How to prepare for cycling the Camino de Santiago?
So you have decided to do the Camino on two wheels. Congratulations you are in for an amazing cycling adventure. If you haven’t been on a cycling holiday before this can be a daunting idea but we are here to help. Thousands of people cycle the Camino routes each year from all around the world. We have spoken about the different routes that are more suitable for cycling and discussed how to cycle the trails when you are out on the routes but today we will discuss how to prepare for cycling the Camino before you go. Here are few tips when you are in planning mode.
BEFORE YOU GO
By now you should be familiar with your itinerary and know what distance you will cover each day. In advance of your trip (3 – 6 months ahead) you should try to practice cycling for at least half of the distance to get your muscles used of the length of time that you will be out on the trails. It is also a good idea to get off the main roads as many of the trails on the Camino aren’t just smooth roads and paths. Try to find some forest tracks and cycle on some side streets to get a feel for varied terrain.
It is important to get to grips with general bike maintenance before you cycle any of the Camino routes. Do you know how to fix a puncture? Are you familiar with changing the gears on a bike? These are pretty easy tasks once you have a little bit of practice.
Whether you opt for a normal bike or an eBike, having basic bike knowledge is important. All of the small kits provided with the bikes when you are out on the trails come with handy instructions in English so don’t worry.
Read through the cycling notes before you go. You will use the notes and maps when you are out on the trails but it is also a good idea to get to know the route and the elevation each day as you are planning. The elevation profile and the various types of terrain will be outlined in your notes.
DURING THE TRIP
- To start with, make sure pedals are securely tightened and the handle bar is straight (Use the tool kit supplied if needed).
- Place paniers correctly making sure they don’t touch the wheels and any straps are secured so they won’t get stuck in the wheels.
- Particularly on long trips over a week long, make sure the chain is relatively clean (wipe dust from chain with a cloth in the evening), check that there are no leaves, twigs stuck in the chain that could damage it.
- If you are using an electric bike, keep an eye on the battery and be sure to charge it each night.
WHAT CLOTHING WILL I NEED?
It’s always best to use common sense when you are packing for your cycling trip. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast. If you are expecting a lot of sunshine then you will need a sun hat and plenty of sunscreen. Where as if you are expecting rain you will need some waterproof outdoor gear.
Whilst walking you may wear long rain-jackets and loose clothing but this won’t work if you are cycling. To be comfortable out on the trails bring a short rain jacket, some leggings and some gloves that have a good grip on them.
Gel seat covers are also a must for any long distance cycling holiday.
Another item you will want to pack is your hi visibility vest. You mightn’t need these if you are cycling during the day and the skies are clear but they are useful to have if the weather turns bad or it begins to get dark as you are cycling towards your next stop.
Don’t forget to wear your helmet each day – always safe!
Here are the Most Popular Camino Routes to Cycle:
For more information on how to prepare for cycling the Camino or details of any of the cycling routes please contact one of our travel specialists.