Wishing to escape the British winter for a cheeky weeks training in the beautiful sunny climate of Tenerife, I took the opportunity to ‘mystery shop’ the bike rental shop and to a degree, Tenerife itself. The trip was a last minute decision, so not having time to ask friends or carry out detailed research; I simply surfed the net for a bike rental shop and clicked on the first result, The Bike Point, Tenerife.
Their web site is very informative giving guidance of the type of weather to expect at certain times of the year and also what cycle clothing would be best to wear.
They have a large selection of bikes to hire, both road and mountain. Road bikes range from the VIP range featuring full carbon with both electronic and conventional gears to the standard road bike range. The Mountain bikes range is limited to a lightweight 29’’ with lockable 100mm from suspension fork, with 20 or 30 speed SLX gears.They also offer guided tours of different rides throughout the island, each tour having three different levels of ability. I selected a road bike from the pro range, filled in the simple form, pressed the send button and I was sorted or so I thought.
The following day I sent an enquiry asking if they rented out Garmin computers, to which I received a prompt reply informing me they only supplied the standard bike computer. Five days later I was standing in the extensively stocked shop, surrounded by bikes of all kinds, some for sale as well as for hire. Bike pedals in hand eagerly waiting to get on the bike and to start my winter training, I chatted with the knowledgeable staff. Unfortunately in my rush to leave the Hotel I forgot to pick up my passport which is needed to secure the rental. (It is clearly stated in their information on how to hire a bike).
Looking forlorn and a little terrified of another taxi journey (I can’t prove it but I strongly suspect the creators of Grand Theft Auto based their characters on Tenerife taxi drivers!), the guys in the shop offered to lend me the ‘staff mountain bike’ to go and collect my passport. A very kind gesture which was gratefully received; not only would I be able to keep my heart beat under its maximum, I would be saving 6 euros. Result.
Back in the shop, after a 7 km initiation ride cycling in busy Playa de las Americas, the staff and I discovered a little glitch in the booking process. My original email with the booking form attached had ended up in the spam folder. The staff was aware of the glitch and had rectified the fault, but somehow my email had slipped through the net. To be fair, I was so busy prior to leaving, I hadn’t given it a thought that I had not received a confirmation email from Bike Point. If I had, things might have been different. However the staff couldn’t have been more apologetic or helpful. This glitch resulted in me having a free upgrade to the VIP range, and before I knew it, my pedals had been fitted and I was on my way on a Focus Ergo R , full carbon, with Dura Ace fitted throughout, sitting on 25mm Continental Grand Prix tyres. Result number two!
Bike Point – Recommended
I had fitted my Garmin Touring Edge (bought two days prior) which passed it’s first test by getting me out of the town and on my way up the West coast. I have read many articles about Tenerife, but my powers of retention resulted in me only remembering two main points; Tenerife has an excellent warm dry climate, and pro teams use the volcano El Teide as a training ground, both for hill and altitude training. And that was about it!
So without wishing to sound stupid it came as a surprise to me to find out there are hardly any flat roads on the island. No wonder it is the perfect training ground for many pro teams and amateurs a like. Although some of the roads are in worse condition than roads found in Britain! Just like Bike Point, Tenerife didn’t disappoint (Result number three). It was late February and the weather ranged from 21 to 26 degrees without a drop of rain, although on the East coast there was a strong head wind.
Fortunately I was on the South of the island, protected by the North winds and discovered the temperatures experienced were not abnormal for the time of year. For near perfect all year cycling conditions, Tenerife hits the spot. The island has it’s own microclimates; sunny and dry on the South side and cooler (and possibly wetter) on the North side.
The upper part of the island is often covered in cloud layer at around 1000 m that forms a ring around El Teide. However once you break through the layer at about 1500 m you enter a world of blue clear skies. I encountered exactly this on my most challenging ride of my trip – ascending El Teide. It was a beautiful warm day as I started my climb up El Teide. Dressed in summer cycling clothes; shorts, summer jersey (with base layer) and arm warmers, I pedalled my way up the relentless gradient for 4 hours!
At about 1000 m I had cycled through the cloud layer to emerge above it into clear beautiful blue skies. Riding above the clouds was a wonderful experience. Indeed conquering the 40 kms of uphill riding at an average of 6 to 9 degrees, topping out at a height of 2100 m, to then cycle in a ‘lunar’ landscape was really special. Not to mention the 40 km descent taking less than an hour. Surmounting El Teide has got to be on every keen cyclist’s bucket list.
Tenerife – Recommended