HOW TO RIDE THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO BY BIKE?
- 1 HOW TO RIDE THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO BY BIKE?
- 1.1 What path?
- 1.2 What bike?
- 1.3 Is it the French way for everyone?
- 1.4 When to do the Camino de Santiago?
- 1.5 Do I have to prepare the bike?
- 1.6 What luggage to bring?
- 1.7 Where to start?
- 1.8 How to transport the bicycle?
- 1.9 How to overtake the hikers?
- 1.10 Is it good to turn the route into a race?
- 1.11 Should there be a preparation before hand?
- 2 RENT YOUR BIKE FOR THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
From Terra Bike Tours we want to give some basic tips for doing the Camino de Santiago by bicycle, specifically a total of 10 + 1 tips that we have captured in a video from our YouTube channel and that we hope will be of help to those future bikegrims who are thinking of venturing to follow the path of pilgrims riding a bike.
To give you some advice we’ve asked some questions and answered them with our knowledge from several trips to Santiago.
In the Iberian Peninsula there are several ways to do: French, northern, English, silver, Sant Jaume and Portuguese, among others. Of course if we extend the range to Europe we will still find more. The best known and most people think of when talking about the Camino is the French, so we will talk about this route.
Once the path is chosen, we must choose the type of bicycle that best suits the route. Mountain, trekking, road, gravel, electric? At TBT we have done it in mountain, hybrid, road and gravel. You can see our version of the Camino de Santiago en bicicleta to see what services and stages we offer.
Is it the French way for everyone?
If we want to travel on EXACTLY the same trails that hikers do with a mountain bike, we must know that there are parts that are quite technical, witch a mountain bike does and that its not the best option for people who are not used to mountain biking. We must not forget that the path has been made for hikers. If we are not so purist we can opt for easier versions that combine sections of the route with very secondary roads, this gives us the opportunity to do it with hybrid or gravel. At TBT we also have a version for a road bike that allows us to discover roads around the area, expanding the route to towns and ports that the hikers do not get to know.
When to do the Camino de Santiago?
If we are lucky enough to be able to choose our holidays, we must try to avoid the months of July and August, which is when an average of 500 pilgrims leave a day from Roncesvalles and everything becomes more complicated. May, June and September are undoubtedly the best months since the weather is good and there are fewer people.
Do I have to prepare the bike?
Some people make the mistake of taking a cheap or old bicycle thinking of leaving it in Santiago so that they do not have transport it back. I can assure you that this is a guarantee of failure. Not only do you have to choose a bicycle in good condition (as the hibrid bikes we rent at Terra Bike Tours) but you also have to choose a bicycle adapted and designed to carry weight. Watch out for carbon, light rims and tubeless tires because they are not intended to carry weight, they are designed to be lightweight and perform well in competition. In addition to spare inner tubes, it is important to carry the specific spare parts that your bicycle may need, such as hangers or specific hardware. It seems unlikely but not always along the way we find bicycle shops with everything we may need.
What luggage to bring?
To enjoy the route, we recommend carrying the minimum possible, trying not to exceed 15kg of luggage. You can choose to transport luggage as in the options offered by our agency if you do not want the weight to condition your ride. There are several types of panniers but it is important that you try it before and make sure that they are resistant and that you do not lose things along the way.
Where to start?
The books of the French route begin in St. Jean, which implies crossing the Pyrenees on the first day. We advise you to get to Pamplona and start in Roncesvalles, starting from the border to Santiago and once there if you want to make it a long journey go to Finisterre. Starting by crossing the high mountains of the Pyrenees can be very demotivating and with an initial physical and logistical wear that we see unnecessary. Another year we will do the Pyrenees if it is what we want to do.
How to transport the bicycle?
The logistics of before and after on bicycle trips is always complicated. If we travel by long-distance train, the bike must be well packed, if we travel by bus, the bike will go in the cellar and it’s scary to leave it there. We recommend traveling by train or bus to Pamplona with the bike packed in a cardboard box (those used by the brands to send it to the stores) and on the way back send it with a transport service. Nowadays there are several transport companies that offer this service and supply the packaging. You can consult us about this matter.
How to overtake the hikers?
The path was not initially thought for bicycles and just as in cities we must respect pedestrians, on the path we must respect the hikers. Courtesy and respect should be the keynote towards those who have been walking for almost a month. We advise slowing down when we see hikers, greet them, interact with them, do not ring the bell, shout, do not ask to overtake them in a scandalous way like if in a race and of course do not throw wrappers of gels, bottles, etc.
Is it good to turn the route into a race?
Today there are many bicycle trials where we can demonstrate our competitive instincts, this route should not be taken that way. Our advice is to enjoy the scenery, interact with locals, talk to other cyclists and hikers, learn from their experience, take photos if you like photography, and see how landscapes change as the days go by.
Should there be a preparation before hand?
We know people who have given up, have not finished or have suffered during the whole route instead of enjoying it, since they thought it was a simple bike ride. It’s not like the Tour de France but it is not a route where we can start out in the world of cycling. You have to go with a minimum training and above all having done several consecutive days of cycling, adapting the bottom, the body and the mind to pedal day after day and testing the material before. Trying and breaking in material on the road is not a good idea.
RENT YOUR BIKE FOR THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
If you do not have a proper bike to do the Camino de Santiago contact us and we will advise you on the best bike according to the type of trail you want to achieve. We have a wide fleet of rental bicycles for all types of bikegrims.
WE HOPE THAT OUR ADVICE WILL BE USEFUL
MUY BUEN CAMINO TO EVERYONE!!!
Along the Camino there are several indications and it is very well indicated, both with yellow arrows and with symbols of La Concha or others.
Even if we go by bicycle the pace should be such that it allows us to interact with the locals and with other hikers or cyclists.