2019 Lanza Trip
21st September 2019
2019 Lanza Trip
Three of us took advantage of the guaranteed near perfect cycling climate Lanzarote offers at this time of year to get in some decent pre-season base mileage on this very cycle friendly Canary island.
Andrew Green has made this cycling mecca a regular event on his annual two wheeled calendar and Shaun Kennedy and myself followed his lead on routes and general itinerary for the week.
We stayed in Costa Teguise which is on the south east coast and well situated to explore all corners of the Island with a variety of route options. Staying at the Bluebay Resort we went with the all-inclusive deal for convenience and constant access to food and beer that’s obligatory when returning from a hard day in the saddle. This is a complex of apartments that are ideal for this type of holiday. I could probably dedicate a whole review just to this place but in a nutshell, friendly staff, very clean, food is high in volume although questionable quality at times. As it turns out this is mainly frequented by tattooed Brits with an average BMI of about 40 and possessing an alcohol tolerance just as impressive as their BMI. This environment proved great entertainment for people watching at a safe distance whilst avoiding eye contact at all times.
Flying from an early start at Gatwick we arrived at midday after a civilised journey; although the flight is 4 hours they are on the same time zone as the UK. This gave us plenty of time to unpack a get in a short ride that day. Andrew had planned a 30 mile loop heading eastwards and up the famous Tabayesco climb, followed by a fast swooping run back home with a tail wind. This intro was a taste of what was to come. Long climbs at a moderate gradient that sometimes appear to go on forever to a vanishing point that doesn’t seem to get any closer, the occasional steeper alpine style switchback and plenty of rolling terrain that can be very fast depending on the wind direction. Road surfaces are mainly perfect and I don’t know the word for pothole in Spanish as it must rarely be uttered anyway. Traffic is extremely light and drivers are super cycle savvy so it’s all very safe. There are virtually no traffic lights on the island and few roundabouts or major junctions allowing for long uninterrupted efforts. Scenery is impressive with craggy sea battered coastline low rolling mini mountains and volcanoes inland, lava fields with plenty of cacti and palm trees providing the greenery. The weather was near perfect with mostly sunny days and temperatures ranging from low to mid 20’s every day. The island is known for being windy but in the main it’s not a problem and it’s just a part of the character of the place that you get used to and sometimes it’s working for you anyway. Shaun and I had one bad experience when the wind was very strong when we were heading for Playa Blanca on the western end of the island and we took a bit of a buffeting and eventually aborted our intended ride and reversed direction as the head wind was especially energy draining.
After day one we ventured out on loops ranging from 45-60 miles and as we were staying on the coast every ride began with a climb up onto the “spine” of the island. Although this could be slightly demoralising it was a great warm up and at least we knew the final leg at end of the day would be downhill.
There are plenty of coffee stops and food opportunities although none of the islands towns are very big and most would barely amount to a village in the UK. There’s a good proliferation of these white villages/towns across the island so that in the main you are cycling unhindered through rural landscapes although the next coffee stop is never too far away when the need calls. Food and drink in these places is very good and prices unbelievably cheap with a good coffee costing less than €1.5.
Although lacking the variety or cultural depth as the Alps, Pyrenees and Provence, Lanzarote has a lot to offer as a cycling experience and makes a fantastic option during the winter months. The Island exudes an almost serene calmness and is equally ideal for casual riding cruising between coffee stops to full on hard training. Good weather is virtually guaranteed and adding this to the relative low cost of flights and accommodation it’s easy to see why this place is popular with cyclists.