of a confrontation with walking pilgrims. Just sayin...
 
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