Timo Rokitta: "The Camino del Cid is a real pioneer in this gravel-area"

Timo Rokitta en el Camino del Cid (Imagen: T.R en www.gravelcyclist.com)

Timo Rokitta in the Camino del Cid routeTimo Rokitta in the Camino del Cid route
- How did you find out the Camino del Cid?

Four years ago at christmas I saw the movie "El Cid" with Sophia Loren and Charlton Heston on TV. Then I began to be interested in the topic of El Cid. That's how I came to the Camino del Cid page.

- What prompted you to travel along the route? What issue got you to come?
I find it exciting to follow in the footsteps of "El Cid" and get to know the original Spain in the process.

- Had you cycled any other route in our country before?
I rode a lot of motorcycles in my "previous life". I've been touring in Spain with it many times. I have crossed the Pyrenees and once even Spain completely from top to bottom and back again. In september 2021 I was riding on the “Ruta de la Plata” from Seville to Gijon.

- Please, tell us something about your travels along the Camino del Cid. You have done it three times, don´t you?
Yes, I have been on the Camino del Cid three times. In 2018 I ride 1.000 kilometers from Burgos to Valencia. In 2019 the El Cid rings from Calatayud to Valencia again 1000 kilometers and in May 2021 the route "defending the south" from Valencia to Orihuela (Murcia) and back to Valencia with 500 kilometers.

- Always on a gravel bike...
Yes, I've always been on a gravel bike.

- A few days ago a gravel biker told me that this kind of bicycle “hooks”. In your opinion, what advantages does gravel offer over another kind of bike?
The gravel bike has the advantage of being able to ride on the road and on unpaved roads. In addition, it offers the option of taking luggage with you.

- We have recently released the gravel tracks of the Camino del Cid, how do you rate this initiative?
I think it's great to finally offer special routes for gravel bikers. The mixture of small streets and unpaved paths offers a lot of variety. The Camino del Cid is a real pioneer in this gravel-area.

-  There are those who think that gravel is a temporary style. What do you think about it?
Absolutely not - gravelriding has been very popular in the USA for years. It is right to avoid road traffic. It's much safer to drive on unpaved roads. The scenic experience is also much higher here.

- Your experience was reflected in a series of reports published by several specialized magazines. What reception did they have? Why do you think this route could excite a foreign gravel rider?
My reports are literally devoured by gravel bikers all over the world. I only get positive feedback on my articles and the pictures. Some readers have already been on the Camino del Cid themselves. Adventure, history and sport and almost always good weather - what more could you want.

-  In your reports, you make several nods to the figure of El Cid, the medieval Spanish hero in which the route is based. What opinion do you have about the character?
El Cid was someone who still had ideals and stood up for his country Spain. Today most people are still trying to swim with the mainstream.

-  You are German, how was your experience on the road? Was the language an important barrier?
Most of the people we met on the way spoke english or even a little german. I always got along with the few words of spanish that I can speak.

- I guess you lived many anecdotes, can you tell us any?
There are an infinite number of anecdotes about our travels on the Camino del Cid that I could tell you about.

I would like to mention only three of them here: first of all, it is always the helpfulness of the people who help you with problems. Be it the doctor treating allergies after a bee sting or cyclists helping to change a tire. A special anectode is the "fire toro" experience in La Iglesuela del Cid, when the bull chased us through the streets. Or the violent thunderstorm in September 2019, when no one was on the streets anymore, but I continued my gravel bike to Valencia – and I am going down on a slippery bikeway in Valencia.

- If you had to choose a landscape, a village, a moment of your journey along Camino del Cid, which one would you choose?
There are many beautiful moments, villages and landscapes on the Camino de Cid. We particularly liked the ride on the "Via Verde Ojos Negros". The track on the old railway line with its tunnels and feet is simply spectacular.

- In a few words, what did you like the best about the Camino del Cid? What would you highlight?
I especially liked the variety on the Camino del Cid. Mane experiences new adventures every day and sees new landscapes and historic villages every day. The best part is the mix of everything: landscape, villages, people, stories.

- Will you come back to Spain to make a new trip?
I will definitely be going back to the Camino del Cid. For 2022 I have planned to cross Spain on the "Via Verdes" from Santander via Valencia to Gibralta. Here my track will also lead me to parts of the Camino del Cid. Since I am also a fan of old steel bicycles and have just bought a vintage Peugeot bike from 1980. I had now the idea to ride the road bike route of the Camino del Cid from Burgos to Valencia with this bike in spring 2022. As old-fashioned as it was 40 years ago - that would definitely be an adventure too.