A few days ago we talked to you about the physical preparation necessary to make the way to Santiago by walking: not only does it consist of tying our shoes and walking, but we must also have the adequate preparation to be able to face long hours of hiking through different types of terrain and with great unevenness.
The same thing happens with the second option preferred by the pilgrims to make the way (although very behind to make the way walking): the bicycle. Doing the Way of Saint James on two wheels can be an unforgettable experience, but we must be prepared for it: here are the keys to start the way optimally.
The road to Santiago by bicycle
Nearly 22,000 people arrived in Santiago by bicycle during 2017. While the total number of pilgrims has been growing in recent years, the number of bicycle pilgrims has declined considerably, going from 16.33% of the total in 2011 (29,949 bicycle pilgrims in that year) to fall to 7.29% in 2017 (21,933 bicycle pilgrims). Even so, the bicycle is still the second option to reach Santiago.
The most common if we make the journey by bike is to opt for the French way, starting from Sant Jean Pied de Port in France, to reach Santiago after covering more than 900 kilometers through 13 stages. Each stage by bicycle is equivalent to one or two stages on foot, depending on the area, and cover between 50 and 70 kilometres a day.
How to Prepare for the Road to Santiago by Bike
The previous physical preparation is very important if we have planned to do the way of Santiago in bicycle: to cross the way in bicycle has nothing to do with the filming by road or by the city that we can do habitually and it is important that we prepare specifically for it.
Having ridden a mountain bike before, and having gone out on the mountain (not only by road or by city) is essential if you want to make the way to Santiago by bike: in the months before the start it is advisable to make some outings with unevenness to get used to it. The terrain that we are going to find on the way is rarely flat, so getting used to the legs (and buttocks, which are the most likely to suffer with the hours of cycling!) to that effort will not pass us so much bill at the key moment.
Before leaving for Santiago, rehearse some departures carrying your luggage in your saddlebags.
In addition, it is important that we know how we are going to take our luggage on the bike and that we also “rehearse” some outings with the bike more or less loaded to ensure that we develop well with it.
The work in the gym is also important: to prepare above all our lower train and our middle zone will be the priority in case of doing the way in bicycle. Reinforcing the musculature of our legs, in addition, will help us to protect the articulation of the knees, which will be the ones that suffer the most at the time of giving pedals. Exercises such as isometric squats (and other variations: here you have up to 23 different ones), dead weight and jumping into the box (with all these variations) should be part of our training routine.
At the time of working the central zone of our body we can opt for all type of plates or plates, that will work the internal musculature of our abdomen to the complete, training also the lumbar zone, helping us this way to avoid pains once we mount in the bicycle. Here you have 20 different variations of the plank so that you can vary your training.
Cycling along the road to Santiago is undoubtedly a great challenge for bike lovers: a personal and introspective journey and a physical challenge.