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Relections and pointers from an amatuer cyclist.

2020 Camino Guides

Rasamala33

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
1st Camino will Be in 2017.
Hola Peregrinos!

I thought I would write some reflections from me, a non serious cyclist who has just completed El Camino Frances. Firstly, I will include my pack list, then will list some general pointers. At the end, I will include a link to my travel blog. Just click on the post 'El Camino De Santiago'. Please note that these suggestions have been based on my own experience, and all advice and perspectives will differ from each person. If you were like me, a solo traveler, who is fit but doesn't do much cycling at home and is a bit nervous, feel free to contact me in this thread or privately and I will help however I can.

PACK LIST

-2 x quick dry shirts

-2 x bike shorts-consider buying one pair of leggings instead of second pair of bike shorts due to varying temperatures.

- 2 x padded hiking socks

-Hat

-2 x undies

-GPs watch and charger (optional, but if you have one, it is light to pack and good to be able to clock kilometers)

-Money, Drivers license, passport, pilgrim passport, student card and bank card

-Safety pins-good to pin clothes on your backpack when traveling if they are still wet

-Phone

-Phone charger

-Universal adaptor

-Book to read? Light one only or read online (this was my one 'luxury' item)

-Silk sleeping bag liner (don't bring a sleeping bag, you won't need it and it uses too much space

- Pannier bags to put stuff in

-‘Shell’ lightweight waterproof windproof jacket

- Longsleeve lightweight, warm hoodie

- Cycling shoes (ideally, but I only had runners as I had been traveling in Europe for months)

-Thongs- cheap and lightweight

-2 x sports bras

-’Buff’ for my neck-hardly used this, but everyone else seemed too. good for the cold rides to warm your face

-Shammy towel - SMALL ONLY

-Plastic bag for grotty things

-Regular medication and some pain killers. I ended up buying some eye drops as my eyes got very dry

-2 x pairs of ear plugs

- Travel clothesline

- Toothbrush and small paste and floss

-Small liquid soap

-Headtorch-small

-Compeed-hardcore bandaids

-Zinc and sunscreen (suggest zinc for the face)

-Sunglasses

-Lip balm with moisturiser and sunscreen

-Plastic quick seal bags

-Eye mask

-Bobby pins, comb and elastics

-1L water bottle (other people packed loads of water but I just refilled my water bottle on the way. So you pick extra weight with convenience of more water, or less water but needing to remember to stop).

-Water sanitizing pills (I didn't end up having to use these but they don't use much space).

- Guide book and google maps on phone.

-Pilgrim passport-to collect in St Jean

- All in one spoon, fork, knife, bottle opener etc

-Insect repellent for the places where there are mosquitoes

-Toilet paper -just a few sheets in your pack.

-Bed bug spray-I ordered mine and it never arrived but I luckily never got bed bugs

- Pilgrim shell to place on back pack.

-Waterproofing spray for shoes-waterproof everything before then discard can

POINTERS:

-Believe in yourself
-Don't worry about how fast or how many kilometers others are doing
-Cycling is quicker than walking on the Camino, but it is not as easy as what many make it out to be. Lots of slopes!
-Take regular breaks, stop for chats and picture and listen to your body
-Pack some snacks for the road
-Drinks as much water as you can, as you will always be dehydrated
-Ask the price of food and drinks before you buy them
-Pack as light as possible, this is important!
Take your clothes inside when the sun comes down so they dry easier-don't leave them out overnight
-Enjoy yourself and don't take it all too seriously

Here is the link to my travel blog. Just click on the link 'El Camino De Santiago'.

http://rakabaila.blogspot.com.au

Buen camino,
Rasa
 
Last edited:

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
Compeed? For blisters?
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Compeed? For blisters?
I'm not familiar with this product, but I think it might be to alleviate saddle-sores. I had a problem with this once caused by underwear which were all the same size and brand. The seams crossed the saddle in an awkward identical place and I needed band-aids and copious amounts of Savlon to deal with friction sores. It can be a Camino-stopper if you're not careful.
 

Rasamala33

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
1st Camino will Be in 2017.
Hello Evanlow and Peregrinopaul, :)

The compeed is a good thing for all peregrinos to have 'just in case'.

I used it when the outer edges of my toes got a bit sore as cushioning.

I imagine if you had proper cycling shoes clipped in to the pedals, you would not need cushioning for your feet.


Yes paw law ointment (ideally) is a good thing to have to prevent chaffing but you need to buy this from Australia or New Zealand.

Vaseline can be used but does not have the same healing properties as Vaseline, nor can it be used for as many things (paw paw can be used for chapped lips, mosquito bites etc).

I lasted for about 5 days with 8 dollar shorts from k mart. In Leon I bought the special padded cycling shorts and they changed my life. I would never endeavour a cycling trip again without those special shorts!
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)

Waka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
We as walkers on the camino think (wrongly) that cycling to SDC is a lot easier than walking, I will concede that it is quicker.
Being a keen cyclist (not on the camino) I know how hard it is to, not only get yourself up the hill, but the bike and equipment as well.
On my way to Orrison a few years ago our little group were admiring the cyclist making their way up the winding steep incline, and you could see it was a struggle for them. I have to say I admired their effort and realised that in my dotage I wouldn't bet able to do it, I only just managed the journey on foot, but then again I'm no spring chicken.
So hand together for the cyclists.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Hola Peregrinos!

I thought I would write some reflections from me, a non serious cyclist who has just completed El Camino Frances. Firstly, I will include my pack list, then will list some general pointers. At the end, I will include a link to my travel blog. Just click on the post 'El Camino De Santiago'. Please note that these suggestions have been based on my own experience, and all advice and perspectives will differ from each person. If you were like me, a solo traveler, who is fit but doesn't do much cycling at home and is a bit nervous, feel free to contact me in this thread or privately and I will help however I can.

PACK LIST

-2 x quick dry shirts

-2 x bike shorts-consider buying one pair of leggings instead of second pair of bike shorts due to varying temperatures.

- 2 x padded hiking socks

-Hat

-2 x undies

-GPs watch and charger (optional, but if you have one, it is light to pack and good to be able to clock kilometers)

-Money, Drivers license, passport, pilgrim passport, student card and bank card

-Safety pins-good to pin clothes on your backpack when traveling if they are still wet

-Phone

-Phone charger

-Universal adaptor

-Book to read? Light one only or read online (this was my one 'luxury' item)

-Silk sleeping bag liner (don't bring a sleeping bag, you won't need it and it uses too much space

- Pannier bags to put stuff in

-‘Shell’ lightweight waterproof windproof jacket

- Longsleeve lightweight, warm hoodie

- Cycling shoes (ideally, but I only had runners as I had been traveling in Europe for months)

-Thongs- cheap and lightweight

-2 x sports bras

-’Buff’ for my neck-hardly used this, but everyone else seemed too. good for the cold rides to warm your face

-Shammy towel - SMALL ONLY

-Plastic bag for grotty things

-Regular medication and some pain killers. I ended up buying some eye drops as my eyes got very dry

-2 x pairs of ear plugs

- Travel clothesline

- Toothbrush and small paste and floss

-Small liquid soap

-Headtorch-small

-Compeed-hardcore bandaids

-Zinc and sunscreen (suggest zinc for the face)

-Sunglasses

-Lip balm with moisturiser and sunscreen

-Plastic quick seal bags

-Eye mask

-Bobby pins, comb and elastics

-1L water bottle (other people packed loads of water but I just refilled my water bottle on the way. So you pick extra weight with convenience of more water, or less water but needing to remember to stop).

-Water sanitizing pills (I didn't end up having to use these but they don't use much space).

- Guide book and google maps on phone.

-Pilgrim passport-to collect in St Jean

- All in one spoon, fork, knife, bottle opener etc

-Insect repellent for the places where there are mosquitoes

-Toilet paper -just a few sheets in your pack.

-Bed bug spray-I ordered mine and it never arrived but I luckily never got bed bugs

- Pilgrim shell to place on back pack.

-Waterproofing spray for shoes-waterproof everything before then discard can

POINTERS:

-Believe in yourself
-Don't worry about how fast or how many kilometers others are doing
-Cycling is quicker than walking on the Camino, but it is not as easy as what many make it out to be. Lots of slopes!
-Take regular breaks, stop for chats and picture and listen to your body
-Pack some snacks for the road
-Drinks as much water as you can, as you will always be dehydrated
-Ask the price of food and drinks before you buy them
-Pack as light as possible, this is important!
Take your clothes inside when the sun comes down so they dry easier-don't leave them out overnight
-Enjoy yourself and don't take it all too seriously

Here is the link to my travel blog. Just click on the link 'El Camino De Santiago'.

http://rakabaila.blogspot.com.au

Buen camino,
Rasa
Interesting post, thank you. I am curious, though, on how you, as a cyclist, approached pilgrims who were walking on the Camino; did you give a signal or a shout out prior to reaching a pedestrian so that they would not be startled when over taken? Did you slow down near pedestrians to reduce the speed discrepancy and to more easily avoid unintentional collisions?

I didn't see anything mentioned in your tips for other cyclists, so I was curious. :)
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
We as walkers on the camino think (wrongly) that cycling to SDC is a lot easier than walking, I will concede that it is quicker.
Being a keen cyclist (not on the camino) I know how hard it is to, not only get yourself up the hill, but the bike and equipment as well.
I concur. Having done most of my caminos on foot and two short ones on a bicycle to compare (via Francigena - 10 days and Mozarabe just before Cordoba-Merida). Weight and bulk also make a big difference.

If I have to do it again I would probably follow the example of a Spanish cyclist I met on the road.

He had just:

1. A beam rack (no panniers, no heel strike) with a small sleeping bag, a small bag (I assume it a change of clothes) and some tools.
2. A front handlebar bag for the other stuff that is convenient to be in front.

When I ask how is it possible for him, he mentioned wears the same cycling clothes and washes them at night and usually dry by the morning. He has only one set of evening wear (plus one t-short should he need to wash the top) and a slipped-on shoe (hence the small bag).

Total: 4 kg dry weight. Amazing...
 

evanlow

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances06
Primitivo07
Plata08
Norte12
Levante(14-15)
Vasco16
Mozarabe(16-17)
Madrid17
Portuguese18
I am curious, though, on how you, as a cyclist, approached pilgrims who were walking on the Camino; did you give a signal or a shout out prior to reaching a pedestrian so that they would not be startled when over taken? Did you slow down near pedestrians to reduce the speed discrepancy and to more easily avoid unintentional collisions?
Since I've done both, I can say that for wider tracks, no need. Narrower tracks, yes. I make sure there is a small bell on the bike. As for slowing down, probably not. Just like an elevation of more than 10 degrees is harder on the bike than walking, the loss of momentum in slowing has a similar effect.
 

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
Since I've done both, I can say that for wider tracks, no need. Narrower tracks, yes. I make sure there is a small bell on the bike. As for slowing down, probably not. Just like an elevation of more than 10 degrees is harder on the bike than walking, the loss of momentum in slowing has a similar effect.
It's a really frustrating situation for both walker and cyclist. On the CF you seem to get such encounters every couple of minutes. My solution now in those circumstances is to leave the narrow tracks to the walkers and use a road, or, if you're cycling, head for the VdlP! The walkers there are delighted to meet you, or on some stretches ...anybody.
 

Rasamala33

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
1st Camino will Be in 2017.
Hey Evanlow. Your gave you good advice about packing. My gear weighed about the same. I didn't event wear 'night gear'. I just wore my cycling outfit for the next day.

So in total, I had two cycling outfits- 2 shirts, 2 shorts, 2 undies, 2 socks.

As soon as I arrived at the destination where I would stay for the night, I would check in to the albergue, have lunch (if I didn't have it earlier, as this is dependant on the time you arrive and your distance travelled etc), then it's washing time. Wash your extra pair of clothes, put them on the line outside, take them inside on your clothesline when the sun goes down overnight. If clothes are still wet in the morning, pin them to your bag when you cycle the next day.

Saint Mike did you get saddle sores even when wearing padded cycling shorts? Without cycling shorts I was starting to get sores but as soon as I bought the special shorts all my problems dissapearred.

Hey Davebugg, I'm sorry I wrote so few pointers! I had actually intended to write some pointers about cycling etiquette, but I think my body and brain are still a bit fuzzy post Camino! I am still in Santiago as I only recently completed El Camino Frances.

Many cyclists whizz past peregrinos and don't give any notice. I think this is completely uncalled for, it scares the peregrinos and is dangerousm I understand that some cyclists are competitive and serious, but the Camino is a shared path and it is not a race.

It's very hard for the peregrinos to hear anything. I also didn't have a bell, but I'm not sure how much a bell can be heard.

When I saw a peregrinos, I would say loudly, multiple times (with notice) and slowing down 'perdona bicicleta'. Then I would wait for peregrinos to more aside then say, 'gracias y buen Camino' and look them in the face and smile (where possible).

Towards the end of El Camino, you will see a lot more peregrinos, so at times, you might have to hop of the bike for safety, to go through, and this is fine.

You can go around peregrinos at times but still let them know you are there. Also be careful of the terrain you are taking if you deviate from the path.

It feels good to say Buen Camino to everyone.

Sometimes peregrinos listen to head phones and walk in the middle of the path, which is also a dangerous!
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
On my way to Orrison a few years ago our little group were admiring the cyclist making their way up the winding steep incline, and you could see it was a struggle for them. I have to say I admired their effort and realised that in my dotage I wouldn't bet able to do it, I only just managed the journey on foot, but then again I'm no spring chicken.
So hand together for the cyclists.
This is the hill were I once out walked a cyclist. Scott was waiting at the top, casually eating an orange, I puffed my way up like a steam train, mainly due to that I was carrying most of his gear as he had shin splits. Anyway the main pack of Lycra hooligans (this is a term of endearment) passed me and wished me well, then the strangler caught up with me, he was weaving all over the road, and I was red faced and straining at my overloaded pack. Every time he managed to catch up to me I found a burst of indigent energy and would pull away, the rest of the cyclist were resting at the top with Scott egging us on. That was enough for the mule in me to kick in and I stormed up, he fell of his bike behind me. The cyclist cheered madly gave me a low bow and crowned me queen of the hill. I tried to look composed and ate the orange Scott had peeled for me. I don't think the poor chap I beat ever lived it down.
 
Last edited:

Peregrinopaul

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
This is the hill were I once out walked a cyclist.
There but for the grace of God would have gone I! (Forgive the syntax).
Boy, do I remember that climb, ...walk! As my son remarked, "Brutal!"
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hey Evanlow. Your gave you good advice about packing. My gear weighed about the same. I didn't event wear 'night gear'. I just wore my cycling outfit for the next day.

So in total, I had two cycling outfits- 2 shirts, 2 shorts, 2 undies, 2 socks.


Saint Mike did you get saddle sores even when wearing padded cycling shorts? Without cycling shorts I was starting to get sores but as soon as I bought the special shorts all my problems dissapearred. It feels good to say Buen Camino to everyone.

Sometimes peregrinos listen to head phones and walk in the middle of the path, which is also a dangerous!
Yes I wore cycle (padded) shorts, even had extra "baggies" over them. I think it was a case of riding two long days after a few days off in Leon. (Oh I was also using the protective gel that was supposed to stop saddle sores. So even best laid plans can go astray). Glad you had a buen camino.! Cheers
 

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