Adventurous Cycling in Tenerife: Are You Up for the Challenge?

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Breathtaking view of the blue waters of the Tacoronte coast. Photo: Michael Chauner

By Michael Chauner

Bored of touristy sightseeing trips? Tired of gluttonous beach vacations? The all-too-typical lethargic American holiday can leave you feeling unfulfilled (or downright lazy) upon returning home and often does little to create a lasting memory or sense of real accomplishment.

If you are a follower of Healthy Aging®, you know that we have always been proponents of meaningful, purposeful, and active travel. Well, in this issue’s travel section, we found an amazing and unique trip experience that crushes those goals in adventurous fashion: Cycling in Tenerife.

Where is Tenerife?

While fans of professional cycling may have heard about Tenerife because their favorite Tour de France champions are known to frequent the island for offseason training (you will, in fact, see many along the roads between November and February), most Americans would probably have a hard time finding the island on a map.

Located about 60 miles off the Moroccan coast in the North Atlantic, Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands at 785 square miles and stands the tallest amongst its six siblings. It is a Spanish island that was originally and painstakingly conquered by the Castilian Crown in the late 15th century for its strategic position en route to the Americas and its rich natural resource offerings.

After centuries of various agricultural development, from sugar cane to vineyards, Canarian banana farming eventually rose to the top. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that tourism finally replaced agriculture as its main industry.

Cyclists witness the Teide Volcano from below. Photo: Jordi de la Fuente – Turismo de Tenerife

Tenerife is famously home to the Teide volcano, the third tallest on earth from the sea floor and the highest peak in all of Spain. The island emerged from the Atlantic Ocean by volcanic eruption some 12 million years ago, and its current form was developed through millions of years of volcanic activity that gave the island its dramatic and undulating landscape. Tenerife’s vast network of small roads boldly weave up and down almost every one of the island’s sharp peaks.

Tenerife. Healthy Aging Magazine

(Top to bottom) Cycling through the Tenerife countryside. Photo: Jordi de la Fuente – Turismo de Tenerife; Well-earned paella for the hungry cyclists. Photo: Jordi de la Fuente – Turismo de Tenerife

Cycling in Tenerife

It’s no wonder that glutton-for-punishment cycling nuts travel from around the globe to experience Tenerife’s limitless hills. And if you haven’t already found the elephant in the room: Yes, the terrain is challenging!

However, Tenerife’s experienced cycling tour operators are experts at planning routes for any group’s level, and now with the evolution of e-bike technology, accessibility by bike can be for everyone (Pro tip: take the motor!).

Therefore, we recommend booking a guided tour to properly accommodate your individual or group’s capabilities. The best tour operators on the island that we found are known as the Delgado Brothers, who head up “Tenerife Bike Training,” a professionally run, fun-loving sibling organization that seamlessly transports you around to each of the island’s many treasures.

They work alongside Bike Point Tenerife, the island’s primary retailer and premier rental service, offering high-quality European inventory with everything from hybrid e-bikes to high-end racing cycles.

(Clockwise from top left) Start/finish at the Vuelta al Teide, Puerta de la Cruz; Ascending the mighty Teide Volcano; Cyclists from around the world travel to ride through Tenerife’s amazing landscape; View from the Teide National Park; Traversing the Teide National Park; Dramatic and arid landscape along the route. Photos: Jordi de la Fuente – Turismo de Tenerife.

The Mammoth: Vuelta al Teide

For the more serious cyclists or hardened adventurers who seek the ultimate challenge, the Vuelta al Teide is a hero’s trial of a bike ride. Organized as an official Gran Fondo that runs annually in mid-May, the event features two distances of either 95km or a daunting 175km. It tackles the monstrous Teide volcano located at the center peak of the island. You can find the exact route online and attempt it yourself if you plan to visit separately from this event.

Starting and finishing in the scenic and historic town of Puerta de la Cruz, the longer distance tests both the legs and will of its approximately one thousand participants, pummeling them with 14,000 vertical feet of climbing throughout the journey.

Daring contestants who seek to best Tenerife’s most precipitous slopes face four lengthy climbs before culminating with the never-ending ascent up the Teide volcano and subsequent journey across its moonlike national park. The suffer-fest is finally rewarded at the mountain’s plateau, where you can witness the dramatic red lava rocks cast within the deserted and surreal volcanic crater of Las Cañadas.

Make sure to have fresh brake pads for the 30 miles of downhill that lie between you and some well-earned Paella and Spanish beer that await in Puerta de la Cruz. This is truly a bucket list event!

Michael Chauner, contributing writer for Healthy Aging®, is an international cyclist, coach, and “Organizador de Viajes “ (Organizer of trips!).


To read more about cycling routes in Tenerife, click here.

For further information about Tenerife, click here.

To read a PDF of this article, click here:

Adventurous Cycling in Tenerife_Healthy Aging Magazine_By Michael Chauner

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