Hand Luggage Cycling Getaways: Gran Canaria - Total Women's Cycling

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Hand Luggage Cycling Getaways: Gran Canaria

You don't need to pack your wardrobe and the kitchen sink for a cycling adventure

Words by Hannah Reynolds on Twitter and Instagram

Gran Canaria has all year round warm weather, a huge variety of butter smooth quiet roads, a stunning coastline and mountainous interior, which makes for a varied mix of riding.

Flights are available from most UK airports and flight times are around 4.30 hours, making it more mid-haul than short-haul. Close enough for a long weekend but far enough to guarantee you warm weather, even in the depths of a UK winter.

The other Canary Islands, such as Lanzarote and Tenerife are also popular cycling destinations but Gran Canaria offers a little more variety in terms of the terrain and route options.

Cycling in Tenerife is very fixated on the slopes of the extinct volcano of Mount Teide, which is used by many pro teams who sleep at altitude in the hotel at the top and train on its lower slopes but one of the best views of Mount Teide is from the Pico de les Nieves on Gran Canaria.

Sandy beaches, delicious Canarian food and stunning landscapes make this Gran Canaria the perfect spot to escape to when the British winter is getting you down.

How to get there

Served by a number of budget airlines including EasyJet and Jet2, Gran Canaria is easy to reach from all of the UK.

The airport is located in the eastern part of the island, 12 miles south of the busiest town on the island Las Palmas. Maspalomas is a popular tourist destination with those looking for the beach and golf, as well as bike riders as it is in a good position for most cycling routes. There are many companies such as Hoppa offering cheap private transfers or you can find hotel and transfer packages and complete holidays from jet2.

Bike Hire

For everything you need for cycling in Gran Canaria visit Free Motion, not only do they offer bike hire where you can pick the latest models from Cannondale, Specialized, Pinarello, BH or Haibike, they also have a guiding service, shop, mechanics and can offer assistance with finding bike-friendly hotels.

This is the place to head even before you set foot in Gran Canaria. Free Motion also offers packages of 5-day bike hire with 3-guided rides, starting at €159.00 and going up to €269 for a Cannondale SuperSix Evo with Dura-ace.

Accommodation

Gran Canaria has a wealth of accommodation, mainly in hotels, from the budget to the boutique.

There a few places that are cycling specific, but many are cycling friendly, check out the recommendations for Free Motion. There are plenty of hotels offering all-inclusive and half-board options, which can be good if your cycling has left you so exhausted you are happy to just chill in your hotel the remainder of the day. Maspalomas has some of the greatest variety of accommodation as it is popular with golfers, young families and retired sun-seekers, as well as cyclists.

Where to ride

Pico de las Nieves is the highest point on the island and thus the destination for many rides. It can be ascended from three different sides depending on where on the island you base yourself and how far you want to ride.

Starting from the sea level resorts this 1950m mountain can help you accumulate some serious climbing. It is easiest when tackled from Maspalomas, a 42km ride to the summit with an initial climb to a stunning viewpoint before a short descent allows some recovery leaving a relatively steady ascent to the top.

For a real challenge tackle it from Carrizal, covering 26.7 km long to gain 1835m in altitude. Beware when looking at the average gradients for these climbs as they seldom tell the full story, there are short sections of flat or even descent between some very steep ramps.

Café stop

Soria is a popular route, it is remote and very quiet compared to the busy tourist coastlines. It is also at the top of a climb, so finding a coffee shop out here is manna when you most need it. Casa Fernando is friendly and traditional, they do refreshing squeezed juices and simple, basic meals that you will be very glad of later in the ride! Pandaderia Dulceria la Hornada de Pan is a bakery in Santa Lucia owned and run by a passionate racing cyclist so a popular spot for local resident riders.

Post-Ride hang out

Off the bike, the range of options varies resort to resort. If you are looking for evening entertainment Playa des Ingles has more of a party scene whereas Maspalomas offers more traditional restaurants and a quieter vibe.

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