Riding 2500Km with mountain bikes on the Camino Santiago from Constance (German/Swiss border) to Santiago de Compostela.
As close as possible on the original pilgrim/hiking path.
Via Jacobi (Constance – Geneva) 460Km, 9000Hm
Via Gebennensis (Geneva – Le Puy-en-Velay) 330Km, 7000Hm
Via Podiensis (Le Puy-en-Velay – St. Jean-Pied-de-Port) 650Km, 11500Hm
Camino del Norte, Camino de la Costa 850Km,17000Hm
I’m not religious. There is nothing in my live I want to change. It’s just a very long way, beautiful landscape, history, old buildings, and I love traveling, photos and talking to the people on the way.
And I love mountain biking.
The Camino on a mountain bike
Looks like there are are only a few mountain biker on the Camino, and if they say they made it with the mountain bike, at the end they cycled near the Camino and not really ON the Camino.
This makes a difference, because the Camino is a hiking path. It goes up and down, left and right, you must carry your bike or push it. Sometimes you see the same city for 2 hours. One hour it swings left and right in front of you, sometimes you think you will pass it, then the way turns sharp and you reach the city. The same for the next hour if you left the city behind you…
The Camino needs its time, but if you really cycle it, you will find lots of beautiful places you would have passed on the street.
How many Km can you make per day?
We started with 70 Km/day, and this was too much. We reduced it to 50 Km/day and this is Ok.
To be honest, we don’t start at 6 am in the morning like the hiking pilgrims, we start at 8:30. If you are very well trained and start early, you may be able to make 70 Km per day. It depends on the terrain. If the stage has lots of asphalt, you are fast. In steep terrain, you are even slower than a hiker. In average you can calculate with about 10-12 Km/h.
Do we really cycle always the original route?
Always: No. But almost.
There are situations like e.g. in Switzerland, where the route goes upwards for longer periods on stairs. Upwards we avoid this by cycling around. Downstairs at least I have fun :-).
It may also happen that it is late in the day (because the stage was too long, or the terrain was too hard), or it rains. Then we shortcut a bit on the street.