If you are looking for a cycling holiday with a difference why not try the lovely island of El Hierro.
If you are not super fit, like me do not worry. There are tracks and routes for all abilities. There are some who bring their bikes with them on either the ferry or aeroplane and then cycle to their accommodation. (It’s all uphill from either location)
The Island is suitable for road bikes for those wishing to explore on the many good roads we have. Some of the fitter athletes use the Island as practice for cycling in the Alps during the summer months.
One thing you should be aware of is that no bicycles are allowed to travel through the tunnel from Mocanal down to El Golfo or on the return journey. You can however travel through the other two tunnels from the Puerto de La Estaca to Timiriaje, and Las Playas down to the Parador.
I would recommend you walk your bike back up the later tunnel as its single track and quite steep. The tunnel is controlled by traffic lights and the lighting is adequate but on the return journey the sun shines through the tunnel entrance making it difficult to spot bikes.
An easy route for cycling is from Puerto de La Estacaalong the coast to the Parador.It has a few gentle climbs on it. Leave the Port and follow the signs for the Parador. You will pass the electric substation for the Island which is being used less and less thanks to our new windmills. Next door you will find the Hydro wind plant Gorona del Viento. You then pass through the first tunnel which brings you out at the beach of Timiriaje. Onwards and upwards takes you out of the village, and follows the coast round. Eventually you come to the oldest tunnel on the Island. It’s all downhill toLas Playas.As you exit, Roque de Bonanza is on your left hand side. Then it’s a steady 2 mile or so pedal down to the Parador. I always call in for a drink to refresh for the return journey.
For another slightly more adventurous route try one in the valley of El Golfo. Again the route has very little vehicular traffic. A good place to start if you are taking your bicycle by car is at La Maceta.
As you leave La Maceta turn right, and follow the undulating costal road towards Pozo de La Salud. If feeling energetic you can take the roads off on your right which take you down towards Charco Los Sargos, Charco Azul and La Laja. I wouldn’t recommend however taking the bikes down the numerous steps to the bottom. The views along the El Golfovalley are spectacular and should you find the sea his rough, even more so. Once at Pozo de Saludyou can call into either the Hotel or Bar for a few refreshments before your return journey. As you leave turn to your left and follow the signs for Sabinosa.After climbing up about 150 metres, you will see a track of to your left of one of the bends. This is refered to as Pista del Canal. It is a cinder/dirt road and takes you back in the direction you came, but with much better views of the valley ahead of you.
The track crosses a few roads along the way, but eventually comes out onto HI-5, the road leading to Valverde.Turn to your left and at the first junction in Los Mocanes turn left again. This leads you back down to your start at La Maceta.
For those of you who are fit you can circumnavigate the Island by road, without having to pass through the El Golfo tunnel. On the downhill descents I would recommend precaution as there are sheer drops in places and hairpin bends that can catch out the unwary. Of course, some of the climbs are quite severe, but offer spectacular views as you climb. You are on holiday, stop and drink in the spectacular scenery and listen to the silence.
The Island caters for off road cycling too with its many footpaths and dirt tracks. Mountain biking is enjoyed by many and each year there is a big cycling event called Magma Bike Maratón.In 2018 the routes were over 50 and 36 kilometres. The route takes the cyclists past many of the emblems and well known spots on the Island.
A route popular with the mountain bikers, takes you from Hoya del Morcillo and up the mountain. You pass the famous Pino Piloto before climbing again past Fuentes de los Reyes. It’s then another climb up to Malpaso the highest point on the Island at over 1.501 metres. From Malpaso you take the Camino Real and descend down to Cruz de Los Reyes. Here you can fill your water bottles for the rest of the journey. You then climb up past the large wooden cross again taking the route of La Bajada.
After the next short climb you descend back down towards the road near Dos Hermanos. The route crosses the road here. Why not take a peek at the view down over the El Golfovalley. On occasions you look down onto the clouds and on others you can see across the valley down to Roques de Salmor. Back on track it takes you back down through the Canarian pine forest down towards the start. If you are still feeling energetic you can continue on the circular path around Hoya del Morcillo and back to the start.
There are of course far more tricky routes to enjoy.
If I’ve wetted your appetite and you do not want to bring your own bicycle with you there are a number of options available here on the Island.
You can hire a Mountain bike and helmet etc on a daily or weekly basis. The bike is yours to take where you wish, or if you want you can pay extra for a guided cycle ride. In some instances this is a great option as you don’t need to plan your route or fear getting lost.
There is also an option for a fully guided mountain bike experience which is more extreme. Again the bikes are provided and there is a meet and greet service with this option. I regularly see this group bouncing down an old track in the centre of Valverde, it doesn’t matter if there are steep steps involved or not.
The last option, which the purists amongst you will be appalled by, is to hire an electric bicycle. At least with this option you have a little help in climbing up the hills, and it seems to be getting more popular here.
Whatever your choice there is one bicycle on the Island you won’t get very far on! Happy cycling.