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wendy barratt

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2023 June.
Hi I was wanting to cycle From Pamplona to Estella and return to Pamplona along the path. Is it possible or is the Camino only one way traffic.
 
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Going with the flow is OK but you might get a few comments about sharing the "path" with walkers. These comments should not be made as there is no right for one group to have preference over another - but it will happen.

Going in "reverse" will just increase the comments, though the caveat will still apply.

If you want to avoid these comments, you could cycle the the Pamplona - Estella Cartera which runs a bit north of the official route or the Eurovelo 3 which is part official / part road.

I have to confess I have cycled that part before I discovered the Eurovelo. It's not much fun cycling along some of the muddy parts walkers have to use or the steep rocky part down from the Alto del Perdon.

 
Hi I was wanting to cycle From Pamplona to Estella and return to Pamplona along the path. Is it possible or is the Camino only one way traffic.
I agree with @Corned Beef. And I would add that going in the opposite direction increases greatly the frequency of your interaction with walkers. It becomes very tiresome for all concerned when they have to get out of your way. I’d recommend doing it the other way around.
 
The Camino path between Estella and Pamplona includes Alto de Perdon. It isn't much fun going up and then down on foot so I can't imagine it would be fun or easy on a bike. Very rocky on the Estella facing side...
 
This is the path looking down from the Alto del Perdón on the south side

1667395301744.png

Here's a profile view closer to the top

1667395373731.png

And this is the Google Earth satellite view (no vertical scale exaggeration)

1667395670086.png

And you intend to cycle UP that?

¡Buena suerte!
 
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Hi Wendy, welcome to the wonderful world of peregrinos vs bicigrinos. Having ridden Caminos in either direction I would suggest that there are some advantages to riding against the tide, reasons being;

* The peregrinos see you coming, can see which side of the trail you're on, can decide early how to move (or not) out of your way.
* You, the rider, are less reliant on tinging your bell behind a peregrino and startling them in to random motion.
* At times I found it frustrating riding in the "correct" direction when the camino was busy, it slows you down too much.

Go around the Alto del Perdón unless you're a very good MTB rider or riding an eMTB, it is possible to ride down the south side but up....?? Stayed off the camino on the north side so don't know that part of the route. Enjoy the ride whichever way you go. Richard
 
If you want to cycle from Pamplona to Estella, and back again, cycle on the EuroVelo #3 the "Pilgrims Route". Leave the hiking route for the hikers!!
Contrary to what "Corned Beef" has stated the Camino is a hiking trail and should remain so except where it is wide enough to accommodate both hikers and bicyclists and it is so designated. "Corned Beef" stated that there is "no right for one group to have preference over another" If that is the case then should motorized vehicles have a right to be on the trail? Well "no" one might respond, however aren't electric bikes motorized? If they are allowed (I've encountered many electric bikes on the trail) why not scooters and motorcycles? Where do you draw the line?
Two more points. 1) Hiking trails were built for hikers and when bikes start using them they can erode them in ways that hikers can't, "they don't tread softly!!". 2) Getting out of the way of bikes on a narrow hiking path can be awkward and inconvenient.
 
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Hi,

Having done the Via Podiensis with a mountain bike and the round trip on the Camino Frances, I can say that I have never encountered any problems cohabiting with walkers. Just follow a few simple rules: a bell is essential so as not to surprise the pilgrims. The Camino is not a race, it is important not to force the passage when you are going faster than a pedestrian. I have, in the vast majority of cases, been greeted by smiles from pedestrians. The only remarks I had to make were to tell me, in a benevolent way, that I was in the wrong direction on my return from Santiago to France. For an experienced cyclist, a very large part of the Camino Francès is doable with a mountain bike. The descent from the Alto del perdon is difficult but I did it. It's true, I walked quite a bit beside the bike, but I didn't know how difficult this descent is until I started it. On the way back, I took the road to go up to the pass. It all depends on your level of cyclist and your morale, knowing that you will have to add the weight of the luggage, your speed will sometimes be hardly faster than that of a pedestrian!

Regarding the sharing of the path between bicycles and pedestrians, it is in my opinion a non-issue, given the few bicycles circulating on the path. Of course, opinions will differ and some will find the path overrun with bikes, but frankly I saw very few of them. I think it's important to give everyone the choice. Having done 3 Caminos by bike did not prevent me from doing two more on foot, both experiences are fantastic.
The notion of sharing the path seems obvious to me, I only go through regions of France and Spain, and do not feel the right to decide who has the right or not to take the path. If the local populations decide to prohibit certain portions of the path to bicycles, I would comply with it without problems. Today there are only tips for safety or feasibility reasons. For example, the climb to O'cebreiro is simply unimaginable by bike going towards Santiago, but doable in the return direction for an enlightened practitioner. Considering the slope and adding the weight of the luggage, the descent will in any case be done at an extremely low speed, almost at the speed of a pedestrian, and will not pose any safety problem for walkers.
 
Hi,

Having done the Via Podiensis with a mountain bike and the round trip on the Camino Frances, I can say that I have never encountered any problems cohabiting with walkers. Just follow a few simple rules: a bell is essential so as not to surprise the pilgrims. The Camino is not a race, it is important not to force the passage when you are going faster than a pedestrian. I have, in the vast majority of cases, been greeted by smiles from pedestrians. The only remarks I had to make were to tell me, in a benevolent way, that I was in the wrong direction on my return from Santiago to France. For an experienced cyclist, a very large part of the Camino Francès is doable with a mountain bike. The descent from the Alto del perdon is difficult but I did it. It's true, I walked quite a bit beside the bike, but I didn't know how difficult this descent is until I started it. On the way back, I took the road to go up to the pass. It all depends on your level of cyclist and your morale, knowing that you will have to add the weight of the luggage, your speed will sometimes be hardly faster than that of a pedestrian!

Regarding the sharing of the path between bicycles and pedestrians, it is in my opinion a non-issue, given the few bicycles circulating on the path. Of course, opinions will differ and some will find the path overrun with bikes, but frankly I saw very few of them. I think it's important to give everyone the choice. Having done 3 Caminos by bike did not prevent me from doing two more on foot, both experiences are fantastic.
The notion of sharing the path seems obvious to me, I only go through regions of France and Spain, and do not feel the right to decide who has the right or not to take the path. If the local populations decide to prohibit certain portions of the path to bicycles, I would comply with it without problems. Today there are only tips for safety or feasibility reasons. For example, the climb to O'cebreiro is simply unimaginable by bike going towards Santiago, but doable in the return direction for an enlightened practitioner. Considering the slope and adding the weight of the luggage, the descent will in any case be done at an extremely low speed, almost at the speed of a pedestrian, and will not pose any safety problem for walkers.
As a biker you don't have time to encounter anyone as your moving too fast so of course you will not have any issues cohabiting with walkers, however, many walkers have issues cohabiting with bikers!! As a biker, bike the Camino using the EuroVelo #3, The Pilgrams Route.

You believe that sharing the path is obvious to you. Well on narrow hiking trails sharing the trail is an issue and bikers should refrain from using them. Please consider the points below!
a) The Camino for walkers was built for walkers, not bikes and they are often maintained by hikers. There is a Camino for bikes. Use it!!!
b) Bikes do not "tread softly". In other words, their impact on trial erosion can be significant which increases the work and the cost needed to maintain them. Think what happens when you have to brake suddenly going down a hill!!! When you have to brake when the trail is muddy!!
c) As a hiker when a bike approaches bikers expect me to immediately step aside as bikers don't want to get off their bikes and wait. That might mean I have to remove myself from the trail and step into the wet underbrush, the stinging needles or into a spot where someone recently peed, or heaven forbid, something worse!

You state that "no has the right to decide who can or cannot take the path". Let's follow that statement. It appears obvious that you believe bikes have a right to use hiking trails. Are Electric bikes O.K.? According to your reasoning, yes!! How about motorcycles? Again, according to you reasoning, yes, "as no one has the right to decide who can or cannot take the path"! Electric cars? Gas powered cars? I'm sure you get the idea!!

One last point! As electric bikes gain in popularity more and more individuals, many, weekend warriors who rarely biked in the past, will use the Camino. They already are. (I've run into many of them both in France and in Spain.) There is no doubt that these bikers will continue to do considerable damage to the trails as well as interrupt the solitude many walkers are seeking! Is that what we want?

Please note:
I am also a biker. When I'm not hiking or walking on the Camino, I bike up to 250 kms. per week.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Hi I was wanting to cycle From Pamplona to Estella and return to Pamplona along the path. Is it possible or is the Camino only one way traffic.
As a bike rider can you recommend a well utilized bike trail that can be hiked in the opposite direction?
 
They are public paths/roads and for the most part - bicycles and pedestrians were both on them. Sometimes there were separate paths for bicycles. I do recommend you stay off the more narrow paths where you can, and give pedestrians a wide path when you can. But nowhere did I see any trail marked "one way". Most of the foot and cycling traffic will be heading west - towards Santiago. But there were quite often locals walking/cycling the opposite direction. And occasionally - the hiker or pilgrim going in reverse.
 
Regarding the sharing of the path between bicycles and pedestrians, it is in my opinion a non-issue, given the few bicycles circulating on the path.
For considerate cyclists like yourself - I would concur. Unfortunately there are also plenty of less considerate cyclists that make it an issue... making pedestrians feel unsafe sharing the trail. I would say near Pamplona on my Camino Frances is where I dealt with the most cyclists - many of whom flew past giving little warning and little space.

Of course this goes both ways - pedestrians should also stay alert, curteous, and when possible - let bicycles safely pass.
 
As a biker you don't have time to encounter anyone as your moving too fast so of course you will not have any issues cohabiting with walkers, however, many walkers have issues cohabiting with bikers!! As a biker, bike the Camino using the EuroVelo #3, The Pilgrams Route.

You believe that sharing the path is obvious to you. Well on narrow hiking trails sharing the trail is an issue and bikers should refrain from using them. Please consider the points below!
a) The Camino for walkers was built for walkers, not bikes and they are often maintained by hikers. There is a Camino for bikes. Use it!!!
b) Bikes do not "tread softly". In other words, their impact on trial erosion can be significant which increases the work and the cost needed to maintain them. Think what happens when you have to brake suddenly going down a hill!!! When you have to brake when the trail is muddy!!
c) As a hiker when a bike approaches bikers expect me to immediately step aside as bikers don't want to get off their bikes and wait. That might mean I have to remove myself from the trail and step into the wet underbrush, the stinging needles or into a spot where someone recently peed, or heaven forbid, something worse!

You state that "no has the right to decide who can or cannot take the path". Let's follow that statement. It appears obvious that you believe bikes have a right to use hiking trails. Are Electric bikes O.K.? According to your reasoning, yes!! How about motorcycles? Again, according to you reasoning, yes, "as no one has the right to decide who can or cannot take the path"! Electric cars? Gas powered cars? I'm sure you get the idea!!

One last point! As electric bikes gain in popularity more and more individuals, many, weekend warriors who rarely biked in the past, will use the Camino. They already are. (I've run into many of them both in France and in Spain.) There is no doubt that these bikers will continue to do considerable damage to the trails as well as interrupt the solitude many walkers are seeking! Is that what we want?

Please note:
I am also a biker. When I'm not hiking or walking on the Camino, I bike up to 250 kms. per week.
Hi
First of all, I must say that I am impressed, you drive 250 km per week, so 13,000 km per year! Personally, I don't even cover that distance by car, so congratulations!

You must live in a country where the weather is favorable to be able to ride that often! What luck !


You don't seem to be a specialist on the path since you give a certain amount of advice in an authoritarian way, which is completely contrary to the spirit of sharing and conviviality that reigns there.

Some people contradict you in your words and at least make assumptions without asserting as you do on a whole bunch of subjects. You can find some disrespectful cyclists, but also pilgrims, given the rubbish that can sometimes be seen or even displays asking pilgrims to bypass the village because of the noise caused by the walking sticks! I even saw a place where the villagers were begging pilgrims to use the toilets! You also seem to live on the way since you decide to exclude a category of pilgrims, I am sure that if you did not live there you would not go against the choice of certain localities which decide to facilitate access to bicycles as on the Roman bridge of Cirauqui. A sign prohibiting access would have cost much less! Be aware that before the site was upgraded, we carried the bikes up the climb after the bridge out of respect for the stone steps. I don't think I'm the only one who respects these kinds of places.

Regarding the damage caused by bicycles: I do not find myself in your words. Of course, every act has an ecological impact, that of the pilgrimage is very strong, on foot or by bike. A massive arrival of pilgrims also has a strong economic impact, the balance between the two is not easy to find! It's true, a trace of braking may seem scandalous to you, others will find that these thousands? Million? tons of Co2 produced by planes transporting pilgrims are also a scandal for the planet.

I do not allow myself to give lessons, but I try to put things in their place according to their impact.

You tell us that some cyclists, Spanish or French, use the paths for sports. In this case, I try to put myself in their shoes. I don't know where you live, but would you accept being denied access to part of the place where you live so that people who sometimes come from the other side of the planet tell you what to do at home?
I repeat, I would be the first to respect a ban. The management of the roads and the maintenance is done by associations and communities. We only take them and I never said as you quote me "no one has the right to decide who has the right to take the path or not", but rather "I do not feel entitled to decide who has the right or not to use the path".
You don't have to give yourself that right either. On the other hand, I would carefully read your opinion on this subject if you are not speaking on your own behalf but as the representative of a community active in the management of the path.

I did not say either that all types of vehicles should be authorized. If I were like you in the extremes I would ask you if we should also ban agricultural machinery (kidding!) which of course creates erosion on the roads?
I am not for the use of electric bikes on the Camino, I think the speed of this type of bike is not suitable. I climbed the Col de Lepoeder often slower than pedestrians with my classic bike, with an electric bike there is no interest for me in traveling the path. For me the path is earned, but if when I will be very old, if it can allow me to walk or ride part of the path again, I would be delighted! On the other hand, I agree with your opinion against the electric bike when the pilgrims are physically able to do otherwise. But once again, I don't give myself the right to decide for the locals. The day I feel that I no longer have my place on the path, I will show humility and I will go to other places.
Prohibiting is often complicated, where should we stop? what does the pilgrim think when he arrives at a full hostel, he who took longer than the others because he was carrying his luggage? Should we ban the carrying of luggage for pilgrims in order to keep the authentic side? I carry my luggage, on foot or by bike, but I understand that some pilgrims need help and I do not give myself the right to decide for them

I don't think I've ever met you on the way because I haven't seen any pilgrim throwing themselves into the urine or into the wet underbrush, the stinging needles on my arrival as you write to us! I really like your humor!
As I told you in my previous message, and even if you decided that it was not possible, I met pilgrims, they had one thing in common, that of being delighted to be there! The exchanges were pleasant and friendly. Maybe it's because grumpy pilgrims don't talk much when they're on the way?
Here, I wanted to respond to your message and I do not wish to continue with you this discussion which opposes as usual the real pilgrims like you, to all these false pilgrims like me.
We may one day have the chance to chat over a drink together on the way, in the meantime, I wish you Buen Camino!
 
right for one group to have preference over another
opinions will differ
Please read Rule #1 and take it to heart. It means that we should not engage in personal "attacks" or snarky debate.

If you really want to continue this argument (which has been conducted many times already on this forum) please take it to private Conversation. Otherwise, just go for a walk or a bike ride - your choice, any direction! :cool:
 
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For considerate cyclists like yourself - I would concur. Unfortunately there are also plenty of less considerate cyclists that make it an issue... making pedestrians feel unsafe sharing the trail. I would say near Pamplona on my Camino Frances is where I dealt with the most cyclists - many of whom flew past giving little warning and little space.

Of course this goes both ways - pedestrians should also stay alert, curteous, and when possible - let bicycles safely pass.
I posted this quite awhile ago on another thread from my personal experience and Jeanine's post has reminded me of it...
"On my way up to Alto del Perdon, a speeding bicyclist rounded a corner in the opposite direction above me that had a blind curve. I jumped out of the way just in time, but when he saw me he swerved at high speed going downhill, hit a rock, thrown from his bike, and had a very nasty fall below, moaning and just laying there; not getting up. Thankfully a Spanish speaking local from the area came to his rescue and removing his phone from his pocket, dialed his home for help so I hoped he was well taken care of.
I did feel sorry for his apparent injury, but felt it was his own fault."
 
Please read Rule #1 and take it to heart. It means that we should not engage in personal "attacks" or snarky debate.

If you really want to continue this argument (which has been conducted many times already on this forum) please take it to private Conversation. Otherwise, just go for a walk or a bike ride - your choice, any direction! :cool:

Agreed!!! I shouldn't make personnel attacks and I apologize for that.
With that said I would like to repeat, unequivocally, that bikes and hikers (walkers) should use separate trails (except when there is room for both of them). Those individuals that want to bike the Camino can use the EuroVelo #3, the pilgrims route. Why is this even discussed?
 
What people tend to forget is that these are local trails used by locals at the weekends to bike in their own country, can you imagine going to another country and telling the locals that they shouldn't be on the trails because they are for walking only.
I have encountered bikes, quads bikes, farm machinery and even cars on some parts of the Frances, what did we do..... we got on with it. Enjoy your own Camino and stop worrying about how others should do theirs.
This subject keeps coming up every few months along with the bells/no bells issue and at this stage it's getting tedious.
 
You believe that sharing the path is obvious to you. Well on narrow hiking trails sharing the trail is an issue and bikers should refrain from using them. Please consider the points below!
a) The Camino for walkers was built for walkers, not bikes and they are often maintained by hikers. There is a Camino for bikes. Use it!!!
I don't know - I have to disagree with statement A. Why? The Camino wasn't "BUILT" for walkers. The Camino is a pilgrimage that follows many roads (paved and dirt and gravel) paths. The roads and paths weren't "BUILT" for the Camino. The Camino followed many already existing roads and paths. I am sure some were rerouted and some paths were created for the purpose of the pilgrimage - but for the most part - these roads and paths exist for cars, bikes, and pedestrians alike. Take big cities for example - there are markers marking the path all through cities... were those roads created for pilgrims? Should cars and bicycles be removed from them because they were designated part of the Camino route? Nope.

Where there is signage indicating that a path is for pedestrians only - then yes - a bicycle should not be on a pedestrian path and should follow a path designated for cyclists. But in many places - there is nothing prohibiting a bicycle from sharing the path with Pedestrians. But personally - I didn't see much signage saying no bicycles on the Frances, the first half of the Norte, OR the Primitivo.

And as someone else said - these roads and paths do not just consist of pilgrims. Local residents, local businesses, and other tourists share these roads and paths. I mentioned bicycles near Pamplona as being where I had the most issues with safety concerns. The majority of those cyclists appeared to be locals either on holiday or cycling for their workout. Do I,. as a pilgrim, have more right to walk these paths than the locals who chose to cycle there? I don't think so.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.

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