good bicycle is a must. Mine has survived five trips to Northern Spain and numerous flights with cheap airlines, which is even more impressive. I had some problems on the way like a loose chain for instance, but as experienced cyclists, we know how to handle these difficulties.
You can ride a mountain bicycle like most of Spaniards, or a decent hybrid like a Dutchmen I met, or touring bicycles like Germans tend to (the route I describe is not suitable for road bikes as half of the distance is off-road). I am tempted to say that you can’t do the route on a Brompton but as I know you guys, somewhere out there is the guy who will do it on a Brompton. So I resist.
And now here it is the part I love – where an author of a guidebook gets to describe his expensive state of the art bicycle. And the reader is getting smaller and smaller. So, I am cycling on a 6-year-old, three hundred pounds female hybrid. It is slow and indestructible, like a tank. It is white, which I hate, but at least I don’t have to worry that someone will steal it. Because who would want a white bicycle? And if you ask me what kind of gears it has I will answer the kind of gears you expect a three hundred quid bicycle to have. My bicycle is fantastic. I never had a single problem on the route. I can rely on it in all situations – slalom between lorries in the rain, going down slippery stony roads or cycling off-roads in Galicia. I am more than happy about its performance.
From the very beginning, the idea behind this guide was to encourage you to go to your shed and take out your bicycle. You don’t have to have gear worth thousands to do this route. Your bicycle has to be comfortable and in very good working order. If you have an older bike, don’t save money on repairs but pay for every single part that needs to be exchanged. The route is difficult, so use common sense. Other than that if you really want to go to Santiago, just take your bike and go.
Adjust physical preparation to the trip to your general health and physical condition. Before the journey, cycle A LOT. Cycling to work on weekdays and off-road in your neighbourhood at weekends should prepare you well. The Camino is hilly and mountainous at times and on the first day, you have to cross the Pyrenees. Take the preparation of the equipment, the bicycle and yourself very seriously. Really the Camino the Santiago should start at one’s doorstep so, treat the preparations for the trip as the very beginning.