Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

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molly
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Joined: 23 Mar 2009, 6:09am

Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby molly » 26 Oct 2017, 6:26pm

I think I read somewhere that 3 weeks is a suitable time to allow for cycling the Via de la Plata from Seville to Santiago de Compostella. Can anyone advise on this and whether it could be done comfortably in less? I only have 16days at the beginning of April.

ChrisF
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Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby ChrisF » 26 Oct 2017, 10:04pm

Don't know if you have found this http://www.larutaenbici.com/en/etapas-carretera but it suggests 12 stages averaging 100km/day on a road bike. There's also a mountain-bike section on the site.
Chris F, Cornwall

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Tigerbiten
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Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby Tigerbiten » 26 Oct 2017, 10:27pm

If you do the maths, I think you'll find the 3 weeks is the walking time.

From the web, the route is around 1,000 km or just over 600 miles long.
To cover that in 20 days is only around 30 miles per day.
That's walking speed as you can easily do double that on a bike.
So expect to take a shorter time ...... :D

MartinBrice
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Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby MartinBrice » 26 Oct 2017, 10:32pm

i rode it from seville to santiago in may. flew out on monday may 8. returned from santiago on friday may 26. so 17 days of cycling, no days off.
you could cut those days by buying your "credencial or Pilgrim Record" from the https://www.csj.org.uk co-fraternity of st james in london. then you could save time by avoiding riding into seville and having to purchase it from somewhere there and then spending a night there, leaving Seville the next morning. Instead you could cycle away from the airport and head straight to Guillena which is in your direction. From the airport it is tricky to get out without using the autovia which is dual-carriageway road with masses of traffic. there is a small gravel side road you need to get on. You can't take a bike on a bus out of seville airport (we tried) but you might manage if it was in a box or bag.
you could follow this route:
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/25926090 and Guillena has an albergue http://albergueluzdelcamino.es and a hotel
so that would save you a day
as for distances, some of the plata is muddy roads, some mud track, some is good road. you might do 30k some days in hilly terrain in bad weather. I don't think we did 100k on more than a couple of days.
and if you buy the guide, it shows the green section for bikes and red for walkers: the red section can be bloody tough on a bike. DAHIKT.
en route be aware that many albergues open at 2pm and already have a queue of walkers outside waiting to check in. so your days might be pretty short cos you might want to be in that queue at 2pm.
most albergues will chuck you out at 8am and some walkers will be charging around the dorm aiming to get moving at 6am.
albergues can be €7, privately-owned are about €12 so if there are two of you it is feasible to share a hotel room which can be had for €35 or €40.
breakfast is extra.
on arrival in santiago you could do as we did and ride straight to the airport, stay in a hotel one night and get the flight in the morning.
i've been to santiago before so this was OK by me. but you might want to see it and go to the cathedral for the pilgrims' service.
also we had a few short days. so it should be possible to do it in your timescale.
the risk is that you have bad weather or a mechanical and lose a day or two. in that case you could put the bike on a bus (it's fine, it's €10 per bike ticket plus your ticket, wrap it in a plastic bag you can make that from bin liners and parcel tape).
you may be fitter and stronger than us.
we used this book:
http://www.bicigrino.info/tienda_virtua ... 95269.html
we found the maps very accurate, the info useful and generally would have had a hard time without it. you can also download a GPX track of the route (which we found really very useful indeed) from that organisation. thoroughly recommended.
finally, to get home you can pay €100 for a box and put the bike in it and it arrives at your house in a week-ish. less stressful than flying with the bike, but it does mean you need to ride into santiago and deal with the shop. you can then fly home with only hand luggage - cos the sharp, pointy stabby metal things can go in the box.
another option is to get the boat to santander and ride through the picos de europa to leon and follow the camino to santiago. that took two weeks.
some days will be very hilly, Spain can get really hilly esp in Galicia when you'll be at your most tired. And it can rain in Spain when it wants to. In Galicia in October three years ago we lost half of one day then all the next holed up in an albergue while we watched the torrential rain pouring off a barn roof before being blown upwards into the air by the wind. In April the albergues are likely to be fairly empty and the weather dry and sunny. It's a good time to go: remember easter is in april this year. you might need to stock up on reserves of food before then, just in case.
And in some albergues cyclists are supposed to wait until about 7pm before they are allocated a bed so allow walkers to have priority. But this has never happened to me.
And if you go for hotels this doesn't apply: hotels can be booked the night before using email (there's wifi all over the place out there and you can use your UK data allowance there as well, because of our wonderful EU).
I think that's about everything.
any questions, PM me, I'd be happy to help.
I won't send yo my plata guide as i'm thinking of riding it myself, again, in April, but taking three weeks cos I'd like to chat to people.

HarryD
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Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby HarryD » 27 Oct 2017, 9:20am

Martin is spot on.
Assuming you are following the Camino itself 16 days of cycling should do it. Depending when you arrive you may well wish to visit Sevilla. We arrived late afternoon, did so and loved it. Does your 16 days include getting there and back?
Get your credential from CJS in London as it is so much less bother. We got it stamped every day and twice a day in Galicia. Only used it twice for accommodation when there were no alternatives which is incredibly rare. Alternate accommodation can be very cheap. We often paid around 30 Euros for a twin room.
The Camino is 'cyclable' throughout although in places it may be slow or require pushing or portering. The guides usually identify these sections.
We used the La Via De La Plata by Mardones, Datcharry and Bernard which is available at Amazon. It is in Spanish and describes the route in 16 stages. It is also kept very up to-date. This guide follows the Plata north to Santa Marta de Tera then takes the Puebla de Sanabria option. We kept north and picked up the Camino Frances at Astorga.

molly
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Joined: 23 Mar 2009, 6:09am

Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby molly » 27 Oct 2017, 10:23am

Thank you all for the really helpful info. The website suggested by ChrisF will be very useful for the route as long as I turn left at Leon! I will be using an 'adventure'/ 'gravel' bike which nips along nicely on the road in addition to tackling tracks well so it's good to have the options. And the detailed info of personal experience from Martin is excellent. Last March I cycled from Barcelona to Santander and incorporated the Camino Francais between St Jean and Burgos so I have a passport started from that, maybe I can use the same one? I will be flying into Malaga and catching the train to Seville to start on 2nd April but have another flight booked on 18th to return from Vigo, work commitments won't allow more. I know I'll have to push it but from the information you have provided I now know that it is possible. Next week I am heading to Seville and riding to Cordoba following HarryD's route so I will have hopefully had practice at exiting Seville from the train station in that direction:-)

MartinBrice
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Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby MartinBrice » 27 Oct 2017, 4:15pm

Molly

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/communi ... guide.408/

Is a really useful list of all the accommodation on the Seville route. It's called the camino sanabres, and the top bit is called the camino mozorabe, I think.
The addresses are useful, you can pop them into a gps unit and it'll take you to the place.

MartinBrice
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Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby MartinBrice » 29 Oct 2017, 11:08pm

And finally, here's a review of riding the VdlP. I agree with every word, especially the beauty of the N630 which was heavenly: perfect tarmac, easy gradients and no traffic. sometimes we rode near the autoroute: it was rammed with fast-moving traffic. we would often go almost an hour without seeing a vehicle. And one day, somewhere remote, we saw one car between leaving the accommodation and about 2pm.

https://www.cicerone-extra.com/cycling- ... e-la-plata

(I'm going back in April to ride the same route again.)

molly
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Joined: 23 Mar 2009, 6:09am

Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby molly » 31 Oct 2017, 6:08am

Wow! Brilliant advert for the route. thank you. I'm really looking forward to this. I hope you enjoy your second trip as much as the first and I will look out for you in April.

hamster
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Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby hamster » 3 Nov 2017, 6:32pm

Thanks for this...a nice tour idea for next year!!!

molly
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Joined: 23 Mar 2009, 6:09am

Re: Via de la Plata-How long to cycle?

Postby molly » 3 May 2018, 2:27pm

As an update and an answer to my original question I took 15 days to get from Seville to Santiago. I used the guide 'La Via de la Plata by Mardones, datchary and Bernard. As hinted at in the other posts some of the Camino was very tough going particularly when the weather turned nasty for a few days with rain and snow as some of the track was just too muddy but the National highway was never too far away as an alternative. I followed the Sanabria option and particularly enjoyed it. I had made time to continue my journey to Fisterra and Muxia and it was well worth the extra day cycling to get there, such a beautiful coast. Accommodation was not a problem and I stayed in a combination of albergues and hotels(which I often found for around 20Euros, Albergues half of that amount). I had intended to bivvy too but the weather was just not good enough for me although I did met a couple of cyclists who were wild camping. The only place I had problems finding secure storage for the bike overnight was the Albergue in Casar de Caseres where they wanted me to leave it in the bike rack on the street.