Rough Riderz founder member Phil Hall visited the Canaries in April of 2008 to check the accessibility of different trails for gravity bikes. The various trails and locations I visited are all suitable for both 2 and 4 wheeled riders to enjoy, and my trip also included a visit to Bikepark Tenerife, to help advise on layout and track design to create a ‘fully accessible’ MTB facility.
After spending the first couple of days settling in, enjoying the local tapas and wine bars, and catching up with old friends, I then began five awesome days of pure downhill! Along with some of my Canarian friends, I began exploring the different MTB trails that this beautiful island has to offer. I must say a big thank you to Matt and Miriam, Manu, Bruno, Zeno and everyone else involved in the success of my first European tour…
From San Miguel in the south, we drove up the tourist road through Vilaflor and continued towards Mount Teide, into an area known as Las Lajas around 1400m above sea level. The first section of the trail is wide and covered in gravel, with a good gradient and some tight, twisty bends. The descent gradually became steeper, with bermed corners, and increasingly rough terrain. At the end of this section there is a shortcut around the wide looping trail, so we turned off the main trail and bombed down a steep slope, littered with loose volcanic rocks and stones.
The next stage took us into the pine forest offering more twisty bends, and a good gradient creating some very fast sections. As we fired out of the edge of the forest the track became faster and rougher, with some steep drop-offs and a mixture of good natural jumps. The further we got the dustier it became as parts of the south coast came into view. Along this last section we encountered rockier terrain, with a selection of different corners and jumps to overcome. Here the rough stuff ends and the tarmac begins… so we rode down through a small village, and after a mile or so of fast downhill and hairpin bends we finally reached our destination at Los Olivos in Adeje!
We drove to La Laguna in the north and headed up to Las Lagunetas, an area about 1400m above sea level. This wide dirt trail starts in dense woodland, with thick fog formed by the cloud cover. A good gradient meant plenty of speed, and with the compacted surface giving a fairly smooth feel to the ride. The top section features lots of wide corners, some of which had great natural berms. The tighter corners were equally as fast but more technical, and included various obstacles such as fallen tree branches and very rooty sections
Coming out of the mist, we reached a small clearing in the woods. Here the trail terrain changes, as the ground becomes drier and dustier, with plenty of good bends and a series of small jumps. The underground irrigation pipes provide an interesting variety of lumps and bumps to test riders’ abilities. This track ends as you enter the village of Agua Garcia.
Set in Tegueste, the trails available at Bikepark Tenerife are well worth a visit. Whilst some of the routes remain unfinished, there are still many sections currently suitable for gravity biking. The first track I rode is designed for beginners. It’s nice and wide, but still has some very good features, including table-tops jumps, sections of north shore, bermed corners, and small dirt jumps. Some alterations are planned to this track, removing the flatter sections of terrain to make it easier for anyone to ride.
Another track aimed at the more experienced rider is a great trail for both 2 and 4 wheel mountain bikers. The whole route is fast and exciting with narrow sections of woodland, hairpin bends, rocky drops and bermed corners, A series of table-tops and dirt jumps at the end of the run make this route a real adrenaline rush!
The last track is a section designed for expert riders. This black run incorporates parts of the current trail, but the plan for this unfinished track is to re-route gravity bikes around the narrower parts via a different line, to avoid dangerous obstacles such as massive drop-offs and narrow sections of north shore.
Whilst we have not yet tested the following trails, we understand that they are all good, wide natural routes, also suitable for gravity bikers.
■ Observatorio Geofisico to Güimar
■ Los Organos to Puerto de la Cruz
■ Las Mercedes to Santa Cruz
■ Cruz del Carmen to Taganana