Our plan for this trek was that Mevrouw T would ride the Camino de Santiago on the bike while cousin Iain and I slogged along it on foot.
Even allowing for some walking up hills pushing her vehicle, she’d arrive ahead of us to check us into an albergue. All being well she’d have the wine uncorked and breathing by the time we struggled in.
All was not quite well however…
The first difficulty was finding a bike for her to ride. In my innocence I’d thought that there’d be places in Pamplona hiring bikes to Camino pilgrims and offering, for a modest fee, to pick them up from the other end.
We didn’t find any such organisations in Pamplona. There are tour companies offering organised or self-guided Camino by bike trips.
Spanish companies also can deliver a bike to your accommodation at any stage along the way and pick it up when you’ve had enough. We haven’t tried them out, so I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has.
The designated Camino route itself, at least the section through Navarra, really requires a mountain bike, since the path is regularly steep and rocky. There may be ways to avoid such sections by skirting them on the asphalt, but most people we met had the MTBs.
We met people who’d put in some most impressive kilometres. The group from New Mexico had made it to Logrono with heavy loads and no signs of quitting. A Dutch lady had begun her pilgrimage by doing a beginners’ course in bike maintenance, then had ridden all the way from Haarlem.
Walking the Camino was not an option for Mevrouw T, and she doesn’t feel confident on a mountain bike.
Fortunately there was a Plan C. Buses run regularly between the towns we were visiting, so she could catch them and meet us in the afternoons for the aperitif, evening meal and albergue experience.