Fed up with drizzle, fog, mud, and freezing temperatures? Then turn your back on the German / North European winter and fly to Gran Canaria for some biking!


If you are at threat from another bout of winter depression, it’s high time to apply for your leftover holidays, plunder the piggybank, and make your way to sunnier climes.
Every day countless charter flights head off filled with package tourists heading south. Overall, 2.6 million of them choose Gran Canaria as their destination of choice. Yet the island is relatively unknown amongst bikers and still in the shadow of the biking stronghold La Palma — justifiably? We can only find out by means of self-experimentation, so we decided to set off for “the island of eternal spring,” as the island is known due to its mild average temperatures of 18-26 degrees and low number of rainy days (approximately 4 days/month).

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We choose the perfectly situated village of Tejeda as base camp for our trip. With a population of 2000, this traditional village is located in the heart of the almost completely round island and ideally positioned among the biggest mountains. Time seems to have stood still here; the hectic pace of life in our western world is just kilometers away, but it feels like light years.

BRAAAAP!! DAvid gibt auf den staubigen Trails Vollgas! Gebremst werden kann er nur von scharfkantigen Steinen und der traumhaften Aussicht
BRAAAAP!! David is full throttle on the dusty trail! He can be slowed only by sharp rocks and the fantastic view

This special charm is also present in our hotel, a 19th-century country manor which has been sympathetically renovated, making a chic symbiosis of old architecture and modern interior design. It not only looks nice, but also presents every mountain biker with a logistical dream! The first trails start right behind the manor. However, one needs to be prepared — like many of the trails on
Gran Canaria, it is full of pointy, sharp-edged rocks perfect for slicing open thin-walled tyres. Robust rubber (preferably with dual carcass sidewalls) is an absolute must here.

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For those bikers who are prepared, the island rewards with picturesque views and a fantastic atmosphere. The trails are sometimes centuries old, and slowly snake down into the valleys. On our trip we rode through many tiny villages, feeling like rockstars as the local children rushed out to frantically greet us.As lovely as the landscapes were, you can’t just stand around taking in buildings and landscapes. So we also misused some of the historical urban settings for some trials sessions — there were barely any obstructions which we couldn’t jump, manual, or drop over.

To cool down we finished our riding with a crazy boat trip with three locals who once again confirmed our amazement at the friendliness and openness of the Gran Canarians. This time we still pedaled, but for once not on a bike, but rather on a kind of catamaran, heading out to sea and then surfing the big waves back to the coast — a fantastic feeling.

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Akupunktur 2.0: Ein Sturz ist hier oft doppelt schmerzhaft, wenn es darum geht, die Kakteen-Stacheln wieder zu entfernen
Acupuncture 2.0: A fall here is often twice painful when it comes to removing the cactus spines again

Unbelievable, but true:

Gran Canaria has over fourteen different microclimates. Even if you’ve just been in a barren, desert-like environment, a few minutes later you can be riding through thick jungle trails and then later in alpine terrain. Thus it’s not unusual to experience multiple climate zones in one day, and we often felt this on our rides: on one day we left the damp foggy atmosphere of the forest and moments later were in the warm sun on a mountain summit above the clouds. It was here where we experienced a fantastic sunset before descending 1400 metres, dropping through countless vegetation zones.
This descent couldn’t have been more varied: alpine terrain, jungle adventure, and open high-speed sections over sandy trails — everything was on offer!


This descent couldn’t have been more varied: alpine terrain, jungle adventure, and open high-speed sections over sandy trails — everything was on offer!

Zur Abkühlung ging es im Anschluss auf einen absolut abgefahrenen Bootstrip mit drei Locals, die einmal mehr unsere Begeisterung von der Gastfreundlichkeit und Offenheit der Bevölerung bestätigten.
To cool down we finished our riding with an absolutely crazy boat trip with three locals, confirming once more the enthusiasm of the hospitality and openness of the Gran Canarians.
Zur Abwechslung pedalierten wir mal nicht auf dem Bike, sondern paddelten mit einer Art Katamaran hinaus aufs Meer und surften dann zurück zur Küste - ein irres Gefühl!
For a change, we went for a trip not on the bike, but paddled with a kind catamaran out to sea and then surfed back to shore – an incredible feeling!

And this is exactly what makes Gran Canaria so special. The island unites contradictions in a surprisingly coherent way. Be it the different climate zones, the massively varying vegetation and widely different north-south divide of the island itself — dominated by tourism in the south and cut off in the north. The possibilities seem endless, and even an island of just 1,500 square kilometres really has something for everyone. It’s a perfect place to escape your next winter blues — on your own, or with friends and family.


Text: Christoph Bayer Photos: Ismael Ibanez

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