Speaking of planning, planning, planning. I have been trying to piece together some logistical pieces of this mad plan. So far, it's been pretty straight forward working out the details of getting from the US to London, where my eagerly awaits me. Then of course, the next thing is taking out of the attic of the house where I left it (that's another story altogether) putting it back together and packing it up.
OK, I am going to take the train from London to Paris with the bike. Also fairly straight forward and easy enough. I'll spend a few days in Paris because I have never been and always wanted to see the Louvre. I am a member of Warmshowers.org an online touring cycling community and hope to meet some french touring cyclists for fun and information.
Questions: Do I pedal straight out of Paris, or considering the cycle routes and what I find out, should I take the train again to Chartres and pedal from there? I want to see the cathedral there and begin my pilgrimage from the labyrinth.
Large urban areas can be terrifying on a bicycle. I have heard that the French are quite amenable to cyclists on their roads but still the congestion can be stifling. If anyone actually reads this here is something I figured out: Sundays are very quiet early in the morning. it's a great time to pedal out of town, not so much traffic. I tried this once pedaling out of Pueblo, Colorado on my first tour. That's a congested little urban area and I believe that overall American drivers are becoming less tolerant of cyclists. Once out of the city limits the countryside was spectacular as I left the high plains and headed into the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristos range.
But I diverge. The real stumbling block so far is figuring out how to send a bicycle ahead on the Camino Santiago a Compostela. Again, I have a plan. Dangerous territory I know. I would like to arrive at St. Jean Pied De Port on the french side of the Pyrenees and walk from there or Roncesvalles on the Spanish side. even tough there is a cycle community of pilgrims, it is traditional to walk although I also know that nobles in the days of old often rode their horses.
But walking has a much different feel to it. I love cycling, it's great and it is much better than driving. And even though cycling does put us in touch with the lay of the land, the smells, sounds, people...Walking can produce and ethereal effect. I once walked from somewhere in Vermont to the coast of New Hampshire. I did hitch a few rides here and there but mostly I just walked the quiet back roads of northern new England.
but I diverge once again. I would like to have my bike in Santiago at the end of the Camino in order to continue my ride south in the west of Spain.
So. I am trying to find a company that will ship my bike ahead and store it for me until I get there. The Confraternities of St. James have been useful as there are so many online resources that never existed before.
Isn't it funny. People have been walking the Camino for...what a thousand years or more and I think I need the Internet. Maybe I'm making this too complicated....