A pilgrimage on pedals


You only need a couple of days to complete the last two stages of the route taken by Saint Ignatus of Loyola through Catalonia in 1522. The 50 kilometres that separate the cities of Igualada and Manresa, passing through the Monastery of Montserrat, offer the chance to follow a cycle touring route that has stages that are ideal for different levels of experience. 

From Igualada to Montserrat

We start out from the centre of Igualada, ready to tackle the 26.8 km of the first stage as far as the Monastery of Montserrat. This part of the route is moderately difficult, especially because the climb to Montserrat is very challenging.

From the centre of Igualada we head towards the Romanesque chapel of Sant Jaume de Sesoliveres and then to the village of Castellolí where there is a pilgrim hostel. We can also take a look at the old village church or drink some fresh water from one of its many drinking fountains while we are here. With the mountain of Montserrat permanently in view, the route then takes us deeper into the Montserrat Nature Park, a wild space that is full of places to explore. We then have to take the road towards Bruc before turning off to head towards Can Massana, we can then take the road around to the church of Santa Cecília, which has been converted into a centre for contemporary art, and up to the Monastery along the road, instead of the footpath used by those who are walking the route. Once in the Monastery of Montserrat we can dismount from the bicycles and take in the natural and architectural heritage of this popular destination. 

From Montserrat to Manresa 

The second stage starts at the Monastery of Montserrat and ends in the city of Manresa. It covers a total distance of 23.5 km. It is moderately difficult, but this time a large part of the route is a descent.
When descending from the church of Santa Cecília, it is best not to take any of the paths but to carry on straight along the earth track, passing a house on your left side and crossing the stream to reach the point where the footpath used by walkers joins the earth track that leads to Sant Cristòfol and Sant Jaume, in the municipal area of Castellbell i el Vilar. There is a stretch in the descent from Castellgalí in which it is better to dismount and walk carefully along the C-55, which is a very busy road. When you reach the capital of the Bages, cyclists can visit the impressive Seu de Manresa, the historical centre and the Cave of Saint Ignatius, a spiritual centre and the finishing point for pilgrims completing the Ignatian Way. 

Advice

It is important to plan your stages before getting in the saddle. Study the relief maps and arrange your equipment carefully on the bike (keep the weight in your panniers balanced and any documents, route maps and a mobile device in a bag on the handlebars). You should also book your accommodation in advance and plan the places you intend to visit nearby, if you have time. 


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