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Gran Canaria - Give me your knowledge!

peatpeat Posts: 1,242
edited August 2019 in Road general
I'm thinking of a trip to GC in the first week of October. I hear it's great, but I can't seem to shift childhood memories of grotty all-inclusives in Las Palmas.

It's a blank canvas at this point, so am looking for seasoned visitors to share thier recommendations.

I'm looking for somewhere an easy enough transfer from the airport but has easy access to nice roads. I don't want a long urban schlep at the beginning and end of every ride, but It want's to be somewhere with the basics (shop/restaurants).

I guess somewhere central would be nice so as not to have repetition of the same roads in and out every day?

I don't know - literally. Who's been, what's good, what's not etc?

Cheers

Peat
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Posts

  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    Staying at Maspalomas at the southern end of the island gives easy access to the roads north into the interior and west. Lots of hotels and amenities there too. The east where the airport is located is semi-urban and less advisable. I've never stayed north......
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134
    Been a few times - all the main resorts really are along the south coast, they all have decent transfers since the motorway was built about 10 years ago, and there's no massive riding to get away from the traffic from any of them - just head inland.

    If you stay on the south coast, you are basically uphill at the start of every ride unless you go along the coast road (which is nicer since the motorway was built) - this coast road is undulating like a censored and really takes it out of you. The coast road is the only way to avoid an out and back - there's about 5 or 6 ways up the hills within striking distance, of varying difficulty and length and they all pretty much go towards Ayacata and Pico de las Nieves. They are all really good climbs. I haven't ridden anything on the west coast but when I've driven there they look incredible (and brutal).

    I've always stayed in Puerto Mogan which is nice but right at the south west end - the serenity climb up to Ayacata is great, as is the Soria climb which is a bit steeper. The road through Fataga is a beautiful ride too but a bit more traffic on that one. The pro teams seem to stay in Maspalomas when they go there, but ride all the same climbs.

    It's a really good place to ride.
  • Maspalomas is pretty good base to see the island from.
  • Spent two weeks out there October last year and loved it, went with my missus.

    Fantastic climbing, some great long climbs and stunning views. You are either climbing or descending, not much in the way of flat routes!

    We stayed in San Agustin, if I was to go again I would definitely stay in Maspolomas or Playa Del Ingles as there's more to do off the bike.

    A company called Free Motion cycles do organised rides, we used them once and was a little disappointed, the guide was a bit of a censored .
    (we booked to do the Valley of Tears and the guide pretty much judged my wife's ability before we set off. She was a couple of minutes behind on the first climb and he said we would have to finish the ride ourselves and he went off with the main group. A guy joined us two as we did a bit of a different route (a bit longer, but not as steep as the Valley of Tears, the guide said), the other guy eventually had to be picked up by the shop and we finished the 120km ride with 2700m of climbing)

    I would think their other guides are not all like that, I had to use them to repair a wheel and they did it cheaply and very quick, so that bit was very good.

    You can also buy a map from them, that had a good selection of routes plotted, I took a couple of theirs and made routes to put on the Garmin's (luckily I plotted the route we got ditched on).
  • peatpeat Posts: 1,242
    Thanks all.

    Maspalomas seems to be leading the way.

    Is there a service/public transport available to drop you and your bikes to the other side of the island? Seems to be alot of roads on the North Coast that would be a very big day out to get to from the south.
  • I went in March, stayed in Meloneras which is right by Maspalomas. Transfer was about 40 minutes via a taxi driven at warp speed. Hired a 105 spec bike for 3 days from Free Motion, was easy and trouble free, cost 60 euros.

    As others have said you will either be going up or down. I did not want to be out all day on the bike (family) and so all of my rides were out and back on the same road more or less. The loops in the Island centre were all to long and time consuming and very testing.

    The coast road ride past Puerto Rico was a bit busy traffic wise in places. As KingstonG said it is far from flat. Be aware it was shut between Taurito and Playa de Mogan due to landslides and I think it still is. The only way round was the Motorway which you cant ride on.

    The scenery is spectacular, I loved it
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,642
    Peat wrote:
    Thanks all.

    Maspalomas seems to be leading the way.

    Is there a service/public transport available to drop you and your bikes to the other side of the island? Seems to be alot of roads on the North Coast that would be a very big day out to get to from the south.
    I stayed in Agate. Seemed pretty much the same as the south to me. Either a road up to the mountain, a road around the mountain or a road in a town.

    Everything west of Maspolomas is pretty undeveloped and the "motorway" doesn't go that way. Head west then north. Gets you to the same place!!
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134
    Peat wrote:
    Thanks all.

    Maspalomas seems to be leading the way.

    Is there a service/public transport available to drop you and your bikes to the other side of the island? Seems to be alot of roads on the North Coast that would be a very big day out to get to from the south.
    I stayed in Agate. Seemed pretty much the same as the south to me. Either a road up to the mountain, a road around the mountain or a road in a town.

    Everything west of Maspolomas is pretty undeveloped and the "motorway" doesn't go that way. Head west then north. Gets you to the same place!!

    Can I just check how long it is since you went if the motorway didn't go past Maspalomas?
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134

    The coast road ride past Puerto Rico was a bit busy traffic wise in places. As KingstonG said it is far from flat. Be aware it was shut between Taurito and Playa de Mogan due to landslides and I think it still is. The only way round was the Motorway which you cant ride on.

    I haven't been for a couple of years so didn't know about that, but that's quite important - to get to the Serenity climb or the VOTT you'd need a transfer from Maspalomas, and if you stayed in Mogan you'd be restricted to only the west side.

    https://thecanarynews.com/2019/02/22/a- ... onths-ago/
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,642
    Peat wrote:
    Thanks all.

    Maspalomas seems to be leading the way.

    Is there a service/public transport available to drop you and your bikes to the other side of the island? Seems to be alot of roads on the North Coast that would be a very big day out to get to from the south.
    I stayed in Agate. Seemed pretty much the same as the south to me. Either a road up to the mountain, a road around the mountain or a road in a town.

    Everything west of Maspolomas is pretty undeveloped and the "motorway" doesn't go that way. Head west then north. Gets you to the same place!!

    Can I just check how long it is since you went if the motorway didn't go past Maspalomas?
    2 years. It is still a major route but it peters out to a minor road past that town Fabian Cancellara has a house (I forget the name). You do see cyclists between Maspalomas and Palma but it is very high traffic and the route that the goods vehicles and tour busses use. West of Maspalomas it is pretty quiet. It is not really a motorway by the way, just a busy 4 lane road. I personally would not cycle on it at all.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134
    Peat wrote:
    Thanks all.

    Maspalomas seems to be leading the way.

    Is there a service/public transport available to drop you and your bikes to the other side of the island? Seems to be alot of roads on the North Coast that would be a very big day out to get to from the south.
    I stayed in Agate. Seemed pretty much the same as the south to me. Either a road up to the mountain, a road around the mountain or a road in a town.

    Everything west of Maspolomas is pretty undeveloped and the "motorway" doesn't go that way. Head west then north. Gets you to the same place!!

    Can I just check how long it is since you went if the motorway didn't go past Maspalomas?
    2 years. It is still a major route but it peters out to a minor road past that town Fabian Cancellara has a house (I forget the name). You do see cyclists between Maspalomas and Palma but it is very high traffic and the route that the goods vehicles and tour busses use. West of Maspalomas it is pretty quiet. It is not really a motorway by the way, just a busy 4 lane road. I personally would not cycle on it at all.

    The GC1 is a motorway, and cyclists are not permitted to ride on it. It goes to Puerto de Mogan.

    When I went 20 years ago the tour buses had to use the coast road to get even as far as Puerto Rico, but the motorway has been extended a few times since then, and in 2013 it was opened as far as Puerto de Mogan.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,642
    You must be right. Those must have been motorbikes I saw on that road. Wearing lycra.

    There are alternative routes around the coast but they are censored and urban up the east coast. And much quieter west and south. Hence my advice.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134
    You must be right. Those must have been motorbikes I saw on that road. Wearing lycra.

    There are alternative routes around the coast but they are censored and urban up the east coast. And much quieter west and south. Hence my advice.

    The motorway is a motorway from the airport until Puerto Mogan. There's lots of long tunnels on the new extension, and it's not legal to cycle on it.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,642
    You must be right. Those must have been motorbikes I saw on that road. Wearing lycra.

    There are alternative routes around the coast but they are censored and urban up the east coast. And much quieter west and south. Hence my advice.

    The motorway is a motorway from the airport until Puerto Mogan. There's lots of long tunnels on the new extension, and it's not legal to cycle on it.
    But people do (not the tunnels obviously).

    Are you autistic?
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134
    You must be right. Those must have been motorbikes I saw on that road. Wearing lycra.

    There are alternative routes around the coast but they are censored and urban up the east coast. And much quieter west and south. Hence my advice.

    The motorway is a motorway from the airport until Puerto Mogan. There's lots of long tunnels on the new extension, and it's not legal to cycle on it.
    But people do (not the tunnels obviously).

    Are you autistic?

    No, just don't want this thread to have misleading information about where you can cycle in Gran Canaria.

    If you think that the road peters out to a minor road past Maspalomas, I was assuming you were thinking about a road that wasn't the motorway (maybe the GC500) because the motorway is a motorway, and that's obviously now the road that tour buses use, because it's a motorway.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,642
    It's all relative. It doesn't go far beyond maspalomas and maspalomas is the last major town. When you get to the end of it, there is a road that carries on
    it is much smaller. "Peters out" was quicker to type and I'd though clear enough if you have access to a map.

    When we were driving on it, that stretch was deserted.

    I gave the op credit for enough common sense to not ride on it but pointed out that some riders further north sneak on it from time to time which I believe I said was a bad idea.

    I also failed to point out that it was not allowed to cycle along the airport runway or around the decks of cargo ships docked in Palma. Sorry I wasn't clear on all of these points.

    I think you should repeat yourself again though, just to be sure.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134
    It is not really a motorway by the way.

    OK, since you asked nicely - it's a motorway.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,642
    It is not really a motorway by the way.

    OK, since you asked nicely - it's a motorway.
    Fair enough. Not all of the GC1 is motorway. You didn't mention that so I was confused. This could have caused me to cycle home on the M8 by mistake.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134
    The coast road being shut between Taurito and Puerto Mogan would make it difficult to do a big loop including the serenity climb (which is great). Definitely worth giving Freemotion a call either in Mogan or Maspalomas and finding out if there is any alternative yet.
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 5,983
    We did serenity from Maspalomas by riding down then up, having come a cropper at the landslides and turning round. It was WELL worth doing as it is a phenomenal descent as well as climb!

    https://strava.app.link/f8pZY60WXY
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134
    Could get the boat from Puerto Rico to Puerto mogan as well, that would be pretty good.
  • peatpeat Posts: 1,242
    Thanks guys.

    Plans are coming together nicely.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 18,134
    843qfpA.jpg
  • The coast road being shut between Taurito and Puerto Mogan would make it difficult to do a big loop including the serenity climb (which is great). Definitely worth giving Freemotion a call either in Mogan or Maspalomas and finding out if there is any alternative yet.

    When I was there in Feb the alternative was "getting off your bike and lifting it over a small barrier". The road is open to foot traffic still, or at least there were plenty of other people using it anyway!
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,642
    The coast road being shut between Taurito and Puerto Mogan would make it difficult to do a big loop including the serenity climb (which is great). Definitely worth giving Freemotion a call either in Mogan or Maspalomas and finding out if there is any alternative yet.

    When I was there in Feb the alternative was "getting off your bike and lifting it over a small barrier". The road is open to foot traffic still, or at least there were plenty of other people using it anyway!
    The most recent trip advisor posts infer that this has been stopped now. Oddly enough when I visited the north, there had been a landslide and the road had been closed for months. I talked my way past the work crew. Not much traffic after that for some reason.
  • mab2444mab2444 Posts: 7
    I've had an annual pilgrimage to Gran Canaria for several years now. We stay at Meloneras which is quieter that Maspolamas/ Playa del Ingles. Good for an old git like me! Pico de las Nieves is an epic day out. Soria is a great ride especially if you finsih at the cafe and have a passion fruit juice and the house creme caramel!. The coast road is great if you fancy a high intensity ride. Another great short ride is to Ayugaures followed by quite a steep hairpinned climb with stunning views. My understanding is that the road to Mogan is now closed to pedestrians and cyclists which is a pain since it makes the serenity climb inaccessible unless you want to head for the top of the climb via Soria, go down it and back up again. The road up from Soria is a bit of a beast and not in good nick. There is a sign saying no cycles but people just seem to ignore this. I've only come down it and it isn't nice.

    With the above exception the roads are generally excellent, the scenery is stunning and as you get away from the coast there is increasing greenery and higher you ride through pine woods. The drivers are considerate, the main exception being tourist hire cars.

    Free Motion are excellent. I now take my own bike but they provide new Canondales. The brakes are the other way round and you need to get your head around this before going hell for leather down the hairpins. Because their bikes are pristine they replace any scuffs or dings with new parts and you will be charged accordingly, you can take out insurance but it is pricey. You can keep the dinged part if you want to!
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 7,642
    Car rental is cheap in Spain if you get your own excess insurance, have a credit card for the outlandish deposits and if you can endure the hard sell where they tell you that you don't have excess insurance honestly because excess insurance is a scam and doesn't exist so you must buy ours and quadruple the cost oh and you want sat nav.

    This would solve all landslide and motorway related problems.
  • thefogthefog Posts: 197
    Meloneras. Stay at the Lopesan via del Conde.

    Free motion are great but very easy to just head off yourself.

    Easy rides north via Fataga that can loop round via Santa Lucia or head west to Pajara and head inland (north) to climb Soria and then you can go west again to drop down to P Mogan and come back climbing Tauropass. Either routes you can also head to the peak of the island at Pico de Nieves.

    Short rides along coast road (as mentioned, they’ve apparently now locked the road to Puerto mogan) but you can reach Taurito or get the boat from Puerto Rico to mogan and cycle back.

    Nice 25-30 loop up to Ayagaures/ Los palmitos too. Lovely climb.
  • backobacko Posts: 167
    Went two years ago and was pleasantly surprised by how green the island is, definitely my favourite Canary Island.

    Stopped in Meloneras which put us in a good place for Pico de las Nieves, Valley of the Tears and Serenity. The closed road near Mogan didn't cause us problems as we just hopped over the fence as did other cyclists and pedestrians. If you can no longer do this then you will struggle to get Serenity and Valley of the Tears, the former is a stunning climb, arguably the most beautiful I have ridden on whereas the Valley of the Tears is brutal. Our rides are below if it helps with route planning.

    The choice of restaurants etc in Meloneras is excellent and makes a good base.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1534994867

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1537193675

    https://www.strava.com/activities/1539321088
  • cgfw201cgfw201 Posts: 669
    Really enjoyed watching this last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc-EvSJr1ZE

    (GCN Ultimate Rides - Gran Can edition).
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