…and know that I am God Psalm 46:10
Not everyone walks the camino. Some ride the camino on bicycles and others ride on horseback. I encountered many cyclists during my pilgrimage and while I never saw anyone on horseback I did see the reminders that horses had passed by on the trail.
I can’t imagine riding my bicycle on the camino. The first day alone is completely uphill with an 8% grade. I was barely able to walk it in to Orisson. Now that I think of it I didn’t see too many cyclists those first few days climbing the Pyrenees. Once we began to descend the mountains get in to more hilly and flat terrains there were more of them. I remember early on some time in the first week I was ascending a rocky path and most bicyclists had to push their bikes. One woman was huffing and puffing her way and I simply took hold of the the handle bars and helped her push. We didn’t have a common language except the look of understanding that only two pilgrims can share.
I’m not really the bicyclist in the family. That role falls mainly to my husband and two younger daughters. Nonetheless I have ridden in the hills around Lexington and the bigger hills in the Finger Lakes region in New York State. And to be honest I prefer the flat bike path near my home. About 5 years ago we rode a cycling vacation sponsored by Trek bicycles. We were told that while the region in Tuscany is hilly we wouldn’t be riding up hills as much as we would be riding “climbs”. A climb is a slow ascent that goes on for several kilometers. I didn’t really enjoy that ride so much as each day was either a long climb or a downhill slope so I was either struggling up or just coasting down. OTOH I really enjoyed the aperol spritzes at the end of the ride.
But back to the camino…organized rides in the United States mostly have a set of rules or expected behavior for the cyclists. It is a curtesy when passing to call out “on your left”. Because there is nothing “organized” about a pilgrimage and there are so many different languages spoken this curtesy is moot. Often times I could not even hear a cyclists until s/he was right behind me. The first time this happened I stepped to the right so the cyclist could pass on my left. Bad move (literally) as the cyclist had moved to the right also and almost ran over me. He rode past me and waved his hand calling out a hearty Buen Camino greeting.
I continued this maneuver with varying success. Then I realized that the cyclist can see me and knows exactly where I am. If I just stop then s/he can simply go around me. No more guessing which way to move. DON’T MOVE
So be still…
…and you’ll be less likely to get run over 🚲