General notes on our trip March 15-29 2014.
We didnt do much planning. We took mountainbikes but we didnt know what the island would offer. We got the Kompass maps but they only mark a few routes along doubletrack and forest roads. Maybe we should have looked into FreeMotions routes beforehand but as it turns out we found out most of them by ourselves. (Freemotion is a bike shop in Maspalomas which advertises some supported rides.)
We flew with Thomson from Bristol. This was convenient for us. Thomson are ok with bikes you have to pay extra for the luggage (once for 20kg and extra for another 5kg) but within that bikes are no extra. You have to inform them 1 month before the flight that you are taking bikes.
The first week we stayed near Valseqillo in the east, the second week by the Chira reservoir. There seem to be plenty of rental houses.
The north (including Valsequillo) can get cloudy and wet, which is what happened the first week. So we drove to the summit ridge to get above the clouds and rode from there. The second week was sunnier anyway and we were able to laze by the pool more.
The island seems to be heaving with roadies these days, mostly N European and of these an awful lot of Norwegians. This does mean that some restaurants in the mountains serve massive portions of spag, albeit not of gourmet quality. The local rustic food is good to fuel up on : papas arrugadas, potaje and ropa vieja are generally good. We tended to eat lunch out, but always dinner at the house. Local SPAR, SuperDino shops are adequate. Local veg is very good; we didnt have much meat. The Canaries do produce wine and we had some from GC (in fact very local, El Troncon from Valsequillo), Tenerife, El Hierro and La Palma. They are rustic but enjoyable. There is local style Teror chorizo and we found the San Mateo aged cheese a highlight.
The local drivers are generally sane and considerate. As in mainland Spain they pip a horn politely as they overtake. The roads are generally quiet and a real pleasure to ride.
We did not ride with GPS. The tracks we provide were produced (Feb 16) by editing walking tracks we found on the web. We believe that they correspond to the routes we followed; the photos should be in roughly the right places. But they come without guarantees.
Cruz Llanos de la Pez, Cruz de Tejeda.Sun 16th.
Took the road towards Vega San Mateo, then took first L turn up minor road towards La Lechucilla. This was one turn earlier than wed intended and this we would only recommend for masochists as it involves eyewateringly steep section. Continued on minor road and joined GC-600, then rode up through pine forest to summit. Tried to ride as much as possible in the shade because guess what, we forgot to take the suncream.
Ate at La Cumbre restaurant 500m on S side. The papas arrugadas are ok here but avoid the spag. Then on road towards Cruz de Tejeda, but picking up ridge footpath just before Mirador de Bercerra. (It may be possible to pick up this path earlier). This was our first experiment with riding on footpaths. This was an excellent run of singletrack, a great ride and fantastic views. From Cruz de Tejeda we followed the road back home except for a small diversion on path cutting the corner of the GC-230/600 junction that didnt look too steep on the map. This was nice.
Drove to the pass. Did the ridge path in the reverse direction, then down on the track to Llanos de Garanon, which was easy, followed by the continuation past the Embalse, which wasnt, consisting of rock built steps, sometimes a push, down to reservoir then a long push up rocks to the road. Road to Tejeda, nice lunch on the main square. Road to Artenara, then tried to find the track back but it looked a bit of a push to start so we took the road instead. Cloud building up over the N side.
Tues 18th. Montana de los Cardos La Gavia
Road ride to summit between Valsequillo and San Mateo, then followed the road/track down towards La Gavia. Its road for a km or two and then the ridge track becomes dirt. This was a good ride, technical in places. Continue downhill to La Gavia and plummet steeply through the village. Followed by toilsome uphill ride back to Valsequillo. Lunch at house and lazy afternoon.
Weds 19th. Cruz de Tejeda Artenara Cruz de Tejeda : [GPS track]
Thu 20th. Pico de las Nieves Caldera de las Marteles.
Drove to Cruz Llanos. Road up to the Pico de las Nieves summit, past the golfball, look at view into Tirajana. Backtrack, then R on GC 135 (gravel) towards the big red masts. Road continues as dirt downhill on edge of Caldera de Urian (?) following the main track. The tracks dont quite correspond exactly with the map but we followed this to where it abandons its track nature and becomes a steep path to Sta Lucia. We reversed but took a R to take an alternative way back. We got back to a junction wed passed earlier where there is a footpath sign. The La Calderilla sign appears to point not to the track but to a path between two lengths of low wall a typical signifier of a path start. This was a short but very enjoyable singletrack curving round the inlet valley and emerging at a junction in woods. We took the natural continuation round and down, which put us on a deep gravel section above the small settlement Los Bucios and to the main road. The track we emerged on has a private property sign so maybe we had taken a wrong turn, but this seems to be marked as a waymarked trail on the map. This is by the volcanic hole of the Caldera de las Marteles. Rode back up to the Cruz via the road, a vicious little climb.
After lunch we tried out the track from Llanos towards Cruz Grande. Wonderful wide stone camino real that ends up at a rock plateau, the track plunging down in a steep zigzag. We turned back here. This was a great technical trail we returned the next week to do it all.
Fri 21st. Ayacata Cruz de Huesita Ayacata
The clouds encroached more over the crest today driving us further south. We drove to near Ayacata, rode the circuit down through Juncal, over the Cruz de Huesita and back to the main road. from Juncal it was a gravel sort of track, very quiet. Lunch at the spaghetti den at Ayacata with a horde of roadies.
Cruz de Timagada Tejeda
There were a lot of roadies about today. In search of something more interesting we tried the path from Cruz de Timagada to Tejeda. This was generally pretty steep, and not much of it was rideable by us, though the minority rideable portions were good fun.
(Transferred from Valsequillo to Chira). Drove through San Mateo, to junction of GC-421 and GC-400 (we parked a km before the junction.) Climb quite steeply through Arinez to junction with GC-230. Downhill a couple of km to Cuevas do Corcho, then pick up footpath. This is excellent and not a secret to local mtb-ers. Beware of a sort of junction after a great little run on rocks you must take the left fork to cross the ridge. (If you head right you get to an unrideable rock. ) Whizzy bermed descent. After this we tried the continuation of the path that starts just after the Bar in Lanzarote.
Sun 23 Obvious Chira ride.
From Chira south on the GC 604 which gives up the tar soon after the dam wall. To think, we thought of driving to Maspalomas this way! We have seen quite a few bemused car-bound tourists stop here who clearly fell for it as well. The track is fairly straightforward, but we half planned on doing the path that cuts a corner and did this inadvertently anyway. It starts like the continuation of the road but narrows alarmingly to a precipice before looking like it is totally going nowhere, but heads back away from the edge and down very steeply. Back on main track, which drops a little then climbs again to a ridge end. Great views of the pair of cliffs flanking the ends of the gorge. The track goes up fairly steeply in a rock cutting, then emerges onto a plateau. At an enclosure here take the faint double track to the R and follow this. This is a little more technical than the outward ride, with rock sections, and a longer climb. Climb to a mirador, then descend to junction. Here, the R takes you to the summit of the ridge which is a rocky crag, the map shows a path coming right up here but it surely cant. We failed to see anything of the ridge path but it must exist because FreeMotion use it. Descend to Chira and lunch.
Mon 24 Degollada de los Hornos Cruz Grande (Camino Real) : [GPS track]
Note: our GPS track for this route continues beyond the road (at the point marked x, Cruz Grande) onto a route which we did not ride today (or at all in this direction); we rode it in reverse after our Manzanilla ride (on the 27th), found the initial push unpleasant, but reckoned it would be a good ride from Cruz Grande to San Bartolomé.
Tue 25. Sardina Barranco de Tirajana
We had to do a drive in order to get food. We drove to San Bart, but there are no supermarkets here just a panaderia. We rode down the road towards Sardina and up the Barranco del Tirajana which we dont recommend. A more intelligent reader of the map would have seen it is a dry river bed all the way up. It is a tough ride on smooth river stones and brings you to the base of the Tirajana Emblase from where there is a very evil concrete mountain.
Wed 26. Montana de la Data Barranco de Fataga
For the shopping expedition attempt 2 we drove to Maspalomas (nearly an hour) down the Fataga valley. Rode up the Montana de la Data road (a knife-edge ridge) then down to Ayaguares, then what we thought would be a road is still roughstuff. This was a good ride, the scenery still pretty spectacular this close to the resort coast. Then into town for lunch the main drag is a slightly depressing prospect but we found a halfway posh place near the south end of the drag. Dropped in on FreeMotion to extract info, and then to the big SPAR to shop for food.
First section is forest track and quite tame. Better scenery in the latter part. The forest track looks to continue a long way from Degollada de la Manz, towards Ayagures or Atreara. Down from D. de la Manzanilla is super partly rock descent with zigzags and precipices and great wide views. We then did the road to Sta Lucia and anticlockwise round the loop througth Taidia, Risco Blanco, etc. Fabulous steep narrow road and a wonderful place here, very lush and sheltered, feels very unspoilt too. Lunch in San Bart, at the cafe on the main square which does good honest local food. Back via the Camino Real up to the Cruz Grande, Im afraid this was mostly a push but the 5% that we rode was rocky fun.
Note: our GPS track for this route is for the initial part before the road circuit through Santa Lucia. The final part, after lunch, would be better in the opposite direction and is included in our track for the Camino Real (which we rode on the 24th).
How better to spend our wedding anniversary than with some insane roughstuff? The forecast was rain but we knew to avoid the rain by heading south. So we
drove to Embalse Cuevas de las Ninas, them rode down the doubletrack to Soria. Nontrivial track with some fun, and great cliffs to look at too.
Steep road climb out (Tracey trying to pursue roadie but only just failing). Then possible naughty cutting across the juction from
the Embalse Salto de Perro very narrow rocky path that goes through deep wavy green grass. Meets a gravel track after halway then follow this.
Flight back was 6pm so we got a road-ride up and down the Barranco Guayadeque, a nice lush valley with cave houses. Restaurant Tagoror at the top is good, big portions of tasty potaje and ropa vieja and a very calorific banana and ice cream dessert.