Mallorca is a popular destination with cyclists. It is a fantastic spot for holidays and cycling and we have spent many an enjoyable bike trip there ourselves. But Tenerife has a number of advantages that are worth bearing in mind when choosing your next cycling destination.
The weather is a key factor - in summer as well as winter. Did you know the Canary Islands are known as the Islands of Eternal Spring? This is due to their stable climate year-round. Although Tenerife is on the same latitude as California, the prevailing Trade Winds ensure a pleasant breeze keeps temperatures spring-like twelve months a year. Mallorca on the other hand is on the same latitude as New York, colder in winter and hotter in summer than Tenerife.
The south of Tenerife has an average daily temperature of 22 degrees C in winter compared to 11 degrees C in Mallorca. Rainfall is a factor too, with an average of 2 rainy days per month in Tenerife compared to 8 in Mallorca. That average is even lower if you cycle in the south of Tenerife, which has very little rainfall year-round due to the rain shadow effect of Mount Teide which means most precipitation falls in the north of the island.
(It's worth bearing in mind that some of the cheaper packages available to Tenerife for cycling are based in the north of the island, particularly Puerto de la Cruz, with more limited cycling options available and distinctly different weather, particularly in winter which is colder and rainier than the south of the island from November to March.)
In summer too, temperatures are more favourable for cycling here. Whereas temperatures regularly soar well above 30 degrees C in Mallorca, in Tenerife you can cycle at a pleasant 24 degrees in the hills with a nice sea breeze.
And because the island of Tenerife is further south than Mallorca, just off the coast of west Africa, you have longer days in winter too, which means more time in the saddle.
The key to cycling in Tenerife to make the most of the weather and conditions is having a good local guide and backup. This is because of the high altitude and range of microclimates. Tenerife has six distinct ecosystems, which means you can encounter completely different vegetation and conditions on a single ride.
Having a van backup on your ride means, for example, that you can layer up on a descent through the cloud forest in Anaga but shed them again for a challenging, warm climb like Los Loros without having to carry it on your bike. It also means that if you prefer a more leisurely leg turner in the sun, your guide can ensure you follow the best route to suit you.
Mallorca does not have the same diversity as Tenerife - in terms of vegetation and conditions. This means Tenerife can be a more stimulating, motivating cycling environment, particularly if you are spending many hours in the saddle.
And Tenerife is, of course, the undisputed King for altitude training in winter in Europe. The highest point in Mallorca is just 1,445m whereas Teide reaches up to 3,718m.
The road through Teide National Park reaches 2,350m and pro riders and teams are a common sight in winter and spring as they prepare for the big challenges of the road in summer.
In fact, when Wiggins prepared for the 2012 Tour de France/Olympics double, he trained here, and his key efforts were made from just above our HQ, through Vilaflor and up to the National Park.
The section he rode is part of the iconic Teide climb, a continuous 40km ascent from sea level to 2,350m with an average 6% inclination. No killer ramps, but a steady climb with spectacular views for riders wanting to test themselves. This climb goes right past our HQ, so you can either drop down and make the full effort, or start in Arona, head up through the switchbacks to Vilaflor and push on to Teide up Wiggins Highway.
For those not wanting to tackle the climb, there are a variety of other rides on offer from our HQ, a ride in/ride out cycling base at 840m with uninterrupted, panoramic views to the coast.
If, like us, you enjoy a cold beer or two after a heavy ride, it's worth noting Tenerife is much cheaper than Mallorca too: the average price of a beer here is just over 1 euro, as opposed to 2.50 in Mallorca.
And then there's the "barraquito", a volcanic bomb of a local coffee which propels you up the steepest of climbs, but that's a whole other story for another day.
We love Mallorca, it's a fabulous destination for cycling. But for us, Tenerife has the edge all year round. Join one of our training camps or trips if you'd like to discover it with us: https://www.tenerifevelo.com/2020-training-camps