What things do I take on the bike to do Camino de Santiago?
The things you will have to take to the Camino de Santiago if you plan to do the route by bike are not the same as if you are considering the adventure on foot. In both forms of pilgrimage, you have two options: carry your luggage during the pilgrimage or hire a backpack transfer service between stages.
However, whether you decide to carry your luggage or choose to hire a baggage transfer service, it is important that you know what to bring on your bike to do the Camino de Santiago. There are some elements that you will have to take with you throughout the stages and others that you can load into your saddlebags or send them with a transport service.
If you feel like doing the Camino de Santiago by bike but still can’t plan it, we’ll help you! We organize tailor-made bike trips according to the requirements of each bikegrim. So tell us more details about the trip you would like to make and leave the rest in our hands.
Here’s what a bikegrim should take on the Camino de Santiago. We will start by talking about the equipment that you must take for your bike to the Camino de Santiago and finally, we will advise you on what to bring for yourself.
What to take for the bike on the Camino de Santiago
One of the most important points that affect the bike is which bike to choose to complete the Camino de Santiago. As we told you in the blog post that we dedicated to routes of the Camino de Santiago to cycle, the ideal thing to do is that you choose a mountain bike.
We recommend, as far as possible, to use one with a front suspension. That way, your arms will suffer less on stony stretches.
In this section, we explain what things we think are convenient to take on the Camino de Santiago to take care of your bike and to make the trip as comfortable as possible. Take note!
Cycle rack or carrier
One element that you should choose carefully when making the Camino de Santiago by bike is the carrier, especially if you are going to carry saddlebags with your luggage. Our advice is to use one that is highly resistant and appropriately adapts to the characteristics of the bike.
Bringing saddlebags for the bike on the Camino de Santiago
Saddlebags are also an important element. These must be compatible with the carrier, so that they fit perfectly.
With a few saddlebags for the rear wheel, they will be enough to carry all your luggage. Think that the more weight you carry, the harder it will be to ride the bike. We also recommend that you bring a waterproof cover for saddlebags, if the ones you have are not prepared against the elements.
There are some bikegrims that instead of carrying transporters and saddlebags use a backpack. We do not recommend it at all, because it is much more uncomfortable and you will be putting the weight on your back, when your bike can carry it perfectly well.
Another very useful element is to place a small carrier on the handlebars of your bike to carry those things that you use most, such as the mobile to take photos, the credential for the Camino de Santiago, etc.
Take a spare inner tube on the Camino de Santiago
We always recommend bikegrims use anti-puncture liquid on the wheels, but even so, this product does not prevent punctures completely, it is therefore recommended to always carry a spare inner tube, if possible anti-puncture, a patch kit and a bicycle pump.
If you do not know how to change a bicycle inner tube, we recommend that you learn before going out to do the Camino de Santiago by bike. You can ask a friend to teach you or find a YouTube video explaining how to do it.
Oil for the chain
We advise you to bring a small bottle of for to the chain. The dust from the dirt road, as well as the high number of daily kilometres causes the chain to lose lubrication, so it will be very helpful to have a small canister of oil with you.
Some recommend using a water bottle on the bicycle. Other cyclists point out that for them, hydration backpacks are more practical because it requires less effort to hydrate. Choose one of the systems and prepare the one that you find most comfortable.
There are specific bike toolkits that are usually quite light and that will be very useful on the Camino de Santiago. We advise you to include one in your luggage.
Take a bicycle chain and padlock on the Camino de Santiago
During the stages, you will stop, on many occasions, to visit places of interest that come your way. Therefore, it is advisable to always carry a chain and a padlock to safely leave the bicycle well secured. Depending on the type of accommodation you choose on the Camino de Santiago, you may also need to leave your bike parked on the street.
Other useful things you can take to the Camino de Santiago for your bike
Other useful things for your bike that you can take on the Camino de Santiago are some straps, a spare cable and a roll of insulating tape. Some bikers also like to have a speedometer or a heart rate meter.
Lighting and warning devices are issues that are often treated as optional, but we find them quite essential for safety issues. If your bike doesn’t have these, incorporate a warning system (horn or bell). Then, you can warn the pilgrims who are walking that you are approaching them, preventing them from crossing your path.
Including a front and rear light is also recommended. You should avoid pedalling in the dark, but if one morning you start the stage very early, having lighting will make you not go unnoticed.
Finally, elastic ropes can also be quite practical to take on the Camino de Santiago, as they will allow you to attach things to your bike carrier. Typically, an exercise mat.
What clothes to take to the Camino de Santiago when doing it by bike
As mentioned in the previous section, we recommend carrying only two saddlebags, at the back, to limit the luggage weight. The basic premise if you are going to load your luggage throughout the Camino is that it should be as light as possible. Here’s what to take to the Camino de Santiago if you’re cycling.
Totally essential. For your safety you must wear the helmet whenever you are riding the bike.
If it is summer, it is recommended to bring two breathable jerseys. In seasons where the chance of rain is high, it is also recommended to wear a long-sleeved one to prevent your rain jacket from sticking to the skin.
One or two during hot conditions. If it is late autumn or winter, bring a long one as well.
If it is a time of year when the chances of rain are high, we recommend that you include leggings. You can wear them with your shorts on rainy days, thus preventing the rain pants from sticking to your legs, producing that unpleasant feeling of moisture.
It is essential to include a windbreaker jacket in your baggage. As far as possible, try to wear one that is breathable.
As we told you in the article that we dedicated to what to do if it rains on the Camino de Santiago, in Galicia it rains every other day. That’s why having clothing for the rain is indispensable on any route and at any time of the year.
We recommend that you bring waterproof trousers and a rain jacket. Another option would be to take a cape with you, but it can be quite uncomfortable when riding a bike, as it reduces mobility.
As with clothing, you’ll also need to protect your feet and shoes from the rain. To do this you can carry with you waterproof boot covers to help you keep your shoes dry. Some cyclists use neoprene wet-socks, five to six sizes larger, to protect footwear.
What shoes to wear to do the Camino de Santiago by bike
It is recommended to bring three pairs of shoes. Suitable for riding the bike. It is recommended that they have cleats but have a sole adapted to be able to walk, since in many cases you will have to do some stretches on foot.
A shoe to wear in the afternoons, that helps you to rest your feet. Finally, it is also recommended to wear sandals that can be used in the shower or in rivers or municipal pools, in case you want to cool off sometime.
You’ll also need to take one or two changes of clothes with you to use in the afternoons, while visiting locations. Depending on the time when you do the Camino de Santiago you should wear one type of clothes or another. However, make sure you always wear a second layer to make sure you don’t get cold.
Three changes of underwear are usually recommended, as during the afternoons you will be able to wash your clothes. It is recommended that they are breathable.
Bring with you a light, quick-drying towel that you can use to dry after showering. Some places, such as hotels or cottages, will provide towels, but not in hostels.
Wearing gloves to do the Camino de Santiago by bike
Gloves can be a pretty useful thing on the Camino de Santiago. In winter, they will protect you from the cold and in summer, they will prevent chafing from the handlebars.
If you are riding a bike, it can also be useful to carry glasses in your luggage on the Camino de Santiago. They will not only protect you from the sun, but will also prevent dust from entering your eyes.
We also recommend you to include swimwear in your suitcase. On most of the routes of the Camino de Santiago, like the Camino Portugues costal route, you will find places to cool off, whether they are pools, rivers or beaches. If you are going to make any of the coastal routes, swimwear is absolutely recommended, along with a towel to dry out when leaving the sea.
Soap and pegs
Unless you hire a baggage transport service between stages, you will need to wash your clothes every afternoon. So remember to include in your bike saddlebags a bar of soap and some clothes pegs to do your laundry.
Prepare your bag with hygiene products in travel format. Don’t suffer if the route you do is long, because on the way you will find localities where to buy more if necessary.
Take a headlamp with you. It will help you to use it in your accommodation room if you share it with more pilgrims and want to go out or enter when they sleep with the light off. It will also serve you in case it gets dark on the route.
It is advisable to bring a small first-aid kit on your bike. You don’t need to carry all kinds of medicines, as you will find pharmacies along the route. Take only what can help you in an emergency, such as plasters, some bandages, etc.
We hope that our list of things to take on the bike for the Camino de Santiago has helped you. If you still don’t know which route to choose, and you’re looking for a challenge, be sure to check out the article we dedicate to the Camino de Santiago Primitivo by bike.
Remember that in Santiago Ways we can help you organize your trip to the Camino de Santiago by bike. If you want, you can call us or write to us on our Facebook and we will provide you with all the information about services for bikegrims.