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Camino de Santiago by bike: 4 things to bear in mind

Camino de Santiago by bike: 4 things to bear in mind

If you are thinking of doing the Camino de Santiago by bike, there are a number of aspects to consider. Not only the bike and the times. Here we talk about those issues to which you will need to spend some time before embarking on the adventure.
Camino de Santiago by bicycle

Doing the Camino de Santiago by bike is one of the most exciting adventures you can experience, just like doing it on foot. But cycling has its advantages. First of all, you can cover more distance in less time, which means that you will need fewer days to cover the stretch that you have proposed. The minimum to get the compostela is 200 km, but most people opt for longer distances. This reduction in time can be very welcome in an era full of haste and with little free time like ours.

Doing the Camino de Santiago by bike has other advantages. By moving faster you can see more immediately the variation of landscapes, villages, culture and gastronomy that occur along the entire route, especially on longer routes. In other words, it offers a more concentrated version of the experience. It also helps those who want to get fit and do the Camino for sporting reasons, as it is a workout that works more muscles than when you move on foot. And if you are one of those who prefer to carry your own luggage, it will also allow you to carry a larger amount in your saddlebags, but we will talk about that later.

All this in addition to being a great way to connect with nature and disconnect from everyday life - which is undoubtedly the main reason for most pilgrims. It is a golden opportunity to leave behind the stress and tension of your daily life. If you manage to focus on the Camino and the landscape that surrounds you and that you are going to walk in the coming days, you will enjoy the experience to the fullest and the restorative benefits for physical and mental health will be immense.

But in any case, it is important to plan well before embarking on the Camino cycling adventure. Good planning includes choosing the right time of year to do the Camino, the right travel agency to do it, the starting point and, most importantly, choosing the right bike. Not all Caminos are the same, so not all bicycles are suitable for the Camino.

Camino de Santiago by bicycle
The Camino de Santiago by bicycle is not only about pedalling, but also about stopping and enjoying yourself

Which bicycle to choose?

Many of the pilgrims who make the Camino de Santiago by bike use their own bikes. It makes sense if you have a lot of habit of pedalling and your body is perfectly adapted to your bike. But if this is not the case, if for you the bike is a very sporadic option, then we recommend renting one.

Renting a bike is always cheaper and more convenient. Why is that? Firstly, because we send it to you at the starting point, saving you the trouble of dismantling, packing and shipping it. And the cost that this entails. Also, bear in mind that you will have to do the operation twice: once to send it to your starting point and once from the finish line to your home. In addition, bicycles suffer on the Camino. By renting one you avoid damage and wear and tear that can exceed 100€.

The bikes we use are tested to withstand the demands of this route and we deliver them to you in optimum condition thanks to a double check system. In short: you save yourself damage, logistics and worries. And it pays off. That is why it is one of the most demanded services by pilgrims who rely on Viando or other agencies.

Guide to the Way of Saint James for beginners
More than 80 pages of information designed for walkers and pilgrims starting out on the Way of St. James.

That said, it is important to choose a mid-range or better bike with front shock absorption, as the Camino de Santiago is riddled with bumps and uneven terrain. A bike without shock absorption can be very hard on our joints and can ruin the experience and wreck our bodies (as well as the equipment itself will suffer more).

If it is the first time you are going to do the Camino de Santiago by bike we recommend that you consult us, so we can offer you the bike that best suits you. From Viando we have the option to rent the bike if you do not want to use yours or move it, something that is usually quite cumbersome once the Camino is finished.

The bicycles we provide are adjusted to your height, and are designed for the Camino de Santiago. Besides being able to choose between different categories of bike, you can also decide if you want an extra push and rent an electric bike. The choice is up to you.

Essential accessories for the Camino de Santiago by bicycle

Once you have chosen the right bike, it is important to equip it with the necessary accessories. Undoubtedly, at the top of the list is the pannier, which is the element used to attach the panniers to the rear wheel. This accessory must be highly resistant and adaptable to the characteristics of our bicycle. It is important to invest in a good quality pannier, as it will suffer a lot when crossing uneven areas and is one of the fundamental pillars of our ride to Santiago de Compostela. If you don't want to carry a load, remember that we can take care of moving your luggage between each stage, so you won't have to carry extra weight.

Another important accessory is the bike panniers. It is important to choose panniers that are compatible with your pannier and that fit perfectly. Our recommendation is to only buy panniers for the rear wheel of the bicycle, to avoid problems of manoeuvrability.

The rest of the accessories recommended to be a complete bicigrino and do the Camino de Santiago by bike are: a water bottle or hydration backpack, lighting (front and rear lights), multi-tool kit, patches and inflation pump, speedometer, padlock and a pair of elastic octopuses in case it is necessary to attach something to the pannier.

Our recommendation is to carry only rear panniers on the Camino de Santiago by bicycle.

Bicigrino's luggage. What to pack in your panniers

In addition to the accessories, it is important to plan the luggage, taking into account that if we do the Camino de Santiago by bike we will not need the same as if we do it on foot.

It is essential to wear comfortable and breathable clothing if you do the Camino in summer, as it will be hot during the day and you will be under the sun doing sport. Keep in mind that you will be a few hours on the bike and good shorts -short or long, to suit your tastes- will be necessary for your pilgrimage. It is also important to wear comfortable cycling shoes. Better still footwear with cleats, to favour the grip on the pedal. Good gloves to protect your hands and a windproof jacket.

If you plan to cycle the Camino de Santiago in autumn or winter, when rainfall is more frequent, it is advisable to pack waterproof trousers, mackintosh and boot covers in your saddlebags.

In addition to the clothes that we have indicated for pedalling on the bike, you will need clothes for when you finish your stage of the day. That you can get off the bike and walk and discover the wonderful attractions of the Camino de Santiago. Also add food suitable for the effort you are going to make. We recommend this article on Food on the Camino de Santiago. 5 tips to take care of it and enjoy it.

Planning is the key

Once we have chosen the right bike, accessories and luggage for a Camino de Santiago by bike, it is important to plan our route with a specialised travel agency. Good planning can make all the difference to your experience and make the Camino safer and more comfortable. It can provide you with the best routes, the most suitable accommodation (with bike racks) and the necessary services for your journey. In addition, as mentioned above, we can also provide you with fully compatible bikes and accessories, depending on your needs, which saves you the hassle of having to worry about these details.

At Viando we work with the company Tour'n'rideWe highly recommend it if you are thinking of renting a bike for your Camino. Just remember that you can also do it directly with us when you make your reservation.

The Camino de Santiago is, without a doubt, a unique and unforgettable experience that any bicycle lover should consider for their next trip. Are you up for it?

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