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Your advice - Cycling the actual Camino Frances ????

DG007

New Member
#1
I would value feedback from both Pilgrims on foot and cyclists with regard to cycling the actual Camino path as opposed to roads (which 'apparently' only 'follow closely' the original trail)....

Thanks for as much and varying 'insight' into what I can expect --
David
 

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William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#2
I would value feedback from both Pilgrims on foot and cyclists with regard to cycling the actual Camino path as opposed to roads (which 'apparently' only 'follow closely' the original trail)....
I would start by disagreeing with the phrase that the roads "only closely follow the original trail". Originally the pilgrims followed the roads as foot and horse traffic were the traffic. If anything the roads are more "authentic" than the path. Much of the route has now been diverted away from the roads on to quiet paths that make more pleasant walking and some of the roads no longer exist as roads.

Answering your question about cycling the walkers path, with care and consideration to the walkers it is possible to cycle almost all of the path. There are places in the Pyrenees and Montes de Leon where it is probably better to take quiet nearby road than negotiate the steep narrow track on a fully loaded bike.

You will need mountain bike or 26in wheeled tourer if you are going to cycle the path without risk of damaging your bike, but as I started off saying you will be closer to the original route if you stay on the road much of the time and you can do this on any bike.

If you are cycling the path you daily distance will be 60% or so of what you would do on the road. This is partly due to the terrain and also to the need to slow down to a walking pace and give the walkers warning when you pass them. If you don't even the most Christian of them will make a derogatory remark about you, cyclists in general, your upbringing, your lycra etc....

Buen Camino
William
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002-2004-2006-2008-2011-2015
Cycled from Scotland,walked Francias, walked V.D.L.P, winter on Francais, stroll on Englaise
#4
Hi,
I have both cycled (from Scotland) and walked from St. Jean. I would ask you please not to cycle on the actual path. When we cycled, on the rare occasions that we cycled the path, we used our cycle bells to warn walkers of our approach. While walking I was "brushed" 3 times by cyclists who approached silently and fast.
Was it wrong of me to be pleased when one "brusher" who stopped to take my photograph, without asking if I minded, dropped and smashed his camera?
Dael
 

Peter Robins

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#5
William Marques said:
I would start by disagreeing with the phrase that the roads "only closely follow the original trail". Originally the pilgrims followed the roads as foot and horse traffic were the traffic. If anything the roads are more "authentic" than the path.

Much of the route has now been diverted away from the roads on to quiet paths that make more pleasant walking
A road is a path that's been widened, straightened, and covered with tarmac. :)

I'd agree for some sections. Much of Pamplona-Logrono-Burgos, for example, was created in the 11th century and remains a main road today. This used to be a problem for walkers, as there were lengthy stretches where you had to walk along the road. However, as you say, there are now new off-road paths for walkers to follow. These new paths are deliberately intended for both cyclists and walkers, so sharing shouldn't be a problem.

With Burgos-Leon on the other hand, once the administrative and commercial centre shifted south to Toledo and Madrid, there ceased to be much need for a road. Once the pilgrim traffic dried up too, the old Roman/medieval road was only used by local farm traffic. So the 'original trail' is now the waymarked Camino.

However, I'm not sure it makes sense to think of 'the original trail'. In Navarre for example the Roman road Pamplona-Burgos went to the north of the current Camino Frances; in the late Middle Ages, the road shifted from Roncesvalles to the coast, completely bypassing Navarre. Which of these is 'the original trail'? (And as for the 'original' pre-Roman road, who knows where that went!)

William Marques said:
Answering your question about cycling the walkers path, with care and consideration to the walkers it is possible to cycle almost all of the path.
I would agree. In general, most of the Camino is track or minor road that can be used by both walkers and cyclists without problem (though some of the surfaces might be a problem for cycling, particularly in wet conditions). Only small sections are narrow footpaths that are really walkers only. The better guidebooks highlight the problem sections for cyclists and suggest alternatives.
 

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Covey

New Member
#6
If you are cycling on the marked paths, be aware that quite a number of walkers are plugged in to a walkman/ipod/MP3 player and may not hear the reasonably silent arrival of high speed cyclists behind them.

Some of the tracks are fairly rutted and walkers tend to move from side to side picking out the best steps up and down the tracks, so if you see someone walking up the left hand side of a track they might step across the track to get a better foothold and into the path of a silent cycle.

Most cycles have a bell but they can be difficult to hear especially if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction. One of the squeeze horns is better but as a cyclist in the UK, it means you have to take one hand off the bar to operate and going downhill on a rutted track might not be very safe.

Last Sept there were quite a number of cyclists on the trail, and more than once I nearly had a set of tyre tracks up my rear end.

Given that most walkers have packs on their backs, rapid evasive moves can result in potentially serious falls for both walkers and cyclists.

Covey
 
#7
biking

we are planning to bike this june, avoiding the road as much as possible. we will of course be entirely courteous to walkers, and will certainly have a bell or horn on our bikes. i think it's more a question of mutual decency and respect that anything else.
What surprised me, however, was the comment above that lots of people wear MP3/walkman/discman players on the camino. I find that utterly ridiculous. isn't it supposed to be about leaving behind all the things that distract you in your normal everyday life? i mean seriously... [/code]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#8
"...the actual Camino path as opposed to roads (which 'apparently' only 'follow closely' the original trail)..."
Sorry to say this, but based on research done by participants in other forums, 90% of today's Caminos are not thought to be the original Caminos that pilgrims took once upon a time. Whoever is interested, I could put u in contact with Spanish monoligual experts on the subject. Likewise for the Roman roads we so often walk upon-for that one I have an essay in Spanish, should anyone be interested in reading. They have been replaced by modern roads, economics, highways, politics, bridges, swamps, greed, etc. Example: check out "Yesa." Best, xm 8)
 
#9
My husband and I will also be cycling the Camino Frances in Oct 2008. What I am wondering, is whether pannier bags are really necessary, or if we can get away with keeping the bags on our backs if they are not too heavy?
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#10
Many cyclists will say that cycling with backpacks is uncomfortable then go out on a ride with their camel backs. I have cycled the Via de la Plata / Camino Frances in August with a pack on one occasion and found it no problem. As long as you keep it small it is fine. If you do not want to use panniers how about a light pack and a large saddle bag (see Carradice for saddlebags).

I have now got round to using front panniers on the front and back as I find I can put nearly all my wife and I carry now into 4 front panniers.

Buen Camino
William
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#11
sussie said:
My husband and I will also be cycling the Camino Frances in Oct 2008. What I am wondering, is whether pannier bags are really necessary, or if we can get away with keeping the bags on our backs if they are not too heavy?
As a cyclist who has cycled long distance- though not on the Camino- my opinion is that for safety, pannier bags are a must. With the stuff you will need for days on the trail, if you carry it all on your back your centre of gravity would be too high for the sake of safety, and your chances of injury would be vastly increased.

I saw many cyclists on the Camino during June. One of the major problems they had earlier on, if they followed the actual trail, was mud. I know that I was getting stuck in the stuff, slip-sliding in the stuff enough as a walker. But some cyclists ended up coming to a complete standstill when the mud clogged up all their gears.
Margaret
 
#12
Thanks for the advice. I am considering rather going for the pannier bags as a safer option, then. Would not want a fall in the middle of the ride, and then srtuggle the rest of the way!
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#14
Wow! thread a thread ressurected from 2008!

The comments and opinions are still valid. We have biked it twice, on mountain bikes. We rode the same route as the walkers 95% of the way. We never brushed a single peregrino, and had a very pleasant chat with many of them.

It is open to bikes, and I would say that overall, it is perhaps the finest long mountain bike route in the world. Don't miss it!
 
#15
Lovely to read this thread and very helpful. I plan for 2013 probably late April early May. I'm struck by the issues surrounding road vs. trail route. I must admit this had bothered me somewhat myself and for a time I was anxious about doing the road route as not being genuine and me not being genuine! However, I have had time to reflect. For me the Camino Frances is an external road that facilitates internal journey - road or trail, it is the spirit in which we set out to travel that counts, don't let anyone else fool you into thinking anything else or I think you will be in for a shock. As for the various trials and joys experienced on the Camino, they are a mirror.

I look forward to 2013 and the route. I know it is going to suck and soar regardless of earth or asphalt and somewhere in the midst I will meet me, hope to meet you and in both encounter Jesus and St James.

Just roll with it.
 
#16
Torrent1964 said:
Lovely to read this thread and very helpful. I plan for 2013 probably late April early May. I'm struck by the issues surrounding road vs. trail route. I must admit this had bothered me somewhat myself and for a time I was anxious about doing the road route as not being genuine and me not being genuine! However, I have had time to reflect. For me the Camino Frances is an external road that facilitates internal journey - road or trail, it is the spirit in which we set out to travel that counts, don't let anyone else fool you into thinking anything else or I think you will be in for a shock. As for the various trials and joys experienced on the Camino, they are a mirror.

I look forward to 2013 and the route. I know it is going to suck and soar regardless of earth or asphalt and somewhere in the midst I will meet me, hope to meet you and in both encounter Jesus and St James.

Just roll with it.
Hi again,
I found this and liked it, so I thought I'd share it...

...This merging of pilgrimage route and waymarked trail has in turn led to the idea that the pilgrimage starts at the 'trailhead'. People make extraordinarily complicated journeys by public transport to get to places like Roncesvalles or St-Jean-Pied-de-Port because they think that's where you have to start. Gone is the idea that pilgrims themselves are the 'trailhead': your pilgrimage starts where you are. Some do start from their own front door, but these are only a small minority...
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#18
Some do start from their own front door, but these are only a small minority...
The Forum has a lot of pilgrims who must start in an airplane! I have met quite a few European pilgrims who started at their front door. One was a bicyclist from the Netherlands. His bicycles was stolen in Logrono, but he found it a few hours later with all the equipment gone. He equipped the remainder of his trip to Fisterra using items from the discard boxes in albergues. He told me that by the end, he knew just how little he really needed.
 
#19
falcon269 said:
Some do start from their own front door, but these are only a small minority...
The Forum has a lot of pilgrims who must start in an airplane! I have met quite a few European pilgrims who started at their front door. One was a bicyclist from the Netherlands. His bicycles was stolen in Logrono, but he found it a few hours later with all the equipment gone. He equipped the remainder of his trip to Fisterra using items from the discard boxes in albergues. He told me that by the end, he knew just how little he really needed.
I like the notion of just how little we need... I like the idea that we ourselves are the trailhead and I like the idea that pilgrimage starts at our doorstep, that the journey to the identified trailhead is part of the journey(pilgrimage) itself and even that our preperation for the journey to the physical trailhead is the start of the pilgrimage. Aah, how I love these notions and the comments that follow. You are all most appreciated.

Torrent :D
 

dutchpilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
#20
Re:

super7 said:
My advise is: don't do it. Let the people walking the footpaths alone. I have seen people on ATB bikes scaring the living daylight out of unexpected pilgrims on foot. No consideration at all and creating a lot of dust for the walkers as well.
Thanks, Super7.
I am a walker, and copy your opinion.
Cyclist should stay away from the walking paths.
Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo

BTW: in times of old there weren't dedicated paths for pilgrims. There weren't way-marks (nor were there cyclists :wink:). The pilgrims used the trade routes.
C.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#21
Re: Re:

dutchpilgrim said:
I am a walker, and copy your opinion.
Cyclist should stay away from the walking paths.
Carli Di Bortolo.

Still have trouble with this concept of sharing? Well, with few exceptions, pilgrims of all types share the trail very well.
 

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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#22
Still have trouble with this concept of sharing?
When bicyclists come roaring down a hill and demand that walkers yield the right of way, I, too, think of the concept of sharing. However, there may be some dispute as to whom should be doing the sharing. :mrgreen:
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#23
falcon269 said:
When bicyclists come roaring down a hill and demand that walkers yield the right of way,:

Do you see a lot of that? I only witnessed it once, and it was a young Spanish tour guide. I would have had a word with him, but didn't think it was my position as a guest in his country. You've probably seen more walking than I would biking.

In 28 days on the Frances, I've had two encounters with walkers who tried to actively block our passing. Everyone else was wonderful. It might help that I'm in no hurry, know how to use my brakes, and can ride at a walking pace until I can pass politely, but I'd like to think I'm fairly typical.
 
#24
I think as I read more and more of the posts and speak to people that I am less inclined to ride the trail path and utilise more, but not all of the road. Understanding that I am the trailhead and that pilgrimage is in my heart, this makes it easier for me. I also just want everyone to have their pilgrimage too. This thread has and I believe will continue to be of great value to me. :D
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#25
On average, three times a day. I am calmly reconciled to it, and step aside when warned by bell or shout. But I think about it, and wonder a bit why I am expected to be the one who yields. If necessary, the cyclists can dismount and walk around a pedestrian. (Like that would ever happen, but it is theoretically possible.) I think many bicyclists think walkers can hear them, when, in fact, they cannot. A bicycle is loud to the rider, but to a forward facing walker with a hat, bicycles can get pretty close before they are heard, and it is quite startling. With parallel roads available, it is the macho, arrogant cyclists who seem to be the ones on the portions of the trail that are inappropriate for bicycles. It is just another aspect to the Camino these days, and I agree that we should all just get along. However, I will not be the least surprised when a walker finally spears a cyclist with his titanium tipped trekking pole, picador-style. Naturally, it will probably be the most innocent cyclist that just happens to be the tenth cyclist to startle an already irritated pilgrim. Even if everyone on this Forum were to agree on the protocol, we would never sell it to the Italians!

By the way, cycling attire -- what are those ads all about? I have some pretty expensive suits for work, and not a single one has an ad on the outside. Are Brioni and Oxxford missing something? :D
 
#26
Did I hear right that the trail to the top of Alto de Perdón has been resurfaced? Its one part of the route I would like to visit. Previous narratives have said how awfult eh route is and dangerous on the decent.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#27
It would be a shame to change the Alto de Perdon. It is actually quite nice. A few round loose rocks, but not bad. The first year I pushed the bike a bit at the top, but the second year, without camping gear, rode right over it. On the descent I got up a big head of steam and just leveled some walker in an expensive business suit :D.
 

wawpdx

Active Member
#28
Newfydog,
I wonder if you think you are being humorous in an extreme example? In my experience as a walker, it is only the fancy suit that is hard to believe. :shock: When bikers are barreling downhill on a rutted section there is no way that they can avoid any pilgrim who does not immediately dash off of the trail.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#29
wawpdx said:
Newfydog,
I wonder if you think you are being humorous in an extreme example? .

Something like that---read Falcon's post up above. I actually pass walkers with great respect, even if they are wearing extremely boring clothing. In 5,000 km of Caminos we have not yet even brushed a perigrino, and never expect them to jump out of our way.
 
#30
wawpdx said:
Newfydog,
I wonder if you think you are being humorous in an extreme example? In my experience as a walker, it is only the fancy suit that is hard to believe. :shock: When bikers are barreling downhill on a rutted section there is no way that they can avoid any pilgrim who does not immediately dash off of the trail.
Hmmm... the barreling worries me. I am an avid MTB'er, but Camino is not a DH rampage. I would hope that the time I do spend time on the track, would be with sensitivity and slow enought to converse.

"The trailhead starts with me"
 
#31
Don't. The bits I did were impossible uphill, difficult on the flat and dangerous downhill. On a montain bike, maybe, but not on my old Raleigh Clubman, even with fat tyres. And there isn't really room for bikes and pedestrians.
 
#32
Aquitaine said:
Don't. The bits I did were impossible uphill, difficult on the flat and dangerous downhill. On a montain bike, maybe, but not on my old Raleigh Clubman, even with fat tyres. And there isn't really room for bikes and pedestrians.
I here ya.

I'm used to dropping of mountains, but As I've said before, this for me is pilgrimage. I would like to visit the peregrino monument and the Cross with everyones pebbles and prayers and they don't seem to have road, but otherwise if we don't do Camino Mardrid which is a possibility, then we will largely use the road.

Any comments on these two sites and a bike. I'm sure panniers will make it more difficult too. Oh, do you have any advice on panniers and a pannier rack?

In Appreciation :D


Torrent
 
#33
As regards panniers and racks, the best panniers are Ortlieb. Totally waterproof and robust. Bar bag very secure and easily moved - it comes with a lock to the handlebars, 40L on back and half that on front makes for ample space for any trip. Racktop bag, medium size, on back of bike can take even more gear if you really must.
Tubus racks are equally amazing and amply strong. If your bike does not have connections for a rear rack than their are racks that can connect at the skewer so have panniers can still be carried otherwise 10Kg is all you would get. You can get Tubus that work with front suspension which is impressive as a means of using a mountain bike for touring. I do this and am about to do 3 coast to coast north of England long routes for the charity Mind, a mental health charity.
The very helpful people at Ghyllside bikes in Ambleside - who regularly equip cyclists for global trips - are the ones to contact. There are, of course, many other providers in the U.K. and elsewhere.
http://www.ortlieb.co.uk/
(hope it is appropriate to make this recommendation - they fitted me out for one of my Camino trips).
 
#34
duncan pm said:
As regards panniers and racks, the best panniers are Ortlieb. Totally waterproof and robust. Bar bag very secure and easily moved - it comes with a lock to the handlebars, 40L on back and half that on front makes for ample space for any trip. Racktop bag, medium size, on back of bike can take even more gear if you really must.
Tubus racks are equally amazing and amply strong. If your bike does not have connections for a rear rack than their are racks that can connect at the skewer so have panniers can still be carried otherwise 10Kg is all you would get. You can get Tubus that work with front suspension which is impressive as a means of using a mountain bike for touring. I do this and am about to do 3 coast to coast north of England long routes for the charity Mind, a mental health charity.
The very helpful people at Ghyllside bikes in Ambleside - who regularly equip cyclists for global trips - are the ones to contact. There are, of course, many other providers in the U.K. and elsewhere.
http://www.ortlieb.co.uk/
(hope it is appropriate to make this recommendation - they fitted me out for one of my Camino trips).
Solid. Thanks for that I shall take the advice in hand and work on it. :D
 

dutchpilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, 2005, 2008, 2012
#35
Re: Re:

newfydog said:
Still have trouble with this concept of sharing? Well, with few exceptions, pilgrims of all types share the trail very well.
Never had trouble with sharing.
I like to share the footpaths with walkers, the roads with car's and cyclists.
Should we share the footpaths and cycle-paths with off-the-road motorcyles as well?

Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo
 
#36
Re: Re:

dutchpilgrim said:
newfydog said:
Still have trouble with this concept of sharing? Well, with few exceptions, pilgrims of all types share the trail very well.
Never had trouble with sharing.
I like to share the footpaths with walkers, the roads with car's and cyclists.
Should we share the footpaths and cycle-paths with off-the-road motorcyles as well?

Ultreya,
Carli Di Bortolo
I think we just need to pay heed to each other (we are all on pilgrimage - whether we recognise it or not) whilst at the same time not being a complete sulk. As a cyclist I think its wrong to go barreling past an individual and down right dangerous. I will be taking heed and will it kill us to do the same?
 
#37
We are both walkers and bikers and are going to ride the Camino late April/early May this year. All we would like to say is that in Spain (we are resident here) the general feeling is that any signed path is open to walkers and bikers. The Spanish do not seem to have the same mentality against bikers that the British walkers do. (I don´t know about people from the rest of the world).

We (married couple 60 and 56 years) are responsible bikers and look forward to meeting like minded people on the Camino whether they are walking or biking (or anything else).

Look out for us in April/May and if anyone needs any help, stop us and ask.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#38
duncan pm said:
As regards panniers and racks, the best panniers are Ortlieb. ).
Actually, we've found best panniers are the French Canadian made Arkel, and the best racks are the Old Man mountain from California. :D

Both are quite good, and Ortlieb are great on rainy roads but not as stable on a mountain bike as the Arkel mtb specific panniers.

The last trip on I did on the trans Canada trail every rack which wasn't old man mountain broke, and one rider had the trip ended by a wrist injury when her fat, bulging Ortlieb snaggeed a rock the
Arkel panniers slipped past.
 
#39
newfydog said:
duncan pm said:
As regards panniers and racks, the best panniers are Ortlieb. ).
Actually, we've found best panniers are the French Canadian made Arkel, and the best racks are the Old Man mountain from California. :D

Both are quite good, and Ortlieb are great on rainy roads but not as stable on a mountain bike as the Arkel mtb specific panniers.

The last trip on I did on the trans Canada trail every rack which wasn't old man mountain broke, and one rider had the trip ended by a wrist injury when her fat, bulging Ortlieb snaggeed a rock the
Arkel panniers slipped past.

Hmmmmm....Torrrent contemplates such advice... is a little put off by the cost of old man mountain racks though. I just don't do that much ranging at other times. I tend to route it out or belt down a mountain! Still... I contemplate. Thanks for the no doubt sound advice. they are great racks. :D

NB: So you use the old man rack with Arkel panniers with no fit problem?
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#41
Carradice panniers and Blackburn racks.

Between us my wife and I have 6 Carradice Carradry Front and Rear panniers, I carry 4 and she carries 2. They are only 20 litres a pair but we have found that is more than enough for two people and it helps with the handling of the bike having small panniers.

Do not let the opinion of a small number of walkers discourage you from responsibly cycling the path.
I have always found walkers very polite if you are considerate to them.

I do not use the path in the Pyrenees or Montes de Leon myself because the roads there are so quiet and the path more difficult but the path up to the Alto de Perdon was worth doing though on foot most of the way for us but this was some time ago.
 
#42
William Marques said:
Carradice panniers and Blackburn racks.

Between us my wife and I have 6 Carradice Carradry Front and Rear panniers, I carry 4 and she carries 2. They are only 20 litres a pair but we have found that is more than enough for two people and it helps with the handling of the bike having small panniers.

Do not let the opinion of a small number of walkers discourage you from responsibly cycling the path.
I have always found walkers very polite if you are considerate to them.

I do not use the path in the Pyrenees or Montes de Leon myself because the roads there are so quiet and the path more difficult but the path up to the Alto de Perdon was worth doing though on foot most of the way for us but this was some time ago.
Appreciate this and exploring.
 
#43
I can provide an enthusiastic endorsement for the Old Man Mountain racks. They are bomb-proof, relatively light, and will fit on virtually any mountain bike (full suspension included!). Yes, they are expensive, but they actually hold their value well. I recently posted mine for sale on Craigslist and had more than 10 offers to buy them within the first two days. Sold them for more about 65% of what I paid for them new. Think about getting OMM rack and then selling it after the Camino if you do not plan on using it.
 
#44
DesertRain said:
I can provide an enthusiastic endorsement for the Old Man Mountain racks. They are bomb-proof, relatively light, and will fit on virtually any mountain bike (full suspension included!). Yes, they are expensive, but they actually hold their value well. I recently posted mine for sale on Craigslist and had more than 10 offers to buy them within the first two days. Sold them for more about 65% of what I paid for them new. Think about getting OMM rack and then selling it after the Camino if you do not plan on using it.
I met a couple on the trabns-pennine way yesterday whilst training. They were just of completing it and were seasoned round-the-world cyclers. They were using a super-c carradice 57ltr and Altura Arran. Now the latter part of the pennine is not physically demanding on you or the bike, but the Altura had already come off twice on a deadicated cycle path. The super-c had gone round the world. They both used blackburn racks. So, I think I will have to steel myself and spend the dosh.

Torrent
 
#45
Desert Rain,

Thanks for your post. I never thought about purchasing health insurance but after your post it top of my packing list. I'm planning to ride the Camino at the end of May and have a few biking questions.

Did you plan to stay in hotels or hostels?
How many miles were you planning to ride per day?
What was your short riding experience like?

Regards

Alan


---
I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?tskzyn
 
#46
Hi Alan. For the most part, I have stayed out of the controversy of bikes on the actual Camino Frances. But since you asked, I guess I will add my 2 cents. As to the BIG question of whether bikes belong on the path, I would give an emphatic "yes" -- with a few caveats. Remember that this is a pilgrimage and not a race or adventure sport; there are many, many more challenging and interesting places to ride from a technical biking perspective. So, slow down (a lot when passing walkers), enjoy what makes the Camino special.

When I was there, it was March. This meant that there were many fewer fellow pilgrims than in the summer. Over the first four nights, there were never more than 15 or 20 people in any of the Albergues. Given that there were tons of available beds, I had no qualms staying in the hostels and was welcomed by fellow pilgrims and hosts alike. I have no idea what it would have been like during the busy time of year.

This leads to my recommendation that you consider a spring or autumn trip if at all possible. There are often only 10% or 15% the number of pilgrims during those months than during the high season. I found that this created a more "contemplative" atmosphere rather than a "summer vacation" atmosphere. It also meant that I often only passed perhaps 12-20 walkers on any given day; I slowed down and chatted with many of them, rather than weaving in and out of larger numbers. Sure, the weather is less reliable during the fall and spring, but that is also part of the challenge and a trade-off that I think is worth making.

In terms of distances, I was taking it slow, averaging only 50km/30miles per day. As I said, this was not a race for me. It allowed me to take some nice detours, stop at any interesting places along the way, and spend more time exploring my final destinations in the afternoons/evenings. I certainly could have gone much further but was happy to take it slow and easy.

Not that biking the actual Camino is always easy. Personally, I find that the physical effort of mountain biking is at least as difficult and demanding as walking, but in a different way. On climbs, for example, biking demands a much more intense level of exertion and aerobic fitness than walking; walking demands more stamina. I found that biking the hilly/mountainous areas were often a series of medium to high intensity climbs -- often on loose rocks -- followed by coasting descents. Walking (from my experience elsewhere) is more about a constant level of exertion and stamina. Which is "harder": doing 20 200 meter sprints or running a marathon? IMHO they are both hard. Just different.

Unfortunately, there are always a few bad/selfish/inconsiderate cyclists who do not know how to share the trail. However, the same can be said for walkers, drivers,equestrians, etc. The fact that such riders exist does not mean that bicycles should not be on the Camino any more than the fact that there are bad/selfish/inconsiderate drivers means that cars should be banned from the city's along the Way. It does place an added burden on us to be kind and considerate. I know that there are some walkers who would disagree. All I can say is that the Camino is a space in which it is impossible to create complete agreement on ANY topic. That is one of the things that makes it some great, yet challenging. Ask a question of 10 pilgrims and you will get 12 opinions. I would simply advocate that we all show kindness, consideration and respect, and refrain from being too judgmental of those whose perspectives we find contrary to our own.

All of that being said, would I recommend biking the Camino? Absolutely.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#47
Great post desert rain!

I think your aproach is spot on. When we did out first Camino, my wife saw a sign "Santiago, 450 km", and said "Oh no, it is going to end too soon!" We made an effort to ration the remaining kms, limiting ourselves to no more than 50 a day. It is such a nice route it would be ashame to rush through it.
 
#48
We rode the entire walker's route in early May. It's a great trail, easy most of the time with lovely views, a couple of really fun sections and some challenging short pieces. A pic of my bike set up -



Softpacks only, no panniers, luggage and kit about 18lbs inc all my bivi gear. With this set up we were able to ride the whloe trail at a good pace and enjoy the fun sections as well as feel unhindered on the open dirt paths. It was a great ride. We stayed in Albergues twice as it seemed like part of the camino experience but preferred the solitude of wild camping.
It was busy in places, but only in 'sections' depending on time of day and proximity to towns. With a bell, a 'no rush' attitude and passing with consideration it was no issue. We stopped and chatted to many walkers and it added to the route experience to me. Having said that we were lucky to get empty trails on some of the descents - aim to be on the big downhills in the late afternoon to get maximum flow! )
I wouldn't openly promote riding this route as it can be busy and I think bikes need considerate riders to avoid upsetting the nature of the route for others, but if you are a careful rider and you go very early or late season, it's a nice ride. Mid-season - forget it, way too busy I'd expect and almost pointless - some sections will be best avoided and you'll miss out on some good riding.
 
#49
On average, three times a day. I am calmly reconciled to it, and step aside when warned by bell or shout. But I think about it, and wonder a bit why I am expected to be the one who yields. If necessary, the cyclists can dismount and walk around a pedestrian. (Like that would ever happen, but it is theoretically possible.) I think many bicyclists think walkers can hear them, when, in fact, they cannot. A bicycle is loud to the rider, but to a forward facing walker with a hat, bicycles can get pretty close before they are heard, and it is quite startling.
I think this is a important point. Bells are not heard easily by walkers with hats and big rucsacs. Riders need to slow down anyway, that's just common sense. But we don't ask for anyone to yield a right of way and this is the jist of my post - a bell just lets you know I'm there and on a bike. A hello makes it more friendly imo.
In places where shared bike and walker paths are commonly used (Holland, Denmark + Germany from my experience) a ping of a bell gets no movement from walkers - they carry on and the cyclist moves past at a sensible pace. That's how it should be. The issues creep in when larger groups fill the width of a path and bikes approach uheard at speed. A bell can scatter walkers unused to shared use paths too - the rider won't know where they're moving to and the walkers feel panicked.
Slow down, ping a bell and say hello, simple. Walkers, you don't need to panic or scatter ) If you don't make a sudden move across the trail no-one is going to bump into you. Some will ride too fast, there are idiots in life, there's little we can do about that. Same for me when I'm on a road and I get buzzed by idiot drivers. I think much more than jogging pace / a steady freewheeling 5-8mph is too fast for passing walkers and bikes should always pass single-file.
 
#50
james-o said:
We rode the entire walker's route in early May. It's a great trail, easy most of the time with lovely views, a couple of really fun sections and some challenging short pieces. A pic of my bike set up -



Softpacks only, no panniers, luggage and kit about 18lbs inc all my bivi gear. With this set up we were able to ride the whloe trail at a good pace and enjoy the fun sections as well as feel unhindered on the open dirt paths. It was a great ride. We stayed in Albergues twice as it seemed like part of the camino experience but preferred the solitude of wild camping.
It was busy in places, but only in 'sections' depending on time of day and proximity to towns. With a bell, a 'no rush' attitude and passing with consideration it was no issue. We stopped and chatted to many walkers and it added to the route experience to me. Having said that we were lucky to get empty trails on some of the descents - aim to be on the big downhills in the late afternoon to get maximum flow! )
I wouldn't openly promote riding this route as it can be busy and I think bikes need considerate riders to avoid upsetting the nature of the route for others, but if you are a careful rider and you go very early or late season, it's a nice ride. Mid-season - forget it, way too busy I'd expect and almost pointless - some sections will be best avoided and you'll miss out on some good riding.

Kit list? I will do the Madrid and have my kit list, it would be good to compare and think. We will wild camp too. I would really appreciate a sense of where you camped especially after Sahagun as this is when we will join the Frances. :D

Torrent :)
 
#51
Torrent, PM replied to before I saw this post sorry. The frame bag was made by Alpkit.com in the UK who are working on some bike luggage projects, I don't know the litre capacity but I'd guess around 10l. My kit list was a normal compact/light bivi camping gear, a light down bag and down gillet in the seat stuff-bag, a thermarest in a drybag on the handlebar, a small stove and cook kit, a light 1-man tarp, headtorch, toolkit and spares etc in the frame bag. Clothes and a hydration pack in a light 18l rucsac, it's good to have a bag with spare space for carrying food during the day.

I couldn't really describe where we stayed, albergues for 2 nights, otherwise wherever looked good around 7pm, we weren't lighting fires or staying long and stuck to what looked like common access or scrub ground. Mostly in out of town areas of woodland, fields, near a bridge on open track farmland etc. I hope I'm not promoting something that's frowned upon there.. general advise was in out-of-sight areas and using good camping consideration it's ok.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016)
#52
I just returned from my first Camino (walked Camino Frances with my 15 yr son). I'm starting to research biking it two years from now because that is what my middle son wants to do. This has raised the thought --- will I become the cyclist I hate?

My experience as a walker is that there are two kinds of cyclists --- those with whom I had no problem "sharing" the trail with and then buying their cervesa/vino afterward, and those who I would liked to have sent straight to hell by jamming my walking stick into their front wheel and allowing them to cartwheel over the side of the mountain. This was the common sentiment of most of us who were walking, by the way. For me at least, it isn't because I dislike cyclists (I ride regularly).

The absolute differentiator is courtesy. On one side are those who rang a bell early and often, who slow down while passing, and/or who give a friendly announcement. On the other side were those that zipped by at high speed without warning or yelled at us at the very last second for not yielding (we didn't hear them coming) which forced them to tap their brakes.

If I had to quantify, only one out of four prior to Astorga deserved hell. However, past Astorga the volume of cyclists exploded and two out of three deserved an express trip to hell. There was a definite influx of rudeness and a clear difference before and after Astorga. Then, after the walkers surge at Sarria, it was frequently too crowded to be safe for cyclists. I saw two cyclist/pedestrian accidents in five days, and the results were not pretty.

Perhaps the classic example of rudeness was about an hour out of Astorga, when we walkers were still fairly clumped up. A pack of thirty to forty cyclists came roaring down the path at breakneck speed, forcing everyone off into the ditch or bushes. Five feet to the left was an empty road running parallel to the trail, and not a single cyclist chose to use it. :evil: :twisted: :evil: :twisted:

I gladly stepped out of the way for every polite cyclist. I smiled, waved, and wished them Buen Camino. On the other hand, once I got past the impulse to jump out of the way when a rude cyclist startled me, I simply continued to walk without budging and the rude cyclist could pound sand all day in my wake until the trail permitted them to pass.

Thus, so as not to become the kind of cyclist I hate, I plan to A) use a bell, B) announce early and often, C) pass slowly, D) stay on the road when the trails are busy, E) be an ambassador of courtesy.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
#53
Dang, I have not biked the Frances for several years, and it sounds as though all my worst fears have come true.

No big deal to me....if I do it again it will be winter.

And the other routes are downright lonely....

But I always loved bopping along, talking with the hikers, then rolling along to meet the next group. Sure it got crowded at Sarria, but at that point it is pretty easy to just go with the flow.

Well, if the bikers involve some jerks, I apologize for my clan, and remember, two wrongs don't make a right. Share the route and perhaps a few of then will see your example and do the same.
 

jcatienza

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances March 2012
Frances April 2015
#54
We rode the entire walker's route in early May. It's a great trail, easy most of the time with lovely views, a couple of really fun sections and some challenging short pieces. A pic of my bike set up -



Softpacks only, no panniers, luggage and kit about 18lbs inc all my bivi gear. With this set up we were able to ride the whloe trail at a good pace and enjoy the fun sections as well as feel unhindered on the open dirt paths. It was a great ride. We stayed in Albergues twice as it seemed like part of the camino experience but preferred the solitude of wild camping.
It was busy in places, but only in 'sections' depending on time of day and proximity to towns. With a bell, a 'no rush' attitude and passing with consideration it was no issue. We stopped and chatted to many walkers and it added to the route experience to me. Having said that we were lucky to get empty trails on some of the descents - aim to be on the big downhills in the late afternoon to get maximum flow! )
I wouldn't openly promote riding this route as it can be busy and I think bikes need considerate riders to avoid upsetting the nature of the route for others, but if you are a careful rider and you go very early or late season, it's a nice ride. Mid-season - forget it, way too busy I'd expect and almost pointless - some sections will be best avoided and you'll miss out on some good riding.
nice set-up. I also bought the revelate packs but my Sycip on S&S might arrive in September 2013 (I ordered it last November 2012)
 

Carol06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2012)
Frances (May 2015) all going well and with my husband this time.
#55
I would value feedback from both Pilgrims on foot and cyclists with regard to cycling the actual Camino path as opposed to roads (which 'apparently' only 'follow closely' the original trail)....

Thanks for as much and varying 'insight' into what I can expect --
David
I do not know about the authenticity of road versus Camino path, but I would have to say that I grew to hate the cyclists who chose to cycle on the pathways. The majority of them were inconsiderate of walkers and gave you no notice of their presence until they were almost on top of you. Sometimes we would hear a piercing whistle and think it was a farmer calling their dog, only to find a cyclist hurtling down at you. I was knocked off my feet more than once and was sorely tempted to thrust my walking pole into the spokes of their wheels. Not pilgrim like behaviour on my part at all. A number of people said that cyclists are not legally allowed on the Camino path and must stay on the road. I do not know the truth of this. Can someone clarify this? All I would ask is that if you do ride on the path, be considerate of the walkers. We are so often in our own head space and meditative that we do not know there is a cyclist hard on out heels. We are all in danger of being hurt in a crash.
 

freeflyer123

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycling the camino de Santiago "2013"
#56
It hurt me to read some of these entries and makes me glad that we, on the whole, kept to the road while cycling the Camino. Having said that, many of the main roads we were forced to use were blatant death traps for anybody on a bike as monstrous trucks would hurtle passed us on occasion. More than once my life flashed before my eyes and I was positive that I would not live to get back home to my loved ones. On the rare occasions when we did use the tracks, we always tried to let those walking know (we both had bells and good clear voices to hail as we passed). On the whole, these meetings were amicable but, as mentioned above, the closer we got to Santiago, the more walkers and cyclists there were and it became pretty hairy trying to negotiate around people. But I am well aware that many of the walkers who are only doing the requisite 100 kilometers were a 'different breed' and intent on enjoying themselves with this new experience, so would often just not hear cyclists behind them. I agree that we all need to take a short breath and try to see things from everybody else's perspective. I hope to experience the 'other side of the coin' in the coming years, as I think walking the Camino will bring its own unique experience.
 

Davroos

Active Member
#57
Such anger can be felt within this !!! Walkers hate cyclists, cyclists hate cars and cars hate everyone !!! But once, we were all walkers/cyclists/drivers, yet we can't see each others joy.

Having walked and cycled Caminos, I have never had a problem on the track. Maybe it is because I have never done the French way. However, after a long weekend in Leon visiting various Camino towns, I was amazed with the amount of pilgrims on this route. I stopped and spoke to many, both walkers/cyclists and they all seemed to get on.

I do not know about the authenticity of road versus Camino path, but I would have to say that I grew to hate the cyclists who chose to cycle on the pathways. The majority of them were inconsiderate of walkers and gave you no notice of their presence until they were almost on top of you. Sometimes we would hear a piercing whistle and think it was a farmer calling their dog, only to find a cyclist hurtling down at you. I was knocked off my feet more than once and was sorely tempted to thrust my walking pole into the spokes of their wheels. Not pilgrim like behaviour on my part at all. A number of people said that cyclists are not legally allowed on the Camino path and must stay on the road. I do not know the truth of this. Can someone clarify this? All I would ask is that if you do ride on the path, be considerate of the walkers. We are so often in our own head space and meditative that we do not know there is a cyclist hard on out heels. We are all in danger of being hurt in a crash.
What gets me is that there are signs on the track between Burgos and Leon stating that this is for both cyclists and walkers so for this to be illegal, um, I don't think so, not unless the signs that I saw were telling fibs !!!

Anyway, the people I feel sorry for most are the horse riders. They are bigger, take up more of the track and are even more startled by both walkers/cyclists. Has anyone had a thought/care for them?
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#58
there are signs on the track between Burgos and Leon stating that this is for both cyclists and walkers
There are many stretches of senda, created for wheelchairs, pedestrians, and bicycles. They are wide and easily shared. I think foot pilgrims dislike some of the cyclists who ride on sections requiring mountain bikes. The cyclists can startle the walkers, and often seem to expect the walkers to yield to them. Many of these off-road stretches are within 100 meters of a road! Cyclists are out in the rocks just to prove their manhood, often at the expense of the foot traffic. I do not think anyone has said that it is illegal for bicyclists to use even these parts of the Camino; just rude!o_O
 

Davroos

Active Member
#59
Falcon, I quoted Carol06 and here it is again

I do not know about the authenticity of road versus Camino path, but I would have to say that I grew to hate the cyclists who chose to cycle on the pathways. The majority of them were inconsiderate of walkers and gave you no notice of their presence until they were almost on top of you. Sometimes we would hear a piercing whistle and think it was a farmer calling their dog, only to find a cyclist hurtling down at you. I was knocked off my feet more than once and was sorely tempted to thrust my walking pole into the spokes of their wheels. Not pilgrim like behaviour on my part at all. A number of people said that cyclists are not legally allowed on the Camino path and must stay on the road. I do not know the truth of this. Can someone clarify this? All I would ask is that if you do ride on the path, be considerate of the walkers. We are so often in our own head space and meditative that we do not know there is a cyclist hard on out heels. We are all in danger of being hurt in a crash.
Reading the above, it seems that people do believe that it is illegal !!!

There are many stretches of senda, created for wheelchairs, pedestrians, and bicycles. They are wide and easily shared. I think foot pilgrims dislike some of the cyclists who ride on sections requiring mountain bikes. The cyclists can startle the walkers, and often seem to expect the walkers to yield to them. Many of these off-road stretches are within 100 meters of a road! Cyclists are out in the rocks just to prove their manhood, often at the expense of the foot traffic. I do not think anyone has said that it is illegal for bicyclists to use even these parts of the Camino; just rude!attachFull5976
Just because I ride on the track, I am not trying to prove my manhood, where did you get this idea from? I ride on the track as I want to steer clear of the traffic, I feel safer !!! Maybe you should try walking on the side of the road if as you say it is only 100 metres away and see if you like the traffic rushing by !!! I have walked and rode as I stated and always steer clear of the walkers, in fact the worst walkers out there are the ones with headphones as they can't hear a thing in general. I suffer the same everyday when I ride on the road to/from work with other cyclists doing this.

And as I said before, walkers hate cyclist, cyclists hate cars, cars hate everyone whilst it seems that the horses have the easiest ride of them all
 

Attachments

vicrev

Active Member
#60
I thought it was supposed to be a happy carefree walk,reading some of these posts it seems to be the exact opposite for some people !!!!:(.....a lot of anger here !..........shame ..........Vicrev
 

Carol06

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2012)
Frances (May 2015) all going well and with my husband this time.
#61
This is a very fraught discussion. It all comes down to respecting the other people on the Camino be they walkers or cyclists. I never actually said that it is illegal for cyclists to use the trail. Rather I asked whether this is actually true. It appears that it is just another Camino myth. Let us just learn to make room for everybody. Unfortunately I suspect that the people who should be following this discussion don't even know this wonderful forum exists.
 

Davroos

Active Member
#62
Carol06, you stated that a number of people said it was illegal, and yes you did question this. The problem here is that there is a thing called Chinese whispers, and words do spread like wildfire !!!

There are cyclists who do ride to fast/dangerously, but in their eyes, they believe that they are in control, just like walkers I have come across on the route after Melide who insist on walking 4 or more across the trail and even ringing a bell, saying hi, buon camino, they would not move. Neither walkers/cyclists/horse riders own the trail, but everyone needs to get along and share. Isn't this what we tell/teach our children to do?

And when I do eventually ride the full trail, I will be riding the trail, not the road, I am not trying to prove my manhood, neither is my girlfriend. We are doing this for the enjoyment of not riding on the road, away from the pollution and to see the countryside.
 

Zita

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
future Oct 2017
#64
Sorry to say this, but based on research done by participants in other forums, 90% of today's Caminos are not thought to be the original Caminos that pilgrims took once upon a time. Whoever is interested, I could put u in contact with Spanish monoligual experts on the subject. Likewise for the Roman roads we so often walk upon-for that one I have an essay in Spanish, should anyone be interested in reading. They have been replaced by modern roads, economics, highways, politics, bridges, swamps, greed, etc. Example: check out "Yesa." Best, xm 8)
My husband and I are planning to do the 100k of the Camino from Sarria to Santiago. I will be walking and he will be cycling. We plan to meet up for lunch and then again at the end of the planned day. Given that he will be waiting for me... a lot... which is find by him... do the cycling roads meet up with the walking path. thanks for any suggestion
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#65
Yes they often cross paths and sometime run together and where they do not your husband will have the time to track back a little if necessary.
 

Saint Mike II

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#66
I would value feedback from both Pilgrims on foot and cyclists with regard to cycling the actual Camino path as opposed to roads (which 'apparently' only 'follow closely' the original trail)....

Thanks for as much and varying 'insight' into what I can expect --
David
If you search back through this section of the forum you will find 95% of the info you seek. Put in my name & also newfydog, I cycled from Pamplona in September 2015 & followed around 500km of the walkers Camino. BTW I have just finished walking from St Jean to Santiago & I can tell there are many places you should NOT even consider taking the bike. Despite this some dopes do try.
 

trecile

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug-Sept(2016) SJPDP-Finisterre, July-Aug(2017) SJPDP-Muxia-Finisterre, July-Aug(2018) El Norte
#67
My husband and I are planning to do the 100k of the Camino from Sarria to Santiago. I will be walking and he will be cycling. We plan to meet up for lunch and then again at the end of the planned day. Given that he will be waiting for me... a lot... which is find by him... do the cycling roads meet up with the walking path. thanks for any suggestion
Just in case you didn't know, your husband will not qualify for a Compestela, as those on bikes need to cycle the last 200 km to Santiago, while walkers need to walk the last 100 km to qualify.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2019 will be my first
#68
A road is a path that's been widened, straightened, and covered with tarmac. :)

I'd agree for some sections. Much of Pamplona-Logrono-Burgos, for example, was created in the 11th century and remains a main road today. This used to be a problem for walkers, as there were lengthy stretches where you had to walk along the road. However, as you say, there are now new off-road paths for walkers to follow. These new paths are deliberately intended for both cyclists and walkers, so sharing shouldn't be a problem.

With Burgos-Leon on the other hand, once the administrative and commercial centre shifted south to Toledo and Madrid, there ceased to be much need for a road. Once the pilgrim traffic dried up too, the old Roman/medieval road was only used by local farm traffic. So the 'original trail' is now the waymarked Camino.

However, I'm not sure it makes sense to think of 'the original trail'. In Navarre for example the Roman road Pamplona-Burgos went to the north of the current Camino Frances; in the late Middle Ages, the road shifted from Roncesvalles to the coast, completely bypassing Navarre. Which of these is 'the original trail'? (And as for the 'original' pre-Roman road, who knows where that went!)



I would agree. In general, most of the Camino is track or minor road that can be used by both walkers and cyclists without problem (though some of the surfaces might be a problem for cycling, particularly in wet conditions). Only small sections are narrow footpaths that are really walkers only. The better guidebooks highlight the problem sections for cyclists and suggest alternatives.
Thanks for a very informative thread.

Which guidebooks are you referring to. We would also like to do the walkers path at a very slow pace. However my wife is new to cycling and therefore would like to use alternatives in the difficult or "problem" sections.
I thank you.
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#69
Peter was writing in 2006 and I am not sure how often he still looks at the forum.

I do not know which guidebooks he was referring to but my suggestion would be that you stick to the road whenever you are in the mountains - for me this would be from SJPP to Puente la Reina, from Astorga to Ponferrada and from Villifranca to Tricastela.

I would also suggest buying Cycling Pilgrim on the Camino Francés from the CSJ at £2.50
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Camino(s) past & future
2015 & 2016 (partial)
#70
Answering your question about cycling the walkers path, with care and consideration to the walkers it is possible to cycle almost all of the path. There are places in the Pyrenees and Montes de Leon where it is probably better to take quiet nearby road than negotiate the steep narrow track on a fully loaded bike.
And in Galicia. I recommend getting a guide like one of the PDFs at bicigrino.com and considering their advice on the parts to avoid. Unless you just want to prove to yourself that it's possible.
You will need mountain bike or 26in wheeled tourer if you are going to cycle the path without risk of damaging your bike, ….
I must disagree. The four hundred kilometers Estella-Hontanas-Zamora-León¹ were MUCH easier than the 170 I did Santiago-Hospital-Cee-Hospital-Ézaro-Cee-Fisterra-Muxía-Cee—and I did the latter on a Brompton, with sixteen-inch wheels pulling a 37-kilogram trailer. I highly recommend against that (now that I know what it's like), but I survived, and so did the bike. Did get a flat tire thanks to one of the very rocky parts.
If you are cycling the path you daily distance will be 60% or so of what you would do on the road. This is partly due to the terrain and also to the need to slow down to a walking pace and give the walkers warning when you pass them. If you don't even the most Christian of them will make a derogatory remark about you, cyclists in general, your upbringing, your lycra etc....
Please, please, be extremely nice to the walkers. Not only do many of them not understand the language you are warning them in, they just don't hear you or your bell. Without a clear sign that they are responding, pass very slowly and carefully. Anticipate they might realize you are there at the last moment and jump right in front of you! I would have liked to "educate" some of the cycling jerks I witnessed who acted like they need to teach a lesson to these pedestrians blocking THEIR path. (But walkers can be rude too. Nearly a dozen Italians coming toward me in a line all the way across a two-lane paved road maintained their line until they were forced to break the line to get past me.)

¹600-km route but due to time, thefts, and other issues not related to the path itself, I had to skip parts by bus.
 
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    Votes: 3 0.5%
  • March

    Votes: 26 4.3%
  • April

    Votes: 94 15.7%
  • May

    Votes: 156 26.1%
  • June

    Votes: 47 7.9%
  • July

    Votes: 12 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 9 1.5%
  • September

    Votes: 167 27.9%
  • October

    Votes: 66 11.0%
  • November

    Votes: 8 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 3 0.5%
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