Having just returned form my second year cycling in Gran Canaria, I thought I’d share why I love cycling on the Island and what makes it unique in comparison to some of the other popular winter training destinations.
Flying into Las Palmas, the GC1 (motorway) runs around the south of the island keeping the coastal roads East & West of our chosen base Maspalomas quiet. Staying at the South of the Island means depending on the direction of the prevailing wind, it’s easy to ride out or back with tail wind before or after attacking the Mountains! Oh… did I forget to mention it’s possible to ride from sea level to 1949m (Pico De Las Nieves) up beautiful volcanic valleys.
The palm tree lined roads of the coastal towns soon disappear as you climb through red rock cactus lined canyons, stopping at the occasional village which will no doubt have a bike stop with a café con leche readily available. Eventually the twists and turns lead to the Deep Canarian Pine Woods which adorn the centre of the Island, a tree unique in the entire planet, and one of the reasons why UNESCO awarded the island the Biosphere Reserve label.
The roads are generally faultless though some stretches higher up, or lesser ridden passes such as the ‘Valley of Tears’ aren’t great. Better up than down! Temperatures wise, the heat will rise from 20°C in February up into the mid 30’s in April. The higher you climb, the cooler it gets, so packing a windproof or arm warmers for your 40km descent is wise.
So where to ride? Some of our roads ranked with pictures below:
(Maspalomas - Arteara - Fataga - San Bartlome)
(San Bartlome – Calero Bajo)
GC-500 : GC-505
(Meloneras – La Playa De Arguineguin – Soria)
GC-505 : GC-605 : GC-200
(Barranquillo Andres – Pie de La Cuesta – San Nicholas)
GC210 : GC-60
‘The Valley of Tears’
GC-60 : GC-600
(San Bartolome – Ayacata – Roque Nublo - Pico De Las Nieves)
GC-130 : GC-120
(Pico de Las Nieves - Ingenio)
We hired bikes from Free Motion cycles in Meloneras. Bikes start at 20euros a day for a carbon 105 equipped road bike. Don’t forget to pick up their great route map with elevations profiles and marked café stops too.
The island is also popular with hikers and trail runners. This year we saw the finish of the Tran Gran Canaria Ultra Marathon. Needless to say, I’m sure we’ll be back, and hopefully next time we’ll include some running too!