Gran Canaria - Biking Paradise
We visited Gran Canaria in 2016 and 2017. It is truly a biking paradise where you have only 7 rain days per year. It is magnificent to bike in the mountains and they do everything to make it a biking heaven. The roads are 95% in very good condition and every year they tackle one or more road which was not according standards. The climbs are not too steep and range between 5-7% which makes it great fun even for taller and heavier people like me 🙂
There are plenty of nice routes and climbs and this is all very subjective. Here I list a few of them
According to me the most beautiful climb of Gran Canaria due to the countless hairpins. While climbing you can easily look back on riders below you or target higher riders. Always good for a little competition 🙂
From the coast road you start with a long part in the valley where a lot of triathletes come to practise. After a couple of kilometers you start at the real climb which is a very nice one and also quite some hairpins. You can either take the full climb to the lake where there is a small cafe for a break or go to the left to end up just before the top of the Serenity climb. The Soria – Tauro pass is very steep at moments. First time I thought the road would end as the road condition is bad and it’s a small street, but just continue.
The highest point of Gran Canaria is called Pico De Las Nieves and will you bring along the volcanic rock Roque Nublo which gets a lot of visitors so that small part from Ayacata to the rock might be a little bit more busier, but it never bothered us. From Ayacata it is still 11 km climb to the top, so it should not be underestimated.
The name is perfectly reflecting how it feels. Once you go up the hill (GC-606), the first 2 kilometers are insane. If you ride like we did, by the time you reach this starting point of the climb, you already survived the 2 very steep climbs to overcome the dam. In the end, when you keep on going, you will end up at Ayacata. We did it once, and I don’t think I will do it again, as in March, still suffering some extra winter kilos, the condition is not yet optimal and this is very heavy. In stead, I recommend to continue on the GC-210 to Mirador del Molino, which will give you marvelous view on the lake.
With an average of only 3% this gentle climb is very nice to ride. This road will take you up to the Observatorio Astronómico de Temisas. Once you reach the planetarium the decent will start where you can go fast. There are few short gradients to overcome but not that hard. You can keep going down till you reach Agüimes, where the GC-500 starts.
Not a climb, but worth mentioning. I strongly advise you to ride in the direction that we ride this road. Normally there is always a strong tail wind, if you ride in the correct direction. You can really ride fast and even if you are alone you can keep your speed to 50 km/h and above. If you would end up in a group, it can even go faster. The only limitation you most likely will have is the 50 x 12 bike gear of your rental bike.
We rented our bikes at Free Motion which has a shop near Playa del Inglés which was on walking distance from our residence. The shops offers guided tours on several levels but also selected some bike stops where you can eat and drink. They are foreseen for bikers and you can park your bike on designated places and they have good food. The bikes we rented were either Cannondale of Specialized and the equipment was each time high quality. Service is friendly and there is a fun atmosphere at the shop. You might want to reserve and show up in time in the morning, as it could be crowded to pick up the bikes.
Via the website you can give your length to calculate the size of your bike and also your preference for pedals. Second year when I selected a Specialized Tarmac like at home, I got the same size and with the measurements provided the bike felt really like mine at home. So I would not bother too much about bike fitting. With the setup, you only need pack your clothes and drinking bottles.
Gran Canaria 2016
We stayed twice in the same basic accommodation. It is located in Playa del Inglés and less than 1 km walking to the beach. The rooms are basic and has a small kitchenette. We left in the morning after a breakfast and only came back in late afternoon for a shower or swim before going for dinner. So the room doesn’t have to be fancy, as you are only there to sleep. There is a sober sofa and old television. Those are old-fashioned, but we nearly used them. The view is nothing special, and only when you are on the top floors you can see the see. The second year we had partial see view from the balcony as we were on 5th or 6th floor.
There is a non heated swimming pool which is still very chilly in March. Once you survived to get in, it feels good. But it’s a bit too cold to really enjoy it. I guess more to summer this won’t be a problem. There are enough laying beds around the swimming pool and you have all day long sun if you move a bit around.
We took our bike via the old and small elevator to our floor and put the bikes on the room. That is allowed and very practical so you don’t have to bother for the rental bike when you are not around of the premise.
The only disadvantage is that there is only (weak) wifi around the swimming pool and the reception area. Anno 2016-2017 you expect better. In the reception they have books and folders for what is around. Staff was very friendly to us.
We went half way the trip for a sports massage at the Wellness & Beauty Gran Canaria. They have a center in the Hotel IFA Continental which is about 250 meter away from apartamentos Calma. We reserved late afternoon so we could go directly after our ride. It hurts, but you feel much better the day after. When you ride daily lots of kilometers, this might make the difference. The prices are very affordable. They can only take 1 person at a time, but ask them for the sauna. Like this person that is waiting can take a sauna.
In 2017 it was Carnaval when we arrived. You might take that into account as they really lock down the village shortly after noon. When you take a taxi from the airport to your hotel, it could be that you have to walk the last part. The procession is endless with trucks, music, lots of people. We enjoyed to look and the procession only ends late in the evening. As it started close to our residence we were lucky to not hear the music later in the evening.
The day after have to be careful and look out for glass on the road to avoid flat tires. They will clean everything fast and decent, but still we saw some places where glass was present. Luckily we avoided any flat tire.