Is Gran Canaria really all that “Great”?

Jealousy EnvidiaI was recently asked about “cycling on the big island”, and I shot off a reply about the best routes in Tenerife. Anyway, it turns out the person was referring to Gran Canaria. Oh dear. This was more or less my reply:

Sorry I was a little confused there about which island you meant. 😆

Here, at least when I think of “Gran Canaria”, I think of the complete name somewhat like when you say “windscreen wipers” or “babysitter”. You tend not to think of them as separate words anymore. Your brain just processes the entire concept all as one thing.

Tenerife is actually the biggest island with 2,034 km² surface area according to wikipedia. Gran Canaria has 1,560 km². Like I care, because I am Australian, and Australia has 7,617,930 km²). The highest point of Tenerife, Mt Teide at 3718m, is also much higher than the highest point on Gran Canaria (only 1950 metres hehehe). I think this is where part of the resentment comes from…

The thing is, if you read the local Spanish paper El Día, both sides continually debate the use of the term “Gran” in Gran Canaria. They reproduce historic maps of varying antiquity with and without the “Gran” in front. Then the other side counter-attacks by reproducing a quote from a hitherto unpublished source. You see, in Spanish, Gran doesn’t just mean ‘big’, it means ‘great’. So the TV show “big brother” is actually wrongly translated as “gran hermano”. Anyway.

Gran Canaria Mapa Antiguo Historico Great Canary MapI can sort of see where they are coming from. I mean look at the map to the left right here – ironically the “gran” pretext is written in small caps! And on some maps it is missing altogether.

But seriously, you would have thought that the locals have better things to debate about… I’ve come to the conclusion that some Canariones have an inferiority complex.

And it’s funny how the English and Spanish versions of Gran Canaria differ in wikipedia. No mention of the debate at all. 😐

Glad I could help you out with the links. Back when I started Tenerife-Training in 2005, there wasn’t much info online at all w.r.t. cycling in the Canaries.

Anyway, seeya round mate!

Bike availability in December January 2010?

Hi Leslie, I’m looking to go to Tenerife for a week either in Dec or Jan, depending on work commitments it will either be Dec 6th-13th or else for a week early in Jan. I’m 6ft and my own bike is 56cm frame although a taller one would suit fine as well. I won’t know the exact dates for a couple of days, but just sending a preliminary email to get the ball rolling,


Hello Ivan,

At this stage, from next week isn’t too busy and neither is the first week in January….. click here to see what bikes are still available.

But those two small windows of opportunity are closing rather rapidly! After mid December, I’m pretty booked out from the christmas period right through to March… it’d be great if you could get back to me regarding the bike rental and I’ll squeeze you in…

Thanks a million,