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Advice please - cycle touring Caminos in Spain

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Advice please - cycle touring Caminos in Spain

Old 06-26-22, 10:00 PM
  #1  
RogerNinOz
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Advice please - cycle touring Caminos in Spain

Hi all.

I'm hoping to get some practical advice on solo touring one of the Camino trails (not sure which yet) in Spain in early (probably April) 2023. After reading many websites and books Im still not clear on a few things so here are my specific questions:

1. Which of the various camino routes in Spain is best in terms of traversing wooded areas with small villages (not open plains or mountains)?

2. Are the albergues friendly to "pilgrims" on bikes. Do they have safe places to lock bikes? Do they kick you out during the day so that you need to take your bike with you if you decide to stay in one town for a couple of days? Do they have lockers for your stuff so that it is safe while you are away from the albergue? Do they have any cooking facilities or just microwaves to heat up food?

3. If I arrive (by air) into England with my bike (in a box), how's the best way to get me and my bike to Spain via train? Do the trains need to be booked? Does a bike need to be in a box?

4. If I manage to arrive in Madrid with my own bike, what's the best way to transport me an my bike within Spain to the start of my ride?

5. If I decide that taking my own bike is too much hassle, do you have any advice on what to consider (and traps to avoid) if I decide to hire a bike for 3 weeks?

Grateful for any advice you can offer.

Thanks in advance

ps. I'm in Australia.
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Old 06-27-22, 07:35 AM
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raybo
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This page has 3 links to information about the Camino in Spain. They might provide a place to start in your searching.

Last edited by raybo; 06-28-22 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 06-27-22, 08:08 AM
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I toured in Spain as part of a longer European tour in 2016.

1. I wouldn't recommend following a Camino route and expect to get the same experience as the walkers. I'd personally create my own route. Spain is very easy to navigate. Stay off the big motorways and you'll see little traffic.
2. It probably depends, but the only albergue I tried to stay in that happened to be on a Camino route prioritized the walkers.
3. If you're flying from Australia, why not fly to Paris or Madrid? That being said, we met lots of English cyclists on holiday near the Picos de Europa who had taken a ferry from their homeland to get to Spain.
4. Spain has regional trains that allow bikes.
5. I would never hire a bike for a long trip. You don't know what condition it's in and if it'll be comfortable.
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Old 06-27-22, 04:57 PM
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RogerNinOz
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thanks Raybo, but the link doesnt work

Last edited by RogerNinOz; 06-27-22 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 06-27-22, 05:00 PM
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Thanks Nicnak
1. I was thinking of travelling a Camino route as it would have better services, but I could be wrong.
3. I would fly direct but want to use point with a carrier that goes to Heathrow, which means I can take a bike with me for a few extra points
4. thanks
5. I would normally agree having hired some fairly bad bikes, but the hassle of carting a bike around the world is making me think twice.
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Old 06-27-22, 07:36 PM
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indyfabz
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I stayed in several hostels, etc., while touring the south. They always found a secure place for my bike.
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Old 06-27-22, 09:49 PM
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Doug64
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Instead of cycling one of the Cominos "because it would have better services"; why not look at places or areas you would like to visit, and plan your own route.

Our experience in Spain was route planning is pretty straightforward.

Last edited by Doug64; 06-27-22 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 06-27-22, 10:19 PM
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The Camino is attractive because it is so popular and even a few movies were made about it. If it's a pilgrimage you're looking for specifically, there are several in Europe.
One I've wanted to try is the Via Francigena. Canterbury to Rome.
https://www.viefrancigene.org/en/cycling-path/
Let us know how it turns out
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Old 06-28-22, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by RogerNinOz View Post
thanks Raybo, but the link doesnt work
Sorry. I have fixed the link.
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Old 06-29-22, 07:35 AM
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Spain is a great country to bike. I did the CdS backwards beginning of April 2000. If you go during the shoulder season, you'll encounter less walkers, better chance of a bed in those hostels which are open (not all are, as I recall), etc. Also, Camino hostels that fill up I believe have no problem letting you sleep outside if possible. Finding a place for the bike shouldn't be a problem. As for theft, treat your bike as you normally would, but hey, most of these folks are religious pilgrims. Crime isn't on their minds! Haha
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Old 07-01-22, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by RogerNinOz View Post
Hi all.

I'm hoping to get some practical advice on solo touring one of the Camino trails (not sure which yet) in Spain in early (probably April) 2023. After reading many websites and books Im still not clear on a few things so here are my specific questions:

1. Which of the various camino routes in Spain is best in terms of traversing wooded areas with small villages (not open plains or mountains)?

2. Are the albergues friendly to "pilgrims" on bikes. Do they have safe places to lock bikes? Do they kick you out during the day so that you need to take your bike with you if you decide to stay in one town for a couple of days? Do they have lockers for your stuff so that it is safe while you are away from the albergue? Do they have any cooking facilities or just microwaves to heat up food?

3. If I arrive (by air) into England with my bike (in a box), how's the best way to get me and my bike to Spain via train? Do the trains need to be booked? Does a bike need to be in a box?

4. If I manage to arrive in Madrid with my own bike, what's the best way to transport me an my bike within Spain to the start of my ride?

5. If I decide that taking my own bike is too much hassle, do you have any advice on what to consider (and traps to avoid) if I decide to hire a bike for 3 weeks?

Grateful for any advice you can offer.

Thanks in advance

ps. I'm in Australia.
1. You don't say how long you have and there are dozens of "Camino" routes. However, there are not many that will exclude mountains and plains. Spain is hilly!
The Villa de la Plata is a very popular cycling route / Camino route.

2. Many voluntary & Municipal Albergues will prioritise walkers over cyclists. However that normally means waiting until mid afternoon. Private Albergues not so much. Money is money. Bike security should be fine.
However, it very much depends on your route (Camino) and how popular it is.

I think the "Albergue" experience is vital to experiencing a pilgrimage but it is possibly the antithesis of a bike tour. Most pilgrims are in bed early for very early morning starts.

3. UK trains are a mess of private operators all with their own rules. Best check on a UK site.
France should be more straightforward but rules have changed post COVID. It may be a slightly roundabout, slow way to go. There are ferries from the UK to Spain.
However.....
Why do you want to bypass France? A great country to cycle in and it also has a few Camino routes running through it.

4. RENFE is the Spanish train operator. You may need to box your bike. However, again, there are Camino routes running from Madrid to Santiago.

5. I hired a bike and panniers from a shop in Santiago for a girlfriend for a week. Descent bike, no problems. There are lots of bike rental places. How suitable, I suppose, depends on you and your needs.

As others have said if you're planning on following a Camino route for services you're missing out on a lot. Cycling in Spain is wonderful (I'm here now) and very, very easy from a logistical point of view but it can be a tough terrain and weather can be difficult.

I cycled from the Netherlands to Santiago (and back). My time on the Camino (Frances - the most popular route) was not like any bike tour I've done, nor like the before and after sections.

My strong advise to you is to figure out if you want the "Pilgrimage" or Bike Tour experience and plan accordingly. If it's a Bike Tour then I don't understand flying to the UK to then travel by train to Spain. It seems like so much hassle (and missing a great cycling country).

www.caminodesantiago.me is a good resource for all Camino routes. Not the friendliest towards cyclists, though :-)

Last edited by HobbesOnTour; 07-01-22 at 07:19 AM.
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