Gone Bike About...

 


Tenerife Sur Airport – Los Abrigos – Vilaflor – Santiago del Teide – Icod de los Vinos – Puerto de la Cruz – La Laguna – San Andrés – Santa Cruz – Güimar – El Médano         

(345 km)

 


Eternal spring time, with temperatures hovering around 
24°C year round, makes the Canary Islands a perfect Christmas/New Year 
destination. However, with visions of ugly, overcrowded resorts, Kurt 
wouldn’t hear tell of it. That was until Darina produced evidence of 
Tenerife being the training ground for Tour de France hopefuls…
and he relented.

  


Pay back!


To prove that she was game, Darina suggested heading up to Vilaflor on day one. Not 
true! This was Kurt’s idea of fun: 1,400 altitude metres over a mere 25 km. 
Google maps helped with quiet roads, but at a price. Had the gradient 
been any steeper, we would have been cycling upside down! Nonetheless, it 
did avoid the busy resorts on the south/south west coast.

  


They’re not 
afraid of colours in Tenerife!

  

The vegetation in the south was dry and desert like, with 
a variety of cacti and colourful flowers by the roadside. It wasn’t until 
we reached the altitude of Vilaflor that we entered pine forests.



All the cacti you can dream of

  


 

 
  


The highest point


Day two brought us up the side of the Teide 
volcano
, the highest mountain in Spain (3718m). After reaching the 
highest point of 2100m, the road led though a desolate lunar landscape 
and continued through a huge lava field dating back to the last eruption 
in 1798. Temperatures dropped to 7°C, which is relatively mild 
considering other years it would have been a snowfield.

  



The Teide volcano looms ahead

  


Lava fields
from 1798

  



Teide country

 


The route down to Santiago del Teide was 
another one that Google maps found for us. It turned out to be a 
strenuous mountain biking trail through pine forests and lava fields, 
with a rainbow thrown in for good measure!



The Google-maps short cut!

  


Under the rainbow
  


Masca hairpin bends


The Masca valley was one of our highlights. 
The dramatic road meandering through the mountains here is described by the local 

bike hire company
as having more hairpins than a Japanese Geisha 
house
! After Masca village, the traffic thinned out 
considerably and the views continued to be just a spectacular.

  



The stunning Masca valley

  


Views as far
as La Gomera island

  


On the northern coast, we enjoyed the colourful town 
of Garachico, cycled through banana plantations and ended up in 
Icod de los Vinos. This is where Kurt had his first rest day and 
Darina her first shopping fix! The main tourist attraction here is the 


El Drago tree
,
whose sap turns dark red when exposed 
to the air. This may account for the local legend that these trees grow 
where dragons died.




View of Garachico

  


Steep inclines in Garachico



Garachico

  


Decorative wooden balconies, Icod



El Drago tree, Icod de los Vinos

  


Street art in Puerto de la Cruz


Christmas Eve saw us in a giant German old folks 
home: Puerto de la Cruz. This was really the only resort we 
visited on the island, but at least, it does have a real town attached to it. Darina had another serious shopping fix, while Kurt was checking out 
street art in the old town. It’s also the place where we suffered our 
worst paella ever … but that happens!

  



Puerto de la Cruz

  


Christmas dinner in Tacoronte was a German 
mixed grill complete with sauerkraut and potato salad washed down 
with home-brewed beer. Without this international option, it could have 
been a weight-watchers’ day with all the local eateries boarded up.



Christmas dinner

  


El Sauzal



Garachico

  


Anaga mountain range

Anaga mountains

in the northeast are pretty stunning. On a personal note, we saw the 
local sub-tropical cloud forest turn into a local sub-tropical rain
forest, and views were only to be had on our descent into San Andrés.

 

  


Sub-tropical 
cloud forest becomes sub-tropical rain forest!

  



The Anaga mountain range in the rain

  


Our favourite beach was Playa de Las Teresitas 
in San Andrés. Golden sand imported from the Sahara, coupled with a wave 
breaker makes this a beautiful, safe place for a dip. With no hotels in 
town, it manages to remain relatively quiet. Most visitors are 
day-trippers from the capital Santa Cruz , 11 km away, who take advantage 
of the numerous  seafood restaurants in town. We rented a house for 
three days (40 euros a day) and the La Pandorga restaurant never 
ceased to impress.



Las Teresitas beach, San Andrés

  



Las Teresitas beach

  


Paella
  


Circulo de Amistad Xll de Enero


In Santa Cruz, even Kurt had a shopping fix. 
But to give him his due, he found a fantastic example of Calatrava 
architecture in the local 

concert hall
. Santa Cruz is a buzzing city full of pedestrian 
streets, plazas and parks, with a long promenade along the harbour, where 
5 cruise ships were docked that day.

  


Calatrava’s 
concert hall, Santa Cruz

  


The Irish have been everywhere!



Oops! Street artist in Santa Cruz

  


Our last leg saw us cycling back to the airport on 
the old TF28, a quiet scenic road leading through little villages 
way above the coastal motorway. Güimar was our 
half-way point and from here we had a little hike through Malpais 
(bad lands) with lava dating back 10,000 years. The last stretch was 
touring cycling at its best: plain beautiful without being strenuous or 
repetitive.




An array of colour on the TF28

  


Malpais, Güimar



Salt flats in Malpais

 



Malpais, Güimar

  


Black-sand beach, El Puertito



On the TF28

  


Casa Rural, Vilaflor


Our accommodation in Tenerife varied from a 
resort hotel, to hostels, to apartments to rural hotels/houses, the latter 
referring to friendly run guesthouses in historical buildings, rather 
than a remote location.

  


Casa Casilda, Tacoronte



Casona Santo Domingo, Güimar

  


The food did not disappoint and there were 
quite a few local specialities worth sampling. Seafood, grilled cheese 
and rabbit abounded and many dishes were served with papas negras 
arrugadas
(small black wrinkled potatoes boiled with a serious 
amount of salt). A recurring theme was mojo, a dipping sauce made 
of coriander/parsley or red peppers with garlic, oil and seasonings.



What do you fancy from this menu?

  


Mixed tapa platter



Lapas (Limpets with coriander mojo)

  


Escaldón 
(savoury porridge)

& mojo


Affordable prices

  


Lanchi & Manuel, Casa Casilda
 The
 locals
are pretty relaxed, as well as very friendly and helpful.
 This is also reflected in their driving habits, making Tenerife an ideal
 cycling destination. It’s obviously no secret, as the place is
 swarming with international racing cyclists training for their summer
 competitions. We didn’t meet any other packed bikes, so Kurt felt
 somewhat unique among the 5 million tourists Tenerife hosts annually!