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Gran Canaria cycling - casual beginner level advice please

3 watchers
Sep 2015
2:00pm, 22 Sep 2015
2485 posts
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anne23
Ok so I'm not one of those proper road cyclists who go to GC for training and all that, I just enjoy a bit of cycling on holiday and want to get out and check out the scenery. I've done a bit of research and apparently the south is better for cycling so I'm probably staying in Playa del Ingles. My questions are:

* How crazy are the hills (feel free to compare to the following: Richmond Park, the A23 out of Brighton, Malta/Gozo, that big hill in Crete I cycled up a couple of years ago)? Will I have to keep stopping on the way up and if so, are there some roads I should avoid because they're not really safe unless you're moving at a good speed all the time?
* What kind of bike do I get? If I'm used to my old hybrid (Ridgeback Velocity, in case that means anything useful to people who know things) so would I fall off if I tried to use a proper road bike? I don't care about speed, and tbh I'd rather have something cheap and unattractive to potential thieves so I don't have to worry too much about leaving it locked up with only the rubbish lock that rental places always seem to provide. Recent holiday bike rentals were an old commuter style bike with a basket on the front, and a mountain bike. But on the other hand, it seems like road bikes are in much greater supply than other types, and presumably would be good for the hills.
* Do I need to book my bike in advance? I'm going at the end of October which apparently is getting into peak season for cycling, but I don't have any specific model or anything I want. Which leads me to...
* Where should I hire it from? I found free-motion.com who look very good but possibly a bit too serious for me (and also they require me to choose a pedal type - is "Tatzen" flat? I just want to wear normal shoes)
Sep 2015
3:24pm, 22 Sep 2015
12746 posts
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Yorkshire Pie
Just back from GC. I have no idea what hills down south are like so can't compare to your examples but most of them aren't that steep, just long. Assuming you're in the south there are no real routes to avoid - if you just want a pootle the Ayagaures road is nice, and when you get to the village you can decide if you want to do the hairpins or just head back down the valley. The coast road can get a bit busy between Arguineguin and Puerto Rico but it's not too bad between Maspalomas and Arguineguin or beyond Puerto Rico/Amadores. It's a bit more up and down rather than long climbs.

Free motion are good, as are Cyclo Canaria. Happy Biking used to be my favourite but they've changed hands recently and their opening hours are now a bit crap. No need to book in advance if you're not picky about what you get. For anything other than pootling round town I'd go for a road bike. The hybrids they have are more town bikes rather than "sporty hybrids".

I've certainly had flat pedals on a road bike from happy biking in the past, I assume the other hire shops will have some too.
Sep 2015
3:27pm, 22 Sep 2015
12747 posts
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Yorkshire Pie
This is the Ayagaures route - http://www.fetcheveryone.com/route-1745843

If you look at the elevation profile you'll see that one direction is much steeper than the other - head up the bottom of the valley (gradual climb) to Ayagaures, then up, then back down through Monte Leon/Montana la Data to avoid the steeper climbs. Or do what I sometimes do and just go up the valley and turn round, or up the valley and the hairpins and turn round.

There's a cafe with bike racks just before you get to the village.
Sep 2015
3:29pm, 22 Sep 2015
12748 posts
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Yorkshire Pie
Soria is another nice route - along the coast road towards Arguineguin (up and down but no long climbs), then a ride inland up the valley (gradual climb) and then you get to a steeper climb to the village itself. The first time I did this I had to stop part way up, but there's a lovely cafe at the end (go through the first village at the top of the main bit of climb, then it flattens out for a few km, then you get to Soria village with the cafe).
Sep 2015
4:45pm, 22 Sep 2015
1176 posts
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Spleen
I can't answer the more detailed questions but I can reassure on the second. The only two occasions I've used a proper road bike were holidaying on one of the other Canaries (Lanzarote). It felt weird at first and I had to cycle round the car park a few times before I got used to it. But it quickly becomes second nature. And in terms of weight it's an absolute revelation compared to my hybrid at home (which spookily is a Ridgeback Speed). If you're going to be hiring a bike for cycling between towns I would definitely get a road bike. It's not about speed, it's because they're so much less effort.

If they have some for hire I would even go for those cleats that lock onto the pedals. I was dead certain before trying them that I would be unable to do the twisty thing to disengage under pressure and would fall over every time I stopped. Didn't happen once. If I can manage them (I have a shouting match with my bike lights every time I take them off) anyone can.
Sep 2015
6:56pm, 22 Sep 2015
1608 posts
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MudMeanderer
YP has covered a lot of it. It is a great place to cycle, but little of it is flat. For the most part, just being occasionally aware of tourists in hire cars, they have an immaculate attitude to cyclists and will give you space and pass very safely. You see cyclists (legally) on the main motorways who don't seem to suffer any problems, which gives you an idea of their perception and awareness of cyclists.

With regards to what bike, if you're not comfortable with a road bike, have a look at Cyclo Canaria (http://www.cyclo-canaria.com), as they do hybrids and even pedelecs if you want assistance on the hills. The other thing to consider is guided tours, some of which minibus you up high and let you roll back down. But it's also good to be pointed to the interesting areas and have support if you need it.
Sep 2015
10:30am, 23 Sep 2015
2486 posts
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anne23
Thanks everyone, that's really useful advice. I will definitely check out that Ayagaures route. Good to know the bike itself shouldn't be too scary...

I thought of another question - will I be able to hire a helmet with the bike? Trying to keep luggage to a minimum.
Sep 2015
11:06am, 23 Sep 2015
12750 posts
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Yorkshire Pie
Yes
Sep 2015
12:07pm, 23 Sep 2015
2487 posts
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anne23
Ace! Thank you. Really looking forward to this now.

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Maintained by anne23
Ok so I'm not one of those proper road cyclists who go to GC for training and all that, I just enjo...

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