If you’ve ever come to Tenerife you know that it is often not what you expected it to be and that can be in a good sense and in the bad sense also. Let it surpise you positively but don’t come unprepared!
I know some of the information available on the internet can be confusing so we as a cycling company, having the experience and knowledge that we have both of the island but also of the many cyclists that we see year after year in our shop have decided to share our knowledge.
We love it when the cyclists come here and they leave happy and satisfied of their cycling week with the desire to come back for more! To help you do just that, we have decided to compile a list of things that all the cyclists should be aware of before coming to Tenerife that will possibly improve their cycling vacation.
1. They don’t consider the terrain/different areas when booking their accomodation
We understand that Tenerife is a very beautiful island and some people aren’t necessarily looking for the hustle and bustle of the bigger and busiers towns in Tenerife and they want a more quiet and retreat like cycling vacation BUT what they don’t realize is that booking an accomodation in the mountains or outside of the main towns comes at high costs not necessarily in terms of money but in terms of other things such as:
- Accomodations up in the mountains are very cold during winter, so cold that they need to use heating whereas that does not happen along the coast
- You absolutely need a car to stay there, otherwise it is very difficult to move around and you are stuck there most of the time
- You need to be quite fit as to go and come back from your accomodation you might need to consider some extra elevation and distance
- You can’t access all the cycling routes properly. The best location is Puerto de la Cruz because it’s strategically in the middle of the island and gives you the possibility to easily access almost all of the routes of Tenerife
- The whole island of Tenerife is one huge steep moutain, it’s not flat, there is no flat coast line, you can’t just walk down to the sea or to the center of the town, you would have to hop in the car even for a 5 minute errand, not my idea of a relaxing, and no worries vacation!
- There are some areas that are particularly rainy, where it basically rains every day like La Laguna, Tacoronte, La Victoria, La Matanza, San Juan de la Rambla etc.
2. They go out cycling too late in the morning
We see this time and time again and this is valid for the whole year.
The best strategy is to pick up the bike in the evening or pick the bike first thing in the morning when the shop opens (if you are renting abike) and also start your ride early in the morning, possibly as the sun goes up. Why? You need to understand that Tenerife is very close to the equator so Teide will be very hot in the summer (10 degrees celsius hotter than seal level) and not as cold as expected in the winter BUT in the winter the descents are brutally cold as there is this humidity cloud that settles on mid mountain that has the capacity to make you freeze.
As you might be suspecting already, the terrain is very challenging so leaving early in the morning will give you more time to explore your route and to be more relaxed and less rushed on your ride.
Another reason for leaving early which we love is that we come back early and enjoy the rest of the day with the family, by the pool, doing other activities, etc.
In the winter it gets dark very early and visibility is reduced and even though the drivers here are very careful and respectful of cyclists it’s always less safe to ride in the dark.
3. They stay too much time on Teide
Teide is a very stunning and unique place to be visiting but what many people don’t know is that because Tenerife is located so far south, just outside the coast of Morocco and even though it snows a couple of times a year, Teide peak is almost always above the clouds and being exposed to the sun almost all days of the year it makes it very nice and warm even during the winter months.
It might even be 4 degrees C out but it does not feel like it. The trouble comes when you start descending. As I said earlier, the descent from Teide can be very cold, much colder than expected making you very uncomfortable and unsafe so if you go up Teide, the best advice we can give you is first go early in the morning and then when you get there have a short 10 min break and come down asap.
4. They underestimate the weather of Tenerife in general
We have had soo many people tell us, “oh but I come from a very cold country, I am used to the cold, it’s not a problem!” And we have seen the same people coming back from some of their rides shaking and saying “you were right, we should have listened to you”.
There is cold and there is cold. Cyclists expect higher temperatures in Tenerife for being a tropical island which we do have by the coast but not have in the moutains. As a consequence people dress more lighly than they would in their own country which in the colder months is a big mistake. But don’t worry, it won’t be like that all the time, just some descents of some mountains, I just want you to be prepared for it.
5. They look for bike paths
Tenerife is a very nice island but one of the things it does not have is bike paths. You will be surprised by this but we feel it does not need any. Because the laws respecting the cyclists are very very strict and surprise surprise they are being enforced! Bikes and cars share the road in the most peaceful way!
All of the people, with no exceptions, who have cycled in Tenerife will tell you the same thing! “Wow!” They have never seen such level of respect for the cyclists anywhere in the world. Even though you will feel that some roads have more traffic, you don’t need to worry, just cycle confidently (and respect the cars too) and they will take care of you!
6. They take secondary small roads
This is a major one! Tenerife is already steep on the main roads but much steeper on the secondary small roads. Many cyclists, especially the inexperienced ones make the mistake of trying to avoid traffic or seek to go deeper in nature and they adventure themselves into these very steep over 25% gradient roads. Needless to say they end their ride very quicly without accomplishing anything and end up totally exhausted.
Main roads, all the way!
7. They underrestimate the elevation
Tenerife has quite some elevation, much more than any other place you might have visited, no question about it. Many cyclists come with the idea of doing hundreds of km per day but that is just not how it works here. We count the elevation and maybe hours and not so much the distance.
Our advice would be to start with a short ride and to increase your distance and elevation day by day if you are cycling more days. Some people only have one shot and they do the Teide ride on that day which is fine if you take it easy enough even the least experienced cyclist can make it.
8. They are afraid of the elevation
While not considering the elevation is a mistake also being too afraid of it is also a mistake! We have seen many inexperienced cyclists make it though a whole week of challening rides be it alone or together with someone. This happens especially to the women cyclists who train much less than their male counterparts who we see are quite hesitant of the challenge in front of them! Don’t be afraid! Taking it easy and increasing day by day while in the company of other cyclists will make you cycling vacation not only possible and doable but also exciting and enjoyable!
By following these simple tips, you will always know what to expect while cyclists in Tenerife, of course there are many more tips but if you follow these you will make your Tenerife cycling vacation 10X better!
What are some of your own best cycling tips in Tenerife? Share them with us below!