My Way of St James
My name is Tomás Sánchez and I live in Lloret de Mar, Girona, Spain. I invite you to know one of mi passions, the....Way of St James by mountain bike.
For me making the Way of St James by bike is one of the most rewarding experiences anyone with adventure and discovery spirit can feel. You only need a bike, a pair of saddlebags and great enthusiasm.
"The most beautiful of dreams is on the road leading to them.
The most beautiful of dreams is to dream.
Yes, later, life has the kindness of make your dream come true, thank it and enjoy that reality.
If not, thank it too, knowing that you carry in your heart the best part of the whole process."
Back in September 2005, on a visit to the house of some friends they told me a story of a relative that had just arrived of doing the Way of St James. They showed me pictures and told me that the experience was really rewarding for that person.
From that moment something began to push inside me and a force motivated me to do the Way myself. Even before the trip back home I already feeled a firm impulse to do the Way of St James.
Said and done. I have always loved mountain biking and I intend to do it this way. I looked websites like a crazy to collect all the information. I take off the dust of my exercise bike and the day after I changed my daily nap for an hour of bike. I printed out all the information on the Internet and bought my guides of the Way to begin to get a sense of the adventure who I wanted to plan.
The first thing I learned is that an adventure like this is not done from one day to the other. They have to be planned. So the first decision was to set a date for the realization of the dream. May 2006. From that moment I had almost eight months ahead to prepare myself physically and mentally.
With the information gathered, and to not leave everything to the last minute, I began to prepare every necessary thing that other bike-pilgrims recommended me: clothing, first aid, footwear, sleeping bag .. etc. ..
With all the information available I started to acquire some material for my adventure. And the first conclusion I reached was that my old bike was little tired and could not withstand the trip with many guarantees. In addition, it was not ready to engage the rack needed to carry the bags. Solution, "BIKE FOR SALE". The best bike for my trip would be a bike with front suspension but stiff in the back. To bring the luggage back is more advisable a hardtail, full suspension bikes could also serve to make the road but unless you already have one, it is not recommended to buy one, and we not need a super-machine for this adventure. Well with all the seen to this moment, I start to gather information and to choose a new partner of fatigue. With a budget of 600.-Euros you can buy a worthy and good bike.
I typically performed excursions on weekends through easy travel and for about 60 Km. approx. But my intention was to go to the Way of St James not to racing but with sufficiently fit to not suffer and to do it quietly, enjoying every moment of my trip. So my weekend outings became drills of ascents and descents on mountain passes. I did an hour of exercise bike each day with a mileage of 20 to 30 kilometers. I also extended my outings on the weekend trying to imitate the stages I would do in the near future.
I got my first dream materialized and after that first journey came five more ... and I can confirm that it has been worthwhile. I could say "I turned my life into an eternal Way of St James" and that the Way has came to live forever in my heart. Now with all the information available to me and my own personal experience, I live each day of the remembrance of what has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. For me it is a pleasure and almost a necessity to help anyone who needs help or advice on this wonderful journey. So please, ask me what you believe appropriate, I'll try to answer it from my modest knowledge.
Having explained the origins of the website of Bicigrino and where it heads to, serving this as home page, comment that in this "Routes" section you can see, classified by route, all the information on each of the journeys leading to Santiago. I tend to develop the web basing on my own experience and the routes I have realized, perhaps for that reason you will find that some routes or alternative routes are missing, and the reason of that is precisely that way I have not been able to make those routes yet.
Even so the variants of the Way of St James and the main routes crossing the Iberian Peninsula and arriving in Santiago de Compostela are listed on this website: The French Way, the Silver Way, the Northern Way, the Primitive Way, the Savior Way, the Catalan Way...
I've tried all the time to tell my adventure and collect the necessary data to make it easier for those dreaming of making the Way of St James cycling, in any of its variants.
Gradually I will add here each of the routes that I make.
Now the Web of Bicigrino is being filled daily with content and services designed to meet the needs of those who dream, plan or perform the Way of St James by bike.
And finally and as a cautionary tale about the way, I leave this beautiful story written by Jorge Bucay (only in spanish):
There is a nice story that speaks of a city of wells. It is a fable that comes to the essence of the journey within ourselves, search our inner self. I think in the Way there are two ways to travel, forwards and within oneself. Only a few manage to make the inner journey. Perhaps reading this story will help you to understand how to make that trip.