El Teide – Volcano biking

We arrived in Tenerife and discovered it is home to the third largest volcano in the world – El Teide. So of course we thought “sounds like a great bike ride.” We were in Santa Cruz at the north end of the island and El Teide is in the south. We checked on buses and rental cars before realising that the easiest solution was just to sail south to Los Christianos and then cycle from there.

We checked in the Internet and discovered that the port authorities in Los Christiaos apparently don’t really like visiting yachts but we found an anchorage nearby that would work as a start point. In steadily rising wind and swell we sailed south and were very glad to round the end of the island and get out of the waves. That night we “enjoyed” winds of about 25 knots. The wind generator was generating over 100 watts but sleep was difficult.

In the morning the wind was still as strong so we decided to find a marina to leave the boat in while we went cycling. We ran a few miles downwind and called the marina to be told “No full up. Try the next one.” A bit further downwind and we were told the second marina was also full and anchoring forbidden in the bay. At this point the first marina called us on the radio and said that anchoring was possible. So we turned round and fought our way back against wind and waves. Once we got there no one knew anything about anchoring and told us there was absolutely no place for us in these conditions.

Max suggested we ring marina two again and ask again. There answer was “No problem. Of course we have space!” I no longer even try to understand marinas. To “escape” from the visitors pontoon we needed three people pushing the boat and a dinghy pulling the bow round against the wind. Then a quick run back downwind and we tied up in the second marina. All day to achieve an effective seven miles!

Bikes built up and ready to go

The next day we were up and putting our bikes together under a street light long before the sun appeared. A quick breakfast and then we set off through the empty town and headed up in to the hills. After 220 meters of climbing we stopped for a drink of water and thought “Great! One tenth done.” Not so motivating. A few hours later it was 1100 meters and we were half way. We had left the desert behind us and were now in the wine and potato growing area. The clouds were still above us and it was warm work climbing steeply.

Suddenly we heard a loud bang and both felt “something”. Heidi said “I have been shot” and I replied “so have I.” A brain dead hunter had shot at a grouse flying in front of the road. He missed the bird but hit both of us in the shoulders. Luckily we were far enough away that the shot just broke the skin. We were very glad we were not hit in the eyes. I shouted abuse at the idiot in English and German but he just waved. About 200 meters further on we saw and stopped a police car and told him. He left with squealing tyres.

Eventually we reached a village with a restaurant and retanked with good local food. Shortly after we saw the first glimpse of blue sky and at 1700 meters we came out of the clouds in to sunlight and a deep blue sky.

The two of us cycling up towards the crater wall.

We passed a singer from Belarus playing with his drone and asked him for an aerial picture of us cycling up hill. Next day they were in my email inbox. Thank you Sasha.

By 2100 meters we were well above the clouds and looking down on to them. A great feeling to have cycled from the sea to the edge of the volcano crater and being in a pine forest high above the clouds below.

By now it was late and we needed to turn round if we wanted to be back at the boat before dark. But we really wanted to have a look inside the crater so we continued on to a hotel in the middle of the caldera and spent the night there at 2150 meters above sea level. We had now cycled 2500 meters uphill. Surrounded by lava fields, we watched the sun sink and then immediately moved to the open fire in the bar as outside felt freezing.

At three in the morning we opened the window to look at more stars than either of us had ever seen before. The lack of light and the high altitude make for an amazing view.

Sunset in the caldera

Not surprisingly we enjoyed a lie in before breakfast but after that we were once again in the saddle and once again heading up hill to the bottom station of the cable car which is the highest point you can reach by bike (2356 meters). We enjoyed watching thousands of tourists trying to find a parking place for their rental cars, took a few pictures and the cycled back down in to the crater. The rock formations, lava fields and strange plants all under a cloudless deep blue sky made it feel like we were cycling across another planet

From the crater wall it was all downhill. The first four hundred vertical meters were great fun – warm, sunny and long curving tarmac. Once we entered the clouds we both agreed that we needed to put on everything we had with us. So we wrapped up in tricots leggings, armlings, jackets and water proof over clothing before we rolled the remaining 1700 vertical meters back to the boat.

After 120 kilometers and three thousand meters of climbing, we were back at the boat with another great adventure behind us.

Our routes are at gpsies.com. Links from https://neill.blogger.de/stories/2704134/

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