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We biked the Camino Frances (June 2018)

OCHAR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Summer 2018
After many, many months of planning, my wife and I (in our 50’s) finally completed the Camino Frances by bike. We took our time, smelling the roses along the way. I will try to summarize the most important point and make some observations.
Now walking and biking are very different but I do stress that they do share some points in common. What do you pack? What will I need? Etc. In both cases I suggest you start by bringing very little from home and BUY what you need at the nearest Decathlon in Spain.

We each had a tiny “carry on” Size back pack that we rode with as well as small saddlebags on the back of each bike. For shoes I had ASICS runners and a pair of flip-flops that we bought for 3 euros and discarded in Santiago. My wife had a pair of no name “Adventure Sandals” (the front part did cover her toes) that she swore by. Our bags were so small in fact that it was the usual start of conversation with people on the Camino.

What did we pack? Small tool kit for bikes, bike locks, one pair of (stretch) jeans 2 pairs of shorts, 3 socks, 4 t-shirts with chest pocket (with anti-microbial treatment), 1 long sleeve t-shirt, 3 underwear, baseball cap, rain poncho (bought at AlCampo for 1 euro), small toiletry kit, reading glasses, sunglasses, smartphone with sim card from “Orange”, small camera with 30X zoom, a package of “wet wipes”, a spoonful of mosquito cream and the same of sun cream (did not use any of the 2 latter items).

We actually started in Madrid where a friend lent us 2 mountain bikes, so as you can imagine, we had to bring the bikes somehow to Leon. We were able to bring the bikes on the bus (ALSA) as we would luggage. The only requirement was that we remove the front tire, turn the handle bar, and wrap both the tire and the bike as one package with plastic film. We purchased a roll of 50 feet. And found that 1 roll was sufficient to wrap both bikes. Once in Santiago, we repeated the procedure to return to Madrid by ALSA bus. Our biking trip lasted 10 days Leon – Santiago de Compostela.

It must be stressed that ALL (Most) of our journey was done in the RAIN. This of course dictated what we could wear: Poncho, long sleeve t-shirt, a t-shirt and either shorts or jeans. The jeans were stretch and “boot cut” allowing me to roll them up like pirate pants and not get the legs muddy.
We stayed in a variety of Albergues and hotels mostly opting for a private room. All the places we stayed had a place to keep our bicycles. We ate many “Menu del Dia” and also did some shopping in local stores like “Dia” etc.
Apart from the terrible weather, we had a fantastic trip. The mountainous portion of the Camino, “O Cebreiro” etc was extremely difficult for us and we did have to walk the bikes very often.
Parting thoughts:
Pack light. Don’t pack any “what ifs”. Buy what you need there. Ignore the Brand Names, in many cases the No name works just as well.
If I were walking, I would have packed the same, except of course the bike tools and helmet!! Actually, many walkers that we passed ended up passing us again and again!!

Noise: (most of the) people are inconsiderate, noisy, Heavy footed, door slamming, loud talking, snoring, yakking on the phone to their daughter’s back home, self-aggrandising know-it-alls. Rest assured, these are the people that will accompany you all throughout your Camino.

Bring ear-plugs as it is guaranteed that all the walls are paper thin.
Bring a Hook that you can use on the back of a door, a bunk etc. The hook has not been invented in Europe yet.
We loved the Camino, we love Spain and will do it again next year on rented e-bikes. We do it for the Culture, the food, and the nature…Buen Camino y hasta pronto!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
Noise: (most of the) people are inconsiderate, noisy, Heavy footed, door slamming, loud talking, snoring, yakking on the phone to their daughter’s back home, self-aggrandising know-it-alls. Rest assured, these are the people that will accompany you all throughout your Camino.
Wow, you have been unlucky.
My experience is usually the opposite.
Jill
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Congratulations on realizing your dream.

Sorry. I found most pilgrims quite pleasant.

Maybe you'll get 'um next time.

Buen camino on post camino journey to you and your wife.
 

jony jony

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances ( 2007) Via de la Plata 2016/2017 . Sept 2018...Via de la Plata...May2019 via de la plata
Noise: (most of the) people are inconsiderate, noisy, Heavy footed, door slamming, loud talking, snoring, yakking on the phone to their daughter’s back home, self-aggrandising know-it-alls. Rest assured, these are the people that will accompany you all throughout your Camino.
I don't know what your expectation were , but if you found MOST of the people (pilgrims ) inconsiderate , noisy , heavy footed ..etc etc etc then maybe the problem was with your expectations of "camino" life .

Of course we have all experienced a snorer , loud talker , heavy footed pilgrim , but in my view these are by far a minority and having thought about it i can only remember 2 occasions that i would classify as inconsiderate behaviour . I hope i am still of the same opinion in September on the Via de la Plata .
 

wildrover

thewildrover
Camino(s) past & future
2015 april c/f. vdlp feb 2016. Norte / primitivo Sep 2016. C/f 12/16. Vdlp 12/17. 12/18. Lana 02/19.
After many, many months of planning, my wife and I (in our 50’s) finally completed the Camino Frances by bike. We took our time, smelling the roses along the way. I will try to summarize the most important point and make some observations.
Now walking and biking are very different but I do stress that they do share some points in common. What do you pack? What will I need? Etc. In both cases I suggest you start by bringing very little from home and BUY what you need at the nearest Decathlon in Spain.

We each had a tiny “carry on” Size back pack that we rode with as well as small saddlebags on the back of each bike. For shoes I had ASICS runners and a pair of flip-flops that we bought for 3 euros and discarded in Santiago. My wife had a pair of no name “Adventure Sandals” (the front part did cover her toes) that she swore by. Our bags were so small in fact that it was the usual start of conversation with people on the Camino.

What did we pack? Small tool kit for bikes, bike locks, one pair of (stretch) jeans 2 pairs of shorts, 3 socks, 4 t-shirts with chest pocket (with anti-microbial treatment), 1 long sleeve t-shirt, 3 underwear, baseball cap, rain poncho (bought at AlCampo for 1 euro), small toiletry kit, reading glasses, sunglasses, smartphone with sim card from “Orange”, small camera with 30X zoom, a package of “wet wipes”, a spoonful of mosquito cream and the same of sun cream (did not use any of the 2 latter items).

We actually started in Madrid where a friend lent us 2 mountain bikes, so as you can imagine, we had to bring the bikes somehow to Leon. We were able to bring the bikes on the bus (ALSA) as we would luggage. The only requirement was that we remove the front tire, turn the handle bar, and wrap both the tire and the bike as one package with plastic film. We purchased a roll of 50 feet. And found that 1 roll was sufficient to wrap both bikes. Once in Santiago, we repeated the procedure to return to Madrid by ALSA bus. Our biking trip lasted 10 days Leon – Santiago de Compostela.

It must be stressed that ALL (Most) of our journey was done in the RAIN. This of course dictated what we could wear: Poncho, long sleeve t-shirt, a t-shirt and either shorts or jeans. The jeans were stretch and “boot cut” allowing me to roll them up like pirate pants and not get the legs muddy.
We stayed in a variety of Albergues and hotels mostly opting for a private room. All the places we stayed had a place to keep our bicycles. We ate many “Menu del Dia” and also did some shopping in local stores like “Dia” etc.
Apart from the terrible weather, we had a fantastic trip. The mountainous portion of the Camino, “O Cebreiro” etc was extremely difficult for us and we did have to walk the bikes very often.
Parting thoughts:
Pack light. Don’t pack any “what ifs”. Buy what you need there. Ignore the Brand Names, in many cases the No name works just as well.
If I were walking, I would have packed the same, except of course the bike tools and helmet!! Actually, many walkers that we passed ended up passing us again and again!!

Noise: (most of the) people are inconsiderate, noisy, Heavy footed, door slamming, loud talking, snoring, yakking on the phone to their daughter’s back home, self-aggrandising know-it-alls. Rest assured, these are the people that will accompany you all throughout your Camino.

Bring ear-plugs as it is guaranteed that all the walls are paper thin.
Bring a Hook that you can use on the back of a door, a bunk etc. The hook has not been invented in Europe yet.
We loved the Camino, we love Spain and will do it again next year on rented e-bikes. We do it for the Culture, the food, and the nature…Buen Camino y hasta pronto!
Great tips! Cheers
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018), Mozarabe and more (2019)
(most of the) people are inconsiderate, noisy, Heavy footed, door slamming, loud talking, snoring, yakking on the phone to their daughter’s back home, self-aggrandising know-it-alls. Rest assured, these are the people that will accompany you all throughout your Camino.

We loved the Camino, we love Spain and will do it again next year on rented e-bikes. We do it for the Culture, the food, and the nature…
Aren’t pilgrims - even loud and vexatious ones - an integral part of the Camino? Perhaps you were simply too tired and irritable to appreciate the company of all sorts and conditions of fellow caministas. Use e-bikes if it helps; avoid albergues if you need an undisturbed night’s sleep, but don’t dismiss the opportunity to discover the qualities that bring us together along the way. Buen Camino!
 

OCHAR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Summer 2018
Thanks for the reply's. Unfortunately in life the loud and inconsiderate are noticed first, the quiet and polite are not.
We had a great time and yes, the noise and the silence are both part of the camino. Looking forward to doing in again on ebikes and from Pamplona to Leon.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
@OCHAR , congratulations on your achievment.

To help me with my thinking about biking a camino how did you cope with:

1) Descent from Cruz Ferro to Molinaseca. Did you ride the road or the rocky pathway?

2) Ascent from Vega de Valcarce to La Laguna. Did you go through La Faba and the rocky footpath beyond. If so, (Lcycling or pushing?

3) Descent from Fonfria to Tricastela. Road (LU-633) or footpath?

4) Descent after Ferreiros towards Portmarin. Road (LU-633) or rocky footpath

5) Ascent from Portomarin to Gonzar. Road (Lu-633) or footpath, narrow in places?

There are other places where the surface or width, to my mind, could cause potential conflict.

I ask simply because the rule on shared path in my neck of the woods is "Pedestrian Priority".

kind regards
 

OCHAR

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Summer 2018
Well AlwynWellington, these are great questions and you will be faced with similar decisions all along the Camino. We did BOTH, sometimes we took the road and sometimes we took the walking path....and regretted it. On many occasions for us, the walking path was muddy due to the incessant rain. Furthermore some walking paths are quite steep and rocky and you will be pushing your bike. Fellow cyclists are a good source of info for the path ahead, road or path? As you progress in the Camino and become seasoned, you will know which route to take. Of course the road is faster in most cases but you may sacrifice seeing some beautiful countryside.
From Cruz de Feiro we opted for the road. There where NO cars at all and the idea of zipping downhill was irresistible. I did note however that you could ride on the walking path (it parallels the road) but it would be a lot slower and you would have to negotiate the walking pilgrims. Oh on that note, we had horns on our bikes that sounded like an old fashioned car. We purchased them at Decathlon, they had a clear plastic bubble that you pushed to make the noise. On more than one occasion we had walkers tell us that it was the best bike horn they ever heard!

From Vega de Valcarce we stayed on the road all the way to La Laguna. As you start to climb out of the river valley, (there are many climbs) it will be painted on the road where bikes should go and were walkers should go. We followed the road as recommended. It was steep and exhausting, we had to walk the bikes on many occasions. There were NO cars. We talked to a cyclist that took the footpath and he said it was the worst beating he had taken in his life.
From Fonfria to Tricastela I believe we took the foot path. Again ask your fellow cyclist as they may have other info.
That is the best advice, plan all you can, google maps etc but once on the road the weather etc will dictate your better options. Ask your fellow pilgrims especially cyclists. Many had amazing apps on their phones.
Keep digging but don't investigate too much......you have to leave some surprises for the road.
Buen Camino!!
 

Ciarán123

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Bike Camino, Leon to Santiago late Aug 2018
Some great advice on here ...

I wish to complete the route from Leon to Santiago by bike, can anyone give advice on:

The airport to fly into and means of connection to Leon.
A company to hire a bike from.
The most convenient way of organising accommodation.
The typically recommended journey length (I am in good health and have a high level of fitness).

I would like to make this experience as authentic as possible, so would prefer to stay in hostels as opposed to hotels.

Thanks.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
Camino Ingles (2019)
Some great advice on here ...

I wish to complete the route from Leon to Santiago by bike, can anyone give advice on:

The airport to fly into and means of connection to Leon.
A company to hire a bike from.
The most convenient way of organising accommodation.
The typically recommended journey length (I am in good health and have a high level of fitness).

I would like to make this experience as authentic as possible, so would prefer to stay in hostels as opposed to hotels.

Thanks.
Welcome to the Forum, Ciaran. :)

1. Madrid airport (MAD)

2. Perhaps the search engine will be of help.

3. A tour company is the most convenient, followed by online sites like Booking.com or Gronze. The most flexible is to stop at an albergue wherever you feel like it's time to stop for the day.

4. It depends mainly on speed and how many hours you want to travel per day.
 

Stevenlou

Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
After many, many months of planning, my wife and I (in our 50’s) finally completed the Camino Frances by bike. We took our time, smelling the roses along the way. I will try to summarize the most important point and make some observations.
Now walking and biking are very different but I do stress that they do share some points in common. What do you pack? What will I need? Etc. In both cases I suggest you start by bringing very little from home and BUY what you need at the nearest Decathlon in Spain.

We each had a tiny “carry on” Size back pack that we rode with as well as small saddlebags on the back of each bike. For shoes I had ASICS runners and a pair of flip-flops that we bought for 3 euros and discarded in Santiago. My wife had a pair of no name “Adventure Sandals” (the front part did cover her toes) that she swore by. Our bags were so small in fact that it was the usual start of conversation with people on the Camino.

What did we pack? Small tool kit for bikes, bike locks, one pair of (stretch) jeans 2 pairs of shorts, 3 socks, 4 t-shirts with chest pocket (with anti-microbial treatment), 1 long sleeve t-shirt, 3 underwear, baseball cap, rain poncho (bought at AlCampo for 1 euro), small toiletry kit, reading glasses, sunglasses, smartphone with sim card from “Orange”, small camera with 30X zoom, a package of “wet wipes”, a spoonful of mosquito cream and the same of sun cream (did not use any of the 2 latter items).

We actually started in Madrid where a friend lent us 2 mountain bikes, so as you can imagine, we had to bring the bikes somehow to Leon. We were able to bring the bikes on the bus (ALSA) as we would luggage. The only requirement was that we remove the front tire, turn the handle bar, and wrap both the tire and the bike as one package with plastic film. We purchased a roll of 50 feet. And found that 1 roll was sufficient to wrap both bikes. Once in Santiago, we repeated the procedure to return to Madrid by ALSA bus. Our biking trip lasted 10 days Leon – Santiago de Compostela.

It must be stressed that ALL (Most) of our journey was done in the RAIN. This of course dictated what we could wear: Poncho, long sleeve t-shirt, a t-shirt and either shorts or jeans. The jeans were stretch and “boot cut” allowing me to roll them up like pirate pants and not get the legs muddy.
We stayed in a variety of Albergues and hotels mostly opting for a private room. All the places we stayed had a place to keep our bicycles. We ate many “Menu del Dia” and also did some shopping in local stores like “Dia” etc.
Apart from the terrible weather, we had a fantastic trip. The mountainous portion of the Camino, “O Cebreiro” etc was extremely difficult for us and we did have to walk the bikes very often.
Parting thoughts:
Pack light. Don’t pack any “what ifs”. Buy what you need there. Ignore the Brand Names, in many cases the No name works just as well.
If I were walking, I would have packed the same, except of course the bike tools and helmet!! Actually, many walkers that we passed ended up passing us again and again!!

Noise: (most of the) people are inconsiderate, noisy, Heavy footed, door slamming, loud talking, snoring, yakking on the phone to their daughter’s back home, self-aggrandising know-it-alls. Rest assured, these are the people that will accompany you all throughout your Camino.

Bring ear-plugs as it is guaranteed that all the walls are paper thin.
Bring a Hook that you can use on the back of a door, a bunk etc. The hook has not been invented in Europe yet.
We loved the Camino, we love Spain and will do it again next year on rented e-bikes. We do it for the Culture, the food, and the nature…Buen Camino y hasta pronto!
We will be cycling in aug/Sept 2019 using our own bikes, we are planning on using the alsa bus to get us and bikes from santander to Burgos, did you book on the alsa bus in advance or could you book a ticket on the morning of your travel.
 

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