Dear Dr. Brown:
My wife (57 yeas old) and I (62 years old) are considering a trip to the Canary Islands during the last two weeks of February and the first two weeks of March.
We are both avid cyclists and have ridden in many places all over the world and were planning on bring our bikes. We have older Italian Steel Frame bikes that we have modified by adding a Campy racing triple setup and a range of 50-40-30, in the front chainring and the rear cogset has a 25 on the largest cog. The bikes are further modified with an S & S coupling so that they fit into a suitcase that meets airline regulations. and which will fit into the boot of a car.
We have enjoyed reading your website and blogs about cycling in Tenerife and are a bit concerned as to whether we are actually up to the measure of the riding you have described. We were planning on renting a car and were hoping that there were places on Tenerife to which we could drive and than ride some distance without having to climb in excess of two thousand meters on each ride. We consider a cumulative climb of two thousand meters spread out over the duration of a ride as something enjoyable.
To read some of the blogs of some of the riders who have ridden the various rides sounds like it would be a bit more like punishment for us since neither of us are training for Tour de France or any tour for that matter. Your “Slow-Poke Rodriguez rides sounds like the ideal ride for us and we were hoping to be able to put together more of the same while there. In fact we would be pleased to compensate you for putting together a series of rides that we could do that would fit our criteria (if that is even possible). We have the AA Tenerife Island map with a scale of 1:50,000 and also the Tenerife Bus and Touring Map.
Additionally we do like night-life and very much enjoy dancing and were trying to determine the best place to base ourselves. Santa Cruz de Tenerife was our original thought but we had also considered staying in Puerto de la Cruz. We don’t really want to be in south with all of the “package people”.
Any thoughts that you are able to share with us would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your help.
Well I can certainly suggest suitable cycling routes and having the car helps as it will cut out a lot of climbing and shorten the rides considerably. Your bikes sound adequately geared for most climbs although I’d still consider a 26 or 27T rear cog in addition to the triple. This of course depends on where you go… some parts of the island are steeper than others. I think with experience on your side, you’ll both be okay.
You’re in luck because tonight and tomorrow I’m not all that busy & since you’ve asked, I’m happy to suggest some routes for you. I don’t ask for payment, but then I don’t knock it back either ! 😉 You can always make a donation with paypal to “email@example.com”, any money you provide goes straight back into the website itself, running the new cycling forum & blog, or else the actual rental bikes + equipment.
I try to continually improve upon things, but it is a slow process. I’m really the only one running the whole enterprise, and times have been tough but I’m just managing to hang in there financially.
So anyway, on with the rides. The furthest part of Tenerife from the South is Anaga. That’s your best bet for intermediate climbs away from package people. By “intermediate”, I mean that each climb is never higher than 1000m, but some of the roads approach 10% average gradient, that’s why I suggest you find a bigger rear sprocket.
The roads here are truly awesome & there’s suprising little traffic considering how close it is to Santa Cruz. Start from either Las Mercedes or San AndrÃ©s. The top part travels along the spine of Anaga and is pretty flat. There’s a lot to explore; unfortunately there are no loop roads but it really doesn’t matter… there aren’t too many places to eat, and they generally don’t serve food until after midday. The difficulty of the climbs is in the following order (easy to hard): batan de abajo, Las Carboneras / Taborno, Afur & finally Taganana. I haven’t cycled up from the Southern San Andres side (only down) but I can say that the road + scenery is fantastic there too.
The Teno range is also great. There you can start from Garachico and head to Buenavista (that section is about as flat as it gets along the North coast), then head over to Punta de Teno and back to Garachico stopping for lunch.
I’ve been meaning to update the rides & I’ll say now that from El Puerto to Garachico is getting too busy with traffic to be super-enjoyable, although that’s where you see the most local cyclists (there is a cycle lane). If you prefer to give that road a miss, start from Los Realejos instead which is actually very close to El Puerto. To avoid the steep roads of Los Realejos while you still have the car, make sure you’ve definitely found the start of road TF-342 and begin there. Head along through Icod el Alto, La Guancha towards Icod and back anyway you please.
Another great ride would be to climb from Garachico, loop around the snakey road to Icod de Los Vinos, and back to Garachico. That might not take very long, so stop at San Marcos beach for lunch that day.
Masca is very steep so if you consider doing the Garachico – Santiago del Teide – Masca – El Palmar – Buenavista Garachico route, do it in that order. If you do it the other way around, you’ll run into a killer 4km climb. You can avoid this by cycling in the aforementioned direction. The 4km climb then becomes a 4km killer descent!
Teide: Start from either Aguamansa or La Esperanza and head up the 5% grade as far as you feel like going, and then simply do a 180Â° turn and coast back to the start point!
Slow poke Rodriguez is definitely a flatter are than most of Tenerife; if I were you I’d start in El Sauzal or Tacoronte and explore that region (Guamasa, Tejina, Bajamar, Punta de Hidalgo, Tegueste). What I call Slow poke rodriguez is okay I guess, but nothing spectacular (remember: when climbing, you’re usually rewarded with great views!).
I think you’d find El Puerto more interesting that Santa Cruz. While it is a resort, it has a small-scale feel to it. It’s aimed primarily at older German tourists so you won’t see many other brits about. I know just the place for you to go Line Dancing, adjacent to “Plaza de Charco” right in the town centre. Some older folks are never afraid to strut their funky stuff… other places will be too dead if you like nightlife. The old part of La Laguna is quite nice at night, but between there and Santa Cruz is a contuous urban metro zone which you’ll probably want to avoid at all costs.
Well I hope I’ve been a big help!
Thanks very much for your praise,
Have a good night!