Biking The Camino de Santiago

Pyrennes Route

Are you up for an amazing bicycle touring adventure? How about a trip from Pamplona through the Pyrenees to Galicia on the coast of Spain? El Camino de Santiago is an ancient path taken by millions of religious pilgrims since the days of the Crusades to the shrine of St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Many take this route to renew their spirit and soul as they contemplate the majesty of the natural beauty along the way.

Bicycle Adventures, a Pacific Northwest-based active travel company, is planning two all inclusive adventures on the Camino de Santiago this year, one on May 2 and the other beginning May 17. Each will take two weeks to complete and average about 40 miles a day.

Kempton Baker, who will guide both tours, says, “I did the Camino in 2005. I fell in love with the food, the spirit of the place, the landscape, the people. I felt comfortable and welcome there. I’ve ridden the route eight times now and can’t wait to return with a group of cycling enthusiasts!”

Along the way, the group will encounter large groups of pilgrims walking the route on foot. Last year, more than a quarter of a million people made the journey. “An advantage of cycling,” says Baker, “is that bikers get to meet many more pilgrims. We ride up to a group, slow down, exchange pleasantries, and then bike on to another exchange.”

He says the trip on two wheels is designed to test one’s mettle and have a lasting effect on your spirit and outlook on life. “We don’t go around any mountains but straight over them, just like the pilgrims do. This is one of the things I really like. This trip has the ability to really change your life. It changed mine. It’s a profound experience meant to make you think about the rest of your life, question your choices. I think it does a great job of doing that. It’s a transformative trip,” Baker said.

The route passes through Atapuerca, the UNESCO World Heritage site, whose caves cradled the remains of the earliest known human beings in Europe. Not everything is sweat and toil on this trip, however. Riders will stop along the way for meals in local tapas bars and spend a day in Leon shopping and sightseeing.

Instead of staying with hundreds of other pilgrims in community dorms at night, the bicycle tourist will stay in delightful posadas along the way, including a restored monastery. They will also obtain an official Pilgrim’s Passport with authentic Camino de Santiago stamps to prove they have completed the journey.

The rate for this exquisite biking adventure is $4,450, double occupancy.

Source: Broadway World

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