THE CAMINO BY BIKE
Cycling the Camino de Santiago has recently become a very popular experience for those who want to give this adventure a twist. On two wheels, sections are longer and you therefore need fewer days to complete the Way. Before you leave, here you have some answers to your most frequently asked questions:
How many kilometres do you need to complete to get the Compostela Certificate?
While for the Camino on foot you need 100 kilometres to get the Compostela, by bike, you will have to finish at least 200 kilometres. During your trip, you will have to get daily stamps on your Credencial or Pilgrim Passport attesting that you have completed a particular stretch.
Do you need any special Pilgrim Passport to do the Camino by bike?
No. The Pilgrim Passport is the same for all pilgrims, whether they do the Camino on foot, by bike or on horse. Please remember that you can get it at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago, or through any St James Society and other points such as parishes, diocese, etc.
Are the sections the same as for those going on foot? How much distance is covered every day?
The only official aspect related to the different routes of the Camino de Santiago is the towns the route goes through. Sections are presented as suggested stages and some of them take detours through roads for bikes as the terrain can otherwise be too hard on the wheels. Therefore, you must get organised so that you can “customize” the stages depending on your fitness level, the days you have and the places where you would like to spend more time. Riding your bike also helps you get to towns or monuments that are a bit off track.
Even if cyclists tend to cover between 50 and 60 kilometres per day, you have to understand that some sections are harder than others and that the Camino is not a race, the most important thing is to enjoy the experience.
How to do you take your bike to the starting point? And back home?
To begin the Camino anywhere you want and without having to worry about how to travel with your bike and how to check it in, Correos sends it in special packaging from your city to your starting point of choice. The same thing goes for your arrival in Santiago de Compostela, Fisterra or wherever you have decided to finish the Camino. We will send your bike back home properly packaged and ensured. You can check details and prices here.
What equipment do you need?
Apart from the must-list for any pilgrim, if you travel by bike you will need some specific equipment:
- Cycling shorts/Jersey/Top adequate for each season.
- Appropriate shoes for the pedals.
- Pannier bags and water proof covers.
- Lights and reflective strips for the bike.
- Air pump, patches and small tools.
You should be cycling as light as possible in order to avoid falling off and also to make climbing and descending easier. Please remember that if you do not want to carry your bags you can send your suitcase or rucksack from hostel to hostel with us. If you carry them, balance the weight. A useful tip is to take a bag on the handlebar with your Pilgrims Passport and other documents.
What do you do with your bike once you are in Santiago de Compostela?
When you get to Santiago, if you want to enjoy the city without your bike you have two options, you can send it home that day itself or you can leave it in our lockers. Both things are possible at our Correos office at Rúa do Franco, 150 metres away from the Cathedral.
Are there bike repair shops along the Way?
Most cities and towns will have repair shops where you can service your bike. However, take into account that there are some small villages where there are hardly any shops. You should have some basic tools with you.
Is it safe to leave the bike in the hostel? How about when I stop for lunch?
There are many hostels with specific storerooms for bikes. Ask before booking to make sure. When you stop to rest or eat, even if it is unusual, watch out for thieves and try not to leave your bike unattended by eating on the terrace or close to the window.
Do pilgrims who complete the Camino on foot have preference over others when booking a hostel?
The public hostel network usually gives priority to pilgrims walking the Camino until 8 in the evening, after that, all pilgrims have the same priority. The private hostel network along the Camino, as well as boarding houses or hotels, do not make any distinction when booking.