Tuesday, 26 July 2016 09:36

How to organise bicycle transport

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Bicigrino.com and Seur will arrange and organise the bicycle transport for you, now with more modern and effective means thanks to the possibility of hiring the transport service through internet.

Just for 46 € you can send your bicycle from home to the start of any Camino de Santiago variation, cycle touring route, competition or simply from one residence to other, always with the direct support and advice of Bicigrino.

This service currently provides coverage to bicycle transport throughout the Spanish territory and several european countries. The initial idea was to provide a transport service for pilgrims organising their Camino de Santiago by bicycle, and thanks to the experience gathered we can now expand this service to general bicycle transportation with any origin and destination, with the convenience and advantages of being able to hire this service through internet.

If you hire the transport service through Bicigrino online shop you will not have to worry about anything, we will contact you and arrange the bicycle transportation adapting to your needs and preferences.

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BICYCLE TRANSPORT IN CAMINO DE SANTIAGO

Since bicigrino.com website has been operational and from the questions and answers laid out at FOROBICIGRINO about Camino de Santiago by bicycle, I have noticed that one of the biggest concerns for those preparing their travel on the Camino is the transportation to the starting point. Both the bicycle and people themselves.

There is not a general rule to advise on how to get to the starting point of the Camino, as it depends on many factors that may vary depending on where we live, the chosen starting point (Saint Jean Pied de Port, Roncesvalles, Sevilla, Irún...), whether we are one person or more, etc.

As a result of the experience of many bike-pilgrims and friends who had considered the same question in the past, I have been able to gather enough information on the matter and I will try to explain as best as I can the different options available.


 

DSC08457STARTING POINT OF CAMINO DE SANTIAGO

It is not the same to planning the start at Saint Jean Pied de Port or Pamplona, for example.

Pamplona is a provincial capital with good connections and accessible by train and bus. Saint Jean Pied de Port, on the other hand, besides being in another country it is a little village with good communication from France (it even has a train station) but with a hard transport combination if travelling from Spain.

The main starting location in the French Way is Roncesvalles, which is communicated with Pamplona by bus.

Vía de la Plata is usually started from Seville and also from Mérida. Obviously the connections are not the same for both cities. Seville is a huge city with good connections, there is an airport and high speed train. Mérida, on the other hand, is only accessible by road and standard train.

The starting point for the Northern Way is Irún. There are other possibilities to get there.

As you can see each starting location has its peculiarities and it can be even more complicated if we consider the place of residence of every pilgrim and from where he or she wants to start the journey.


 

SANT_JEAN2SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT

- FROM THIS YEAR 2012 THERE IS A NEW DIRECT BUS SERVICE FROM PAMPLONA TO SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT.

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I will try to explain the different possibilities for getting to Saint Jean Pied de Port.

- The easiest way to reach this town if you have arrived at Roncesvalles in the way that will be described later is to go through the 24 km descent by road using our bicycle. The road from Roncesvalles to Saint Jean is a full descent (except for the initial 3 km). This stretch is beautiful and it makes no sense to skimp on 24 km downhill to start a 900 km journey the following day.

- It is also possible to go to Hendaye by train and make a 70 km prologue stage through flat and easy roads to reach this town.

Or travel on the railways from Bayonne. Here you have a link to the train schedules in 2010.

SCHEDULE FOR TRAIN BAYONNE - SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT

- If we live in Catalonia for example, another option would be travelling to Perpignan by train and reach Saint Jean through the french railways network.

- If we arrive at Roncesvalles at a late hour or can not access to any of the possibilities mentioned above, the only option is to hire a taxi to get us near our starting point at the other side of the Pyrenees. Pamplonese taxi drivers are used to the movement of pilgrims and it will not be difficult for us to find a taxi to take us.


 

roncesvalles1RONCESVALLES

Roncesvalles is the most characteristic starting point of Camino de Santiago. It is actually a small village without services, so it is only communicated by public transport by bus.

- The only way to reach Roncesvalles by public transport is to have arrived at Pamplona before and from there, using the daily bus service to the collegiate church. The bus company is more than used to transport bicycles and backpacks of pilgrims. A factor we should consider is the date when we are travelling, as like other services (for example the hostels), there may be problems if there is too much people.

- Some bike-pilgrims access Roncesvalles from Pamplona, travelling between the two towns by road using their bicycle. It has to be considered that although the path goes through paved road, it is an ascension and two mountain passes have to be overcomed, Erro and Mezquiriz.

Roncesvalles is a very small town with about twenty residents. To get to Roncesvalles you must head to Pamplona first. From there, there is a bus from the company Autocares Artieda (Altivar S.L.) (Phone: +34 948 300 287 - http://www.autocaresartieda.com) that can take you to Roncesvalles in about an hour every working day at 6 pm and on saturdays at 4 pm. Sundays and holidays there is no bus service. During summer, the service is strengthened with another bus on the morning. It is possible to carry your bicycle with a surcharge of 3.01 €.

The second option is to take a taxi from Pamplona with Radiotaxi http://www.taxipamplona.com, phone numbers (+34 948 232 300 and +34 949 351 335). Taxi fare, for up to four people, is between 39 and 59 €. The taxi driver of Roncesvalles, Juanjo, can take you to Saint Jean or pick you up at the airport or bus station on Pamplona (+34 670 616 190 / +34 675 922 700).

There is also a taxi driver specialised in this route, Francisco Martínez (+34 649 725 951 / +34 948 790 386) who lives 6 km away from Roncesvalles and owns a vehicle with 9 seats (3 bicycles maximum). Another option is Fermín, who has a vehicle with 6 seats (+34 609 447 058). It is recommended to reserve at least 24 hours in advance.

 


pamplona1PAMPLONA

Pamplona is easily accessible, as it is the provincial capital.

- We can reach Pamplona by bus through the different companies operating on our area of residence. Depending from where we are travelling, we can arrive directly at Pamplona or we can do transshipment in Madrid for example.

- Train is also an option to get to Pamplona. We have to consider the different combinations depending on our place of residence.

- An interesting possibility to be considered is to rent a car. We can rent a car at a nationwide company (for example Avis, Europcar..), do the trip to Pamplona comfortably and deliver our car there. From this point we can choose to start the Camino here or continue to Roncesvalles or Saint Jean Pied de Port to start our Camino.

The possibility of a rental car is interesting specially when there are several peopla sharing the Camino, because the cost will de divided and it can end up being cheaper than other alternatives. For one person it may not be worth it.

- Another interesting option is to send your bicycle directly to Pamplona through a courier company (Seur, MRW, UPS) and travel without any worries to this city with the saddlebags as your only luggage. Once in Pamplona you will only have to pick up your bicycle and you will be ready to start your journey to Santiago.

Roncesvalles is a very small town with about twenty residents. To get to Roncesvalles you must head to Pamplona first. From there, there is a bus from the company Autocares Artieda (Altivar S.L.) (Phone: +34 948 300 287 - http://www.autocaresartieda.com) that can take you to Roncesvalles in about an hour every working day at 6 pm and on saturdays at 4 pm. Sundays and holidays there is no bus service. During summer, the service is strengthened with another bus on the morning. It is possible to carry your bicycle with a surcharge of 3.01 €.

The second option is to take a taxi from Pamplona with Radiotaxi http://www.taxipamplona.com, phone numbers (+34 948 232 300 and +34 949 351 335). Taxi fare, for up to four people, is between 39 and 59 €. The taxi driver of Roncesvalles, Juanjo, can take you to Saint Jean or pick you up at the airport or bus station on Pamplona (+34 670 616 190 / +34 675 922 700).

There is also a taxi driver specialised in this route, Francisco Martínez (+34 649 725 951 / +34 948 790 386) who lives 6 km away from Roncesvalles and owns a vehicle with 9 seats (3 bicycles maximum). Another option is Fermín, who has a vehicle with 6 seats (+34 609 447 058). It is recommended to reserve at least 24 hours in advance.

 


irun3IRÚN

To reach Irun, which is the main starting point in the Northern Way, the easiest thing to do is to direct our steps to San Sebastian.

San Sebastian can be accessed from anywhere in Spain, by road, train and airplane through the airport, which has connections with Barcelona and Madrid. Actually, it just so happens that the airport is closer to Irun (5 km) than to San Sebastian (20 km).

From San Sebastian we can move to our starting point by bus, as there is a bus line connecting San Sebastian and Irun.

There is a train called "TOPO" that connects directly and quickly the cities of San Sebastian and Irun.


giraldaSEVILLE

Seville, the starting point of Vía de la Plata, is a big city and thus there are many possibilities to get there.

- Here we can consider all the options explained for other starting points: bus, train, airplane and even the possibility of renting a car, which we can deliver on arrival to the Andalusian capital.

- If we get to Seville by plane, one of the problems we may have is the trip from the airport to the center of the city.

Normally if we do not unpack the bicycle after its collection in the airport check, we will be allowed to get on the bus connecting the airport and the center of the city with our bicycle.

We can also move using our bicycle, as there are not many kilometers to the Giralda, the starting point of the route.


DIFFERENT MEANS OF TRANSPORT:

paqueteAIRPLANE

To transport your bicycle by plane it is necessary to pack it well, usually in a box or a bag. Normally, packing it in a cardboard box is enough. We can get this box asking at our local bicycle shop, as they may have boxes to throw away from new bicycles.

We have to take into account the weight of the package. Airlines usually charge from 20 kg per person. It is not a fixed standard and it might even vary depending on the people in charge at the airport check-in at the moment.

For example: in my trip to Vía de la Plata at the departure from Barcelona, I did not have any problem and I was able to check-in without extra charge. In my return at the airport of Santiago, travelling with the same airline, I was told I had an excess load of 11 kg and they overcharged me 6€ per extra kilogram.

The trick to avoid possible problems regarding weight, is trying to put as many things as you can in your backpack or the bag you take with you on the plane, since hand luggage is not weighed. In this case you have to be very careful not to put liquids, aerosols or oils in this bag, as they will be withheld when they are detected on the security scanner.

Another option is to not load with unnecessary things or that we can easily buy after getting out of the plane or during the Camino in any of the many villages we will go through, thus avoiding to surpass the standard weight. For example, if we carry in our luggage a 1 liter juice box, if we surpass the standard weight we will have to pay about 6 € for it !!!.


trenTRAIN

Long distance trains admit bicycles as luggage (without any charge) if:

  • If you are travelling on bunk beds and / or wagon-lit
  • There are up to two bicycles per department
  • The bicycle is packed a bike carrier bag
  • The bicycle is located under the lower bunk bed

In any case, it is advisable to inform the company at the moment you are purchasing your ticket to confirm that you can get your bicycle in the train.

Renfe website (spanish railway company): http://www.renfe.es

For short connection and shuttle journeys, we should not have any problems to get our bicycle with us.


Supra_exteriorBUS

There are many bus companies and each has its particular rules. Depending on the quantity of passengers they may hinder more or less. And when asked wether or not you can load your bicycle on the bus they usually answer that at the time of departure, depending on the luggage of the other passengers they will see if you are able to load it or not.

For that reason it is always advisable to contact the bus company to arrange the load of our bicycle and trying to ensure that we will not have problems for starting our journey.

ALSA bus company offers the possibility to book a ticket through their webiste for us and also for the bike with an overcharge of 10 € per bicycle.

** On the bus connecting Pamplona and Roncesvalles, as it is expected they are used to load bicycles and equipment of pilgrims and bike-pilgrims. We will not have any problem except if there is a large amount of travelers requesting the same service as us.


vwsharanRENTAL CAR

Even if it does not seem like it, in most cases this is the most advisable way of traveling to our starting point. Especially if you are a group. Sharing the costs of rental and fuel among several people can be affordable and additionally you will have more autonomy and freedom on the trip.

If you hire the car to a nationwide company, you can pick up the car in your place of residence and deliver it at your destination (cities) for example at Pamplona, without any extra charge.

** Some companies charge for days, so taking turns in driving you can get to your destination in "record time".


gatos-amigosTHE FRIEND

To have a friend is to have a treasure !!!!

Depending on the distance separating our place of residence and the starting point of the route, this option can be the most interesting one. You just need to find a good friend and mix him/her up on taking you to the starting point in his/her car. Sometimes they settle for just a couple of beers, sometimes for a hug..., but even if we pay the travel expenses it can be more interesting than making transshipments and look for public transport combinations.

In my first Camino de Santiago, the French Way, my best friend took me and another bike-pilgrim from Barcelona to Saint Jean Pied de Port, 500 km to get there and another 500 km to return to Barcelona. We invited him to some beers and paid the fuel. He spent a whole Sunday in the car and did us a huge favor. ** Note ** for this purpose you can also ask to your spouse, although usually he/she is already annoyed enough with the fact that we leave to the Camino..


 

carmelo2THE RETURN HOME:

When we arrive at Santiago, excitement will flood our faces and we will experience feelings and emotions we have never felt before when seeing ourselves at the Obradoiro square. It is an strange feeling, of joy on one hand because of the completion of the route and of sadness on the other hand because it supposes the end of a dream. This photo may picture what this feeling is like:

Once in Santiago de Compostela, many of the transport constraints we had at the start disappear and one of the most important ones is that we do not need the immediate company of our beloved bicycle. We can afford to arrive at a different time without that being a problem.

In any case we can always use the same means of transport we used for starting our Camino. But the possibility of getting rid of our bicycle in our arrival at Santiago is very attractive regarding the freedom of movement we will have even in our farewell party and deserved self-reward at the city of the apostle, as well as a more peaceful stroll through the city without the company of our loyal fellow sufferer.

THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN BICIGRINO AND SEUR ALLOWS THAT FOR JUST 46 € WE CAN SEND YOUR BICYCLE AND EQUIPMENT TO ANY LOCATION WITHIN THE IBERIAN PENINSULA. EMPLOYEES FROM SEUR WILL WRAP AND BOX UP YOUR BELOVED CAMINO COMPANION TO AVOID ANY MISHAP IN THE TRANSPORT.

FROM 2012 AND AS A NOVELTY, WE ALSO PICK UP AND TRANSPORT YOUR BICYCLE FROM FINISTERRE AND FOR THE SAME PRICE (46 €).

 

 

Read 2691 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 14:23

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