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MelissaSue67

New Member
Past OR future Camino
I plan to start my walk on 23 September (2016). Will be travelling from Paris by train to SJPP. Planning to spend about 8 days in Paris.
Just wondering if there are any group cycling tours starting from pamplona around 1 Oct 2016? I will be walking from SJDP on 23 September, but would like to cycle from Pamplona. I am relatively new at long distance cycling, have just hit 1300 kms in 3 months with my first bike, in training for this trip. I havent had to do much maintenance on my bike, so I am a bit anxious about maintaining or fixing a bike on my own. I have never done anything like this before, so any information, advice and guidance would be much appreciated.
 
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Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Past OR future Camino
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
I mountain biked from SJPDP to Muxia...it may be easier to start biking from SJPDP if you want to bring your own bike...I met several bikers that bought bikes in Pamplona after hiking from SJPDP...also I had my mountain bike professional tuned before leaving with all new tires, tubes, brakes and spare parts...in a 1,000 km I only had to adjust my seat and back brakes once although I had my bike tuned again when I returned home...there are bike shops along the Camino but most are in real cities...if you use your own bike there is a service to transport your bike box from SJPDP to Santiago...and if you buy a bike there is a bike shop that will pack your bike cheap for the flight home if you decide that you don't want to sell it or donate it to the church...remember if you are not in Olympic physical condition that you will be pushing your bike up most of the hills...but the downhill makes up for it...also I did not ride a bike for ten-years before my 1,000 km Camino and I made it from SJPDP to Muxia.
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
Go for it! I cycled several Caminos with very little training before hand, you just go at the speed that's right for you. You will probably meet lots of other cycling pilgrims too - so any problems you can ask. Also there are bike shops in most towns - sometimes small ones in the back streets. But i always found one when needed - the Spanish are keen cyclists - you will see phalanxes of lycra-clad sporty ones everywhere! They are very friendly too - I (overweight, middle-aged, overladen) got cheered to the top of Mt Jezkibel by them! (I pushed most of the way - but rode the last mile - which the sporty ones knew cos they'd been up and down the mountain several times each - shouting encouragement at me!)
 

MelissaSue67

New Member
Past OR future Camino
I plan to start my walk on 23 September (2016). Will be travelling from Paris by train to SJPP. Planning to spend about 8 days in Paris.
Thanks so much for posting your experiences. I feel a little bit relieved now. I am intending on booking a self guided cycling tour from Pamplona, where my accommodation, bike hire, backpack transfer is included. I am still feeling a little anxious about a few things, with my main concern being that we drive on the opposite side of the road, that is a huge concern of mine, would hate to cause an accident. The closer it gets to start booking my flights, accommodation the more fearful I get. I've been planning this for the past two and a half years, and now it's starting to get very daunting.
 
Past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
From the people I spoke to it is possible to hire a bike and start in Pamplona - but the climb up the Alto del Perdon is a bloody hard way to start your camino (imho). Bike maintenance is an issue - you need to know how to at least repair a puncture, or replace a new tube so that you can stay on the road. Spain is a very bike friendly country - the cars and truck drivers will give you a clear space when they overtake - so you will find a bike repair shop in virtually all major towns. If your Spanish is not very good - at least learn the names of the parts of your bike in Spanish so you can tell the mechanic which part needs repair. Again from what I read the good hire places give you at least one spare tube and a puncture repair kit and I think a pump.
The section from Pamplona to Burgos is the least "bike friendly" section of the ride - if you intend to follow the trail that the walkers use. In some places ( say Villafranca Montes de Oca to Orbaneja ) it would be better to find an alternative route (again from my experiences). Your training - 1300 km is going to stand you in good stead, however its your ability to manage the really rough/tough stages - in some cases really "off-road" that are the issue. Hope you find this helpful, good luck!
 
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MelissaSue67

New Member
Past OR future Camino
I plan to start my walk on 23 September (2016). Will be travelling from Paris by train to SJPP. Planning to spend about 8 days in Paris.
Hello Saint Mike, thanks so much for your valuable information. About three months before I leave I am going to download a learn Spanish audio to play on my phone, listening through headphones, and learn Spanish as I go about my days up until I leave. I did this before I went to Egypt, which helped me a little, but not much. I don't have much experience with bike maintenance. I did put new tyres and tubes on my $50 bike I bought 3 months ago, and haven't had an issue with them since, and I'm now up to 1400 kms. I think I might just wing it over there, as you said there is quite a few bike repair shops, and if I have to walk my bike a few kilometres that will be fine. I am nervous about riding on the trails, but then I'm nervous about riding on the road in a foreign country. Actually the more I read the higher my fear levels go. Did you have to do much repairing on your bike on your journey? I have so many questions to ask and so little time this morning. Thanks so much for you advice, I really appreciate it, and if you don't mind would it be possible to message you direct with any concerns I may have? Have a great day.
 

hecate105

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
'09 Portuguese Estellas '14 Aurelia '16 St Davids '17 Via Augusta/V dl P. '18/'19 Michael Mary Way
Just remember that you can stop, slow down, get off your bike - at any time. I on occasion felt a bit flustered (usually because I was slightly lost - but I was cycling the 'Norte' backwards...!) and I would just pull over somewhere, have a drink, a sit down - and then re-appraise the situation. On the 'Frances' there are far more pilgrims so it is unlikely you will ever be totally 'alone'. If you need help someone will happen along. A chat with a fellow pilgrim often sorts out any anxieties and then off you go again. It's like doing a long-distance bike-ride - but with a vast support team! It is also natural to worry and fret just before you undertake something like this. I was a total wreck before-hand - but then I had a blast and cannot wait to go again...
Just take a deep breathe - and off you go!
 

Cambridge Pilgrim

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Part walked / part cycled September 2014 SJPdP to SdC
Walked SJPdP to SdC summer 2017
Just wondering if there are any group cycling tours starting from pamplona around 1 Oct 2016? I will be walking from SJDP on 23 September, but would like to cycle from Pamplona. I am relatively new at long distance cycling, have just hit 1300 kms in 3 months with my first bike, in training for this trip. I havent had to do much maintenance on my bike, so I am a bit anxious about maintaining or fixing a bike on my own. I have never done anything like this before, so any information, advice and guidance would be much appreciated.

In 2014 we walked from SJPDP to Pamplona then cycled the rest of the way. I'd second the advice you had from others and go for it independently.

We used BikeIberia for bike rental. They delivered the bike to the Albergue in Pamplona then picked it up in SdC. Providing you pack light then you won't need a luggage transfer service. For the first three walking days we had a smallish rucksack (35l) with a 20l dry sack inside. When it was time to cycle we just filled up the dry sack, put that on the rack at the back, leaving a very light, practically empty rucksack. Other bits and bobs went in the handlebar bag that comes with the bike. See the pic.

We walked in walking shoes rather than boots - which acted as decent stiff-soled shoes for cycling.

Whilst we've cycled a lot, we're not particularly experienced with bike maintenance but coped OK.... And there really is help along The Way! On our first cycling day we had three spaniards and an Italian who took it as a matter of honour to fix my chain that got stuck (unfortunate accident). As had been said, learn how to fix a puncture - just in case - but you'll never be far from help if needed. Go for it - you'll love it! image.jpeg
 
Past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hello Saint Mike, thanks so much for your valuable information. I did put new tyres and tubes on my $50 bike I bought 3 months ago, and haven't had an issue with them since, and I'm now up to 1400 kms. ... I am nervous about riding on the trails, but then I'm nervous about riding on the road in a foreign country. Actually the more I read the higher my fear levels go. Did you have to do much repairing on your bike on your journey? I have so many questions to ask and so little time this morning. Thanks so much for you advice, I really appreciate it, and if you don't mind would it be possible to message you direct with any concerns I may have? Have a great day.

I was very fortunate - had the bike shop in Pamplona fit a new tube and do a quick check (after my reassembly - with David's great help!) before I rode off. As for trail riding - a lot of the camino is simple unmade/gravel roads and most mountain bikes with good off-road tyres will handle it very well. You just need to be ready to stop whenever a really rough section presents, or a pilgrim changes direction - does not hear your bell or warning call.
Yes you are more than welcome to send a PM if you have private questions. If I know the answer I will reply. Another great source of bike camino knowledge is "newfydog" and I think he would reply to any PMs. Cheers for now!
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
From the people I spoke to it is possible to hire a bike and start in Pamplona - but the climb up the your camino (imho). ......

.....The section from Pamplona to Burgos is the least "bike friendly" section of the ride - if you intend to follow the trail that the walkers use. ...

I am curious and would appreciate a little more information. I will be starting my MTB hardtail Camino in Pamplona. I would like to do most of it on the trail (but there are places where I know that the road may be better especially if it is muddy or really rocky or steep down hill). My initial intent is to stop the first night in Estella, a second night in Logrono, the third in Granon (or maybe Santo Domingo de la Calzada) and the fourth night in Burgos.

I will be doing this in early May of this year. From the historic climate information about 1/3 of the days have measurable precipitation. I have read that the stretch from Pamplona in places can get quite muddy, which is a concern to me.

The elevation gain from Pamplona to Alto del Perdon looks like about 350 meters over about 15 km. The total Pamplona to Estella distance looks about 45 km, which should be a hard first day, but I can always break early as I have extra days built into my schedule. Two weekends ago, I did 54 miles (86km) with about a 580 meter elevation gain as a training ride, but it was on mostly pavement.

What makes Pamplona to "....Alto del Perdon is a bloody hard way to start ....?" Is it the elevation, the condition of the unpaved trail, is it the steep down hill on the trail after the Alto del Perdon? Or is it just the first day and a major exertion?

I am also curious why you feel the section from Pamplona to Burgos is the lest bike friendly? Is it the trail conditions? ....the pilgrims? ...the locals? or up and down hills?

I really would like to learn from your experience. Thank you.
 
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Past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola "Older Guy" - as I think I said I rode a "hybrid/mountain" bike. It has front fork suspension and what I will assume is a "hard tail" rear end. This bike is suitable for all of the Camino - provided you have the riding skills to match the trail conditions.
So to answer your questions - Pamplona/Alto del Perdon - its not really the climb itself; its more a combination of trail conditions, walkers and the elevation gained. Plus it was my first day - I had not been on the bike fully loaded for about 10 days. If memory serves the section from Cizur Menor to Zariquiegui was rough in patches; but the next section was the really tough/rough one. I think I walked about half this section. The comments about the Pamplona/Burgos being the least "bike friendly" was an opinion/observation based on : (1) the Alto del Perdon; (2) Puente La Reina/Maneru/Cirauqui - the first 2-3 km was ok but the next 2 was rough, narrow; similarly the Cirauqui - especially the 500 metres down to the puente romano - the 50 metres (up hill) was a pick up and carry section. (Most of the cycle guides in fact recommend the road over the camino for this section). I will admit that by Lorca I was so disallusioned that I stayed on the road to Estella. From Viana to Villafranca de Montes de Oca is some of the better cycling track, but the next section to San Juan & Atapuerca to Orbaneja is very much not bike friendly, especially the 750 metres either side of the Cruz de Matagrande - it was walking and lifting over some large rocks.
One of the other problems is that if you don't follow the Camino you need good local maps to find alternative roads - cyclists are not permitted on the Autoways/Motorways (usually marked in Spain as "A" routes); but some of the N-Routes have heavy traffic and thus not "bike friendly".
I am sure that other "more experienced" off-road cyclist will disagree with me - they are quite welcome to their opinions! As I said in an earlier post - have a look at the reports by "newfydog" as he and partner did follow the Camino more than I did. Cheers and I hope this helps.
 

Older Guy

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francis -May 2016 by bike---Loved it
Hola "Older Guy" - as I think I said I rode a "hybrid/mountain" bike. It has front fork suspension and what I will assume is a "hard tail" rear end. This bike is suitable for all of the Camino - provided you have the riding skills to match the trail conditions.
So to answer your questions - Pamplona/Alto del Perdon - its not really the climb itself; its more a combination of trail conditions, walkers and the elevation gained. Plus it was my first day - I had not been on the bike fully loaded for about 10 days. If memory serves the section from Cizur Menor to Zariquiegui was rough in patches; but the next section was the really tough/rough one. I think I walked about half this section. The comments about the Pamplona/Burgos being the least "bike friendly" was an opinion/observation based on : (1) the Alto del Perdon; (2) Puente La Reina/Maneru/Cirauqui - the first 2-3 km was ok but the next 2 was rough, narrow; similarly the Cirauqui - especially the 500 metres down to the puente romano - the 50 metres (up hill) was a pick up and carry section. (Most of the cycle guides in fact recommend the road over the camino for this section). I will admit that by Lorca I was so disallusioned that I stayed on the road to Estella. From Viana to Villafranca de Montes de Oca is some of the better cycling track, but the next section to San Juan & Atapuerca to Orbaneja is very much not bike friendly, especially the 750 metres either side of the Cruz de Matagrande - it was walking and lifting over some large rocks.
One of the other problems is that if you don't follow the Camino you need good local maps to find alternative roads - cyclists are not permitted on the Autoways/Motorways (usually marked in Spain as "A" routes); but some of the N-Routes have heavy traffic and thus not "bike friendly".
I am sure that other "more experienced" off-road cyclist will disagree with me - they are quite welcome to their opinions! As I said in an earlier post - have a look at the reports by "newfydog" as he and partner did follow the Camino more than I did. Cheers and I hope this helps.
Hola St Mike II!

Thanks so much for the information.

An MTB hard tail has a front suspension but is a little more built for off trail than a hybrid, more play in the suspension and different frame geometry.

So the Pamplona/Alto del Perdon is tough because first day, trail conditions and number of pilgrims within the limited trail right of way. While I can mountain bike on some surfaces, going up hill over larger stone/cobbles may not be all that doable unless I have a real stump puller granny gear and the freedom to weave around on the trail without worrying about other folks on the trail.

Thanks so much for the heads up on the rocky stretches.

Yes, the N-Routes and better yet the gravel paved farm roads are going to be my friend on this.
 

hughwilliams

Member
Past OR future Camino
1999, 2004, 2008,All camino frances. 2013(mini bike)from seville 2014 mini bike from france. 2014 walked from porto . Will coastal walk 2015 (may-june)
From the people I spoke to it is possible to hire a bike and start in Pamplona - but the climb up the Alto del Perdon is a bloody hard way to start your camino (imho). Bike maintenance is an issue - you need to know how to at least repair a puncture, or replace a new tube so that you can stay on the road. Spain is a very bike friendly country - the cars and truck drivers will give you a clear space when they overtake - so you will find a bike repair shop in virtually all major towns. If your Spanish is not very good - at least learn the names of the parts of your bike in Spanish so you can tell the mechanic which part needs repair. Again from what I read the good hire places give you at least one spare tube and a puncture repair kit and I think a pump.
The section from Pamplona to Burgos is the least "bike friendly" section of the ride - if you intend to follow the trail that the walkers use. In some places ( say Villafranca Montes de Oca to Orbaneja ) it would be better to find an alternative route (again from my experiences). Your training - 1300 km is going to stand you in good stead, however its your ability to manage the really rough/tough stages - in some cases really "off-road" that are the issue. Hope you find this helpful, good luck!
I cycled around Alto del Perdon in 2014. The bike was a Mezzo 9 folding with 16 inch wheels. So right hand down a bit and quite a long detour brought me over the river so missing the climb and rocky decent. Lots of bike shops, also wonderful help from fellow cyclists. As above, the space given to you by passing cars and trucks is very good. Felt safer in France and Spain than in Britain. (Alto can be mud on the way up and wheel smashing on way down!)
There have been some very helpful posts.So all the best and good luck!
( I'm hoping to cycle the coast from Lisbon to Porto then to Vigo to join inland route in Autumn. Walked from Porto 2015 so any cycling advice would be welcome!)
 

Natalie judson

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Santiago de Compostela April 2016
Hi guys,

I am starting the camino in about two weeks and I need as much information as possible about how to complete it by bike I had thought that I would start in Roncesvalles, but I'm starting to have second thoughts (although I would still really like to). I am flying into Biarritz and arrive around 6pm.. my plan was to head towards Saint Jean and then travel to Roncesvalles the next morning.

Any advice on itineraries, routes, packing lists, bike friendly alburges, best hire companies, what bike to use (whether they come with panniers), whether the bike can be delovered to Roncesvalles.. would be greatly appreciated (I need to know everything and anything).

Thanks in advance.

Ps Feel free to point point me in the direction of any other threads that you think may be of use to me. I have already had a look through some and have had some advice here and there, but now I'm just trying to get it all together.. it feels like I have so many things to think of and to organise ..and the clock is ticking.
 

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