n the 11th July 2017 the family and I set off to Fuerteventura for our summer holiday.
We had rented a villa in Lajares, in the north of the island, and for 12 days I hired a BH carbon road bike from ProAction Bikes in Corralejo. I had asked for a large frame and the bike seemed at first a bit too small, but with a quick adjustment to raise saddle the bike became a perfect fit. The bike was to take me over 500 miles around this very windy island, a good contribution to my 9000 mile challenge for York Mind.
Fuerteventura literally means ‘Strong Wind’, and the island is called this for a reason – the northerly trade winds make going south a joy but going northward was a real test of mental and physical strength.
That being said, it is the probably one of the best training grounds in the world for cyclists, with a good amount of climbs all over the island, sunny days and the elevated wind resistance from every ride.
Having ridden in such windy and hilly conditions for 12 days, I recently tested my power output on a WattBike and was pleasantly surprised to have achieved a 15% increase in power since my trip to the island.
I rode most days while we were there, often doing, 30, 40 or 50 miles a day. I did two longer rides, the first one being 127 miles (11,000 feet of climbing) which was the longest ride I had done so far, and another ride being 105 miles (6,050 feet of climbing). In total I rode around 550 miles, covering nearly the entire island. I didn’t manage to get to Morro Jable in the very south, since the only way to get there was by using the motorway, from which cyclists were prohibited.
While in Fuerterventura I broke 3 personal bests:
One tends to forget, when riding in the UK, how bad our roads are. Built into the British cyclist’s riding habits is the constant look out for potholes. What a pleasure it was, therefore, to cycle on such great roads, free from the imperfections, potholes and deterioration that British roads are subject to. These superb roads were complemented by the fact they were seldom travelled – especially on the west coast there were very few cars, making the cycling there a real pleasure.
The scenery of the island can get a little repetitive while cycling. The island is effecitively a large desert, arid and with very little plant or animal life. However, there are one or two more interesting parts. Cycling south from Corralejo is well worth doing as you catch the 20mph+ tailwinds for about 20-30 miles and you really do fly! Taking the FV-1 takes you past the amazing sand dunes south of Corralejo that seem to stretch out for miles.
My 127 mile ride
The other route I would recommend taking is the windy snake-path FV-30 from Almacigo to Pajara. This route takes you through the original capital Betancura and through some stunning mountain scenery.
I can honestly say that this was some of the best cycling I have ever done. Don’t get me wrong, it was tough. At times, it was very tough, especially when battling headwinds for 70 or 80 miles. However, being free on such open roads in a foreign territory, and the fact it never rained made these daily adventures such great fun.