Tips for Cycling the Camino – Part 1

Tips for Cycling the Camino – Part 1

While most Camino de Santiago pilgrims follow the routes to Santiago on foot, over 10% of pilgrims arriving in Santiago each year do so by bike. They are called ‘bicigrinos’ (bike pilgrims). If you are preparing to be a bicigrino in 2015, Peter Duffy has prepared two handy articles to help you prepare. For part 1, he focuses on practical information and essentials:

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By Peter Duffy.

If you are thinking about dusting off your old bike to prepare for cycling the Camino, this blog is for you! Just like walking, cycling also requires dedication and preparation, as many factors can impact your performance. Here are a few cycling tips for your Camino:

1. Set up your bike correctly

This is number 1 on the list for a reason. If you commit to riding a bicycle that is not tailored to your body, then the chances of you struggling and not enjoying your Camino de Santiago cycle becomes a frustrating reality.

  • People differ concerning arm, leg, and torso length, so I suggest visiting your local specialist bike shop. They will alter the saddle and handlebar positions for you (or adjust them when you receive your rental bike).
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2. Cycling Kit

Yes!! They’re tight, they’re vibrant, and the prices can be a bit cheeky, but the following pieces of equipment will make your Camino far more enjoyable and safe:

A. Bike helmet – A no-brainer!! Protecting your head must be made a priority!! Helmets these days are lightweight and well ventilated and can save your life

B. Cycling shorts—Make sure that your cycling shorts are seamless and chafe-free. This will help prevent soreness from repeated rubbing while cycling.

C. The Basics (included in your package if renting a bike as part of your trip with CaminoWays.com)

  • A puncture repair kit & pump
  • A spare inner tube
  • Knowledge on how to change a tyre and mend a puncture

3. Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a must for your Camino; they will help you by:

1. Keeping dust and flies out of your eyes

2. Cutting out glare and reflections

3. Sharpening your vision in low light conditions if you buy a pair with interchangeable lenses

4. Keep Hydrated!!

Sports drinks and water will keep you hydrated during your cycle. Remember, don’t wait until you get thirsty to take a drink. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated!
Drink frequently!

Tips:

  • Straw-coloured urine = you are well-hydrated
  • Darker-coloured urine = means you need to drink more.

5. Keep Energised!!

Running low on energy will prevent you from enjoying your Camino. Like any other intense activity, your body will demand more energy. So eat small, frequent meals or snacks on the
go to maintain your body’s energy levels. Energy bars are great for eating on the go.

6. Practice!!

Don’t wait until the big day or the week before your Camino to go on your first long cycle. It is essential that your body gradually becomes accustomed to a new or unaccustomed
activity.

Check out the following Beginner Training Program Table:

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This will gradually increase your endurance level and make you more efficient in utilising your body’s fuel. Keep in mind this is also an excellent opportunity to explore new areas.

7. Interval Cycling

This is a great way to build up your cycling fitness. Experiment with some faster-paced riding. You aim to ride faster for a short period, i.e., 5 minutes, followed by a recovery period of 3 minutes. Then, this cycle is repeated throughout your cycling session. Ensure you always warm up and cool down before and after your cycle.

Read Pete’s Cycling the Camino Tips part 2!

To read more Camino fitness and training articles.

For more information about cycling the Camino or to book your Camino de Santiago holiday, contact our travel specialists

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