Solène & Clara: the adventure of 2 Master in Management Students biking from Bordeaux to Madrid for their fall term

It all started when we were enrolling for our Master in Management fall semester, which we both had chosen to take on the ESCP Madrid campus. We had just finished a 6-month bootcamp in the Army, which gave us a new outlook on our planet, on ourselves and on our willingness to take on challenges.

We were talking about how we liked to exercise when Clara suggested that, instead of taking the train or flying to Madrid, why didn’t we get there by bike. It would allow us to have a smaller impact on the environment, would be a great learning experience and a great adventure all at the same time.  


  • Day 1: Bordeaux – Mimizan | 138km – 218m
  • Day 2: Mimizan – Guéthary | 148km – 560m
  • Day 3: Guéthary – Zaldivia (passing by the Jaizkibel)| 115km – 1300m
  • Day 4: Zaldivia – Pancorbo | 141km – 1400m
  • Day 5: Pancorbo – Roa | 157km – 1200m
  • Day 6: Roa – Navacerrada | 133km – 1800m
  • Day 7: Navacerrada – Madrid | 60km – 330m

In France, we followed the Vélodyssée which goes from Nantes to Hendaye. It is a very nice path which is well signposted, allowing you to bike in the Landes region of France, unbothered by cars. 

As for Spain, we did not know what biking there would be like but it was an amazing experience: even though we had to use large roads, truck and car drivers gave us considerable safety distance while passing us. We started out by following Google Maps’ bike itinerary but found ourselves facing mountain bike paths, which was difficult with our road bikes. Instead, we found the perfect combo by mixing the recommended bike path with Google Maps’ car itinerary with the option to avoid highways.

Learning about Spanish Culture

In order to make the most of our trip, instead of booking B&Bs or campgrounds in advance, we decided to try to get lodging with local families ad hoc. This provided the added benefit of allowing us to connect with people from a different culture. 

Whenever we arrived in a village at the end of a long day on the road, we would ask a local family to host us, and it always worked! We were very fortunate to find very welcoming families, who, among other things, taught us how to make traditional tortillas, showed us historical villages, and introduced us to La Rioja wine. In addition to the human experience, it was a great introduction to Spanish culture and language.

We hope that our story will inspire others when they move to a new campus. Indeed, ESCP Business School with its campuses around Europe is ideal for this type of green transport. You just need a bike, a friend who is as crazy as you and you’re off.

Article written by Clara Montagnes & Solène Schuster, Master in Management Class of 2023