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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Atlanta, GA
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    Road biker doing an epic Mtn bike trip--Camino de Santiago

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    Next year, Spring 2014, I will be cycling the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, about 850 km, following a pilgrim's route beginning in France over the Pyrenees through northern Spain. From all that I have read, I need a mountain bike--no hybrid, no touring bicycle, definitely no road bike for this trip. This is a spiritual pilgrimage. I am a road cyclist and I can't see that I will pursue Mtn biking long term, but the last thing I want to do is rent a bicycle for this type of trip. If I were looking to buy a road bicycle, I would know what to look for and how to evaluate, but don't know how I could even test drive for this sort of adventure. I would be very open to buying something second hand (if anyone here is looking to upgrade their ride). What I think I would like: I don't want to spend more than $1500. I think hardtail will be just fine. The bicycle needs to be as light as possible, as I will be self-supporting with panniers. I love SRAM components, but only know about the roadie stuff. Also, I'm 5'2". I know I need to start visiting the LBSs, but it would be nice to have just a starting point. Any advice would be most appreciated!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
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    6,132
    I'm going to have to think on this. Admittedly, I haven't poured over this year's offerings, but when I did last year in an effort to help a friend find a decent HT, I found it frustrating. While 29er HTs with decent components are easy enough to find--and you may want to go that route, although your height and budget may prove to be limiting factors--there are fewer and fewer nicely speced 26er HTs out there. Most companies are focusing on FS and/or 29ers. The handful of HT 26ers out there don't have particularly good specs and are often heavy. I'd start looking at the various manufacturers' websites to see what's on offer, but I'd also start looking used.

    Do you know how much travel you're going to want with your fork? I'd also suggest disc brakes, although they can be more temperamental.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    DE
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    1,221
    I am envious of your trip. I would love to do something like that. A friend of mine did it in sections over a few years, but availed herself of some of the road detours that parallel the trail. I think she used a road bike but am not sure.

    There are many, many books about the subject, and I'd be sure to read a couple of them before you go.

    And finally, if you have not seen the movie "The Way" I would heartily recommend it. You can watch it on Instant Video at Amazon for $2.99. Hmm, I just might watch it again. For all I know, this movie may have been what inspired you to take this trip in the first place. Good luck and godspeed!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1,063
    We're targeting the Camino by bike for next fall, but were planning on using our touring bikes. We did segment walks on the Camino several years ago and, while the surface can be rough, it seemed like it was doable with a wider tire road bike. That said, my touring bike has done a little single track (by accident, not design) and she handled it OK. I'm not doubting, just curious on the mountain bike requirement and whether I need to consider changing my plans.

    And, if you haven't watched it....the scenery is great inspiration http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Th...8?locale=en-US
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    DE
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    Ha ha - great minds think alike!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Bulgaria
    Posts
    271
    Hi, How many days will you ride these 850km? My idea is that if you ride more than 50 km per day, it will be a better idea to buy a FS because the hardtail tires your whole body when you go over the bumps and stones. We just bought this bike: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=59252 and my husband is very happy with it. I also tried it and I can say it's FANTASTIC! It's light, it has lots of gears, it has very good suspension both at the front and at the rear. The 16.5" would fit you just perfectly. I recommend it for longer and non-race type of rides.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
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    6,132
    If you can get by on a touring bike, I'd definitely recommend that route. I love my mountain bike, but in terms of weight distribution, I'd much rather be on my touring bike for all day comfort, especially with loaded panniers.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    231
    Thanks everyone for all of the tips and ideas. I plan to stick to the camino as faithfully as possible--that's not to say, I won't have to take the road at some points along the way. I have wanted to do this trip for so long and now being an empty nester, makes it possible. I hope to find a companion cyclist as my husband will not cycle with me and he's making a fuss about me doing it alone. I plan to take two weeks to go from St. Jean de Pied du Port to Santiago, then probably on to Finisterre. My first thought was to travel by touring bicycle, but all camino material I've read to date, says to use mtn. bikes. Of course, there are tour groups who use a variety of bike types. As I have a year to prepare, perhaps I'll check back in with Thorn to see how her journey goes next fall. I'll be spending the summer in the Pac NW where there are plenty of hills, so the type of bicycle on which I train is not so important at this time. I will start to check out local stores though. Thanks all for the advice.
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    '70s Nishiki Mixte

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Beautiful NW or Left Coast
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    this is something I have thought about doing too. I know you are fishing for bike recommendations, but i have no ideas to give you. I am wondering how much time you are allotting for the trip?
    I was thinking i'd ride on a hybrid bike with good tires.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    2,738
    MTBR.com has a really active "bikepacking" forum full of people who regularly do stuff like this. I recommend poking around there.

    I think I'd be looking at something like a Surly Troll or a Salsa Fargo for something like this. But that's utterly off the top of my head and without any sort of thought or research.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biciclista View Post
    this is something I have thought about doing too. I know you are fishing for bike recommendations, but i have no ideas to give you. I am wondering how much time you are allotting for the trip?
    I was thinking i'd ride on a hybrid bike with good tires.
    Yes, I'm absolutely fishing for ideas! I'm a road biker at heart, who probably won't pursue mtn. biking long term. But, I have a real drive to do this trip. What i'd really love is for someone to say, I'm 5'2" and I have a really great bike that I'd like to sell. I have some time and I'll keep watching this forum for some great ideas. Thorn said she plans to do the trip in the fall--I'll follow up with her. I plan to take two weeks to do the trip, but will probably add a couple of days just to be sure. BTW, if you're at all interested, I'm spending the summer on Bainbridge Island and would love to meet up for rides here and there. My husband and I bought a house there last fall.

    Quote Originally Posted by Becky View Post
    MTBR.com has a really active "bikepacking" forum full of people who regularly do stuff like this. I recommend poking around there.

    I think I'd be looking at something like a Surly Troll or a Salsa Fargo for something like this. But that's utterly off the top of my head and without any sort of thought or research.
    Thank you Becky. I will definitely look into the touring bikes. That was really my first thought and I think long term, I would be able to get much more out of this type of bike than a true Mtn. Bike.
    2011 Cervelo S3/Bontrager Affinity RXL
    2009 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Feminine 4/Bontrager Affinity RXL
    '70s Nishiki Mixte

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    Check out http://forums.roadbikereview.com/com...na-259050.html for a really cool story about international touring. These guys rode Surly Trolls as I recall....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    I have a friend doing this with his 28 year old daughter right now. I might be be able to hook you up with their blog.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
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    231
    Quote Originally Posted by azfiddle View Post
    I have a friend doing this with his 28 year old daughter right now. I might be be able to hook you up with their blog.
    That would be great! I'm reading just about anything I can get my hands on right now.
    2011 Cervelo S3/Bontrager Affinity RXL
    2009 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Feminine 4/Bontrager Affinity RXL
    '70s Nishiki Mixte

 

 

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