Saving “Pancho”, the most famous fish in the Canary Islands!

 pancho-mero-grouper-el-hierro2.jpg pancho-mero-grouper-el-hierro.jpg

This famous fish, who lives in the Marine Reserve known as Mar de Las Calmas, has become an icon of El Hierro and is now well-known all throughout the archipelago. The fish with big lips is apparantly a gentle giant, making friends easily with new local scubadivers. The grouper, affectionately named “Pancho”, is over 40 years old and weighs 40kg!

Unfortunately, spear fishermen recently killed his long-time partner, Natalia. So to ensure that Pancho doesn’t suffer the same fate, local restaurants have incited a verbal agreement not to serve grouper on the menu in a move of respect for Pancho. Likewise, the municipal government of El Hierro has advised all to respect the coastal pools where groupers lay their eggs. Paco remains a proud symbol of the fight to preserve this rich marine ecosystem.

Breaking the myth that children learn new languages faster than adults.

Adults Learning LanguagesEveryone already knows that babies take 1-2 years to learn basic language communication skills. What people tend to forget is that adults actually have several advantages over infants when it comes to learning new languages…

“But babies learn by immersion; they soak up everything like a sponge!”

… I can just hear the echo now. Its the same thing I tell you!!! In less than 2 years I went from knowing almost nothing (10 or 20 words) to being able to go to communicate effectively with people, go to the cinema, watch it in Spanish and understand the plot. But although it appears I can speak fluently, there’s still a lot that I don’t fully understand. There are huge gaps in my knowledge, gaps which only a formal education would fix.

During a recent adult coversation we had in the car concerning traffic rules, I recently asked a my 4 year old Spanish sister-in-law (who was sitting in the back seat with me) if she understood what was being said. She shook her head – the answer was most [Read more →]

We now cater for extra small riders!

We now cater for small riders! now caters for extra small riders! We’ve recently purchased some 16″ extra-small MTBs. These can be easily converted from a WSD hybrid style of bike (pictured below) to a conventional cross-country MTB.

Anthropometrics of human cyclists

Amornrat “Meow” Vatanatumrak of USA now takes the record for the shortest client, measuring 5’0″ (152cm). The previous record holder was Elena Lazkano of país vasco (Spain), who stood 5’1″ (155).


Link to the tallest client so far

Why in the world are we here? The mission statement:


  1. To provide the most reliable, professional-quality bicycle hire service which accommodates for all manner of cycling enthusiasts and their associated needs on the island of Tenerife.
  2. To provide an accurate, well-organised source of information about all aspects of cycling in the Canary Islands.
  3. To effectively & courteously communicate with all of our potential clients.
  4. To take advantage of the unique combination of Tenerife’s fantastic climate & mountainous terrain for physical training purposes.
  5. To minimise our impact on the environment by saving energy, reducing waste, reusing, repairing & ultimately recycling materials wherever possible
  6. To support the local Canarian culture whenever we have the choice. We firmly believe that “small is beautiful” We endeavour to show these principles to all visitors.
  7. To inspire people the world over; if you can cycle here, you can do almost anything.
  8. To demostrate to other businesses that you don’t have to be big, you just have to think big.
  9. The ultimate goal of is to be known by the entire worldwide cycling community.
  10. To demonstrate the superior efficiency of the humble bicycle whilst encouraging cycling as a simultaneous form of transport and exercise to everyone else.

Eggbeater Candy Pedals.


There have been many funky pedal designs in the last decade, and the original “eggbeaters” by Crank Bros often draw some strange looks. What could be better than 4 sided entry and terrific mud clearance? Nothing, except whenever I ride with standard eggbeater pedals, I feel like I am riding on the tiny little spindles, nothing more. They just don’t feel right because they don’t provide any solid pedalling platform at all.

Enter the Candy:


Although they look like they word work better than the original eggbeater, the platflorm can interfere with the souls of some shoes. I was forced to use a plastic spacer to raise the cleat height. On several occasions I felt the cleat twisting dramatically on the soul of the shoe, and I was unable to release my feet from the pedals. Despite over-tightening the two cleat bolts, the problem persisted. Since this is a potentially dangerous situation, I now refrain from using these pedals. Perhaps they work with other shoes, but not with mine (Decathlon rockrider 8). Other people I lent them to complained about the very same problem with different shoes. With the addition of the platform they are also no longer quadruple sided, but double sided.

Review of Time Alium MTB Pedals


Swapping pedals on our rental bikes is the most common chore here at In my business, I have tried and tested many types of pedals on the market.

I’ve tried a number of road & MTB pedals over the years, and I was pretty impressed with these, considering the price was only ‚¬40 per pair. Although they are heavy, they have the most positive retention of any pedal I have tried. You hear a single, well-defined “snap” upon each entry and exit. The feeling of security they provide is second to none, and I noticed it from the outset. The only down side is that this model doesn’t come with an adjustable float, so your knees are locked into place the entire time.

The zone where the cleat engages with the pedal is larger than with SPD pedals, so you never have to fumble about trying to find the entry point. Although I haven’t tested these in muddy conditions, they release whenever the need arises. All in all, I’d reccomend these to anyone who wants a fixed-float MTB pedal.

6’8″ Giant has to lower seatpost on XL 62cm size bike!

XXL extra large bicycle anthropometrics.

That’s right. This giant german man who stand 2.03m (6’8″) tall, rented one of our XL Mrazek BOH Road bikes just yesterday. The day before, he test-rode an XL 22″ sized Decathlon MTB, but found the seatpost was still ~5cm too short.

So when this road bike became available the following day (effectively 60cm center-center; 62cm center-top), I set the pro road seatpost to the maximum allowed height “safety height” mark, which resulted in a saddle to center-bottom-bracket measurement of a whopping 96cm. He attempted to straddle the bike and said “Ahh, you got me!” and we lowered the seatpost a few more cm to make it fit correctly…

Mathias Lohse of Germany (2.03m / 6’8″) now snatches the previous height record from Andrea Delcuratoro of Italy (1.93cm / 6’4″). Congratulations Mathias, and we hope to have some extra-long cranks available for our rental bikes in future.

 Link to the shortest client so far

2007 Promotion Winners Officially Announced!

Discrimination is second nature.

Sexual harassment or discrimination?

Every time you select a piece of fruit, based on the condition of its skin, you’re judging the contents. No one likes to eat a soggy banana or a rotten apple. We’ve come to learn that if  a banana is bruised & blackened on the outside, inside is most likely a soggy fruit mush. 

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Acupuncture without needles? An alternate way of treating stress, depression, and other anxiety-related illnesses:

Animal AcupunctureThe principals of acupuncture are based on the stimulation of certain points throughout the body. These points are interconnected and are known as meridians. The organs and limbs along these meridians beneficially respond to stimulation, with a subsequent relief of pain and an improvement in the general sense of well-being. [Read more →]

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labyrinth cartoon

The structure of the website has recently been updated to include new files & sub-directories. But for some time now, the older files have continued to remain hosted on the server. We have now redirected the old html files to their new permanent locations. You probably won’t notice anything, but that’s what’s going on anyway. If you experience any broken links, please tell us about it!

The puzzle of language learning.

the puzzle of learning a language

I often use the analogy that learning a language (including your first one) is like fittting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together to form a picture. Each puzzle piece could represent a word, clusters of pieces representing a phrase or an expression. The effectiveness of communication of a concept or idea is the ability of the puzzle to represent an image you are trying to portray. The number of puzzle pieces correlates directly with the number of words that the language contains, while the complexity of the puzzle reflects the difficulty of learning the language in question.

The Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use. Many other archaic words exist but are now considered obsolete. The average English speaker possesses a vocabulary of 10,000 to 20,000 words, using only a fraction of that in everyday conversation, the rest being recognition or recall vocabulary. Hence, no one can finish the entire puzzle, even given a lifetime of trying. The puzzle is only ever at most partially completed.

As you begin to learn a new language, the puzzle at first appears not to make sense. If you don’t recognise more than 2 or 3 key words in a 10-15 word sentence, it becomes almost impossible to comprehend. Hence, a vocabulary of 1000-2000 words is not enough to understand what is going on.The puzzle pieces don’t connect, and you can’t see the overall picture. 

In my opinion, there are a minimum number of words (I estimate ~5000) before you can actually begin to communicate. My estimate was based on highlighting the new words I had learned in a Spanish mini dictionary, and approximating the average number of highlighted words per page with the total number of pages. When I approached and surpassed that vocabulary level, my ability to communicate improved drastically. I could understand past, present & future tenses, and I also knew how to augment my knowledge of the language by asking appropriate questions in that language. In other words, I could use the new language to learn more about the world, including the language itself.