Of course there was lycra, it was inevitable really. The 30th annual Fiesta de la Bicicleta in Santa Cruz had to include at least a few serious cyclists squeezed into brightly coloured uniforms.
As the near 5,000 entrants packed the plaza and street around El Corte Ingles, it soon became clear that this was a family based fun ride, after all the 15 km return trip to San Andres would hardly test a budding Boardman or ambitious Armstrong.
Some bikes and owners showed their age, I felt suitably old when confronted by a Chopper, state of the art when I was at school, and an antique Fatboy. A few entrants looked like they had been as well oiled as their bikes last night, but were surfacing well for the 11am Sunday start.
The enthusiasm of the children was inspiring, whether helmeted and mounted on the mini bikes, hooked up in tandem, or cocooned in baskets. The 12-strong Lopez family from La Laguna were radiant in yellow outfits, named and numbered as Team Culos Inkietos (“˜moving bottoms’ if we are being polite).
A little gentle jostling beneath the inflatable arch, and they were off, slowly rounding the corner and sweeping down to the Avenida de la Constitucion as cars passed on the other half of the port skirting road. Stewards kept an eye out for slipped chains, loose pedals and bunching, and the policia local’s wheeled officers combined work with pleasure. There were a few grazes, frantic bell ringing and anxious parents shepherding their youngsters, but it flowed pretty well as they passed the Auditorium and Cabildo before hitting the north east road past the docks to San Andres.
More cycle lanes for the south
Santa Cruz sports department promotes the event to encourage exercise and promote alternative transport. It seems they are not a lone voice, down south a few days before the big pedal, the Tenerife tourism councillor, Jose Manual Bermudez, announced a plan to link Los Cristianos to La Caleta by cycle lanes. The 11 km coastal stretch through Arona and Adeje would also include a series of bike stations, where a code or swipe card would allow people to pick up and drop off bikes at either end of their journey.
It took barely an hour for the leading pack to turn around and head back to the start point, the conga of bikes was a little more spread by now but all were in good spirits as they passed back under the arch and dismounted in the plaza.
International family affair
The international appeal of the fun ride attracted Hans Braun and his 12 year old son Marco, originally from Holland but settled in Puerto de la Cruz, they were joined in the saddle by Nathalie Osterwalder from Switzerland and Hans told me about their cycling pedigree. “We are all keen cyclists, that took us just under 90 minutes today, my only criticism is that the lead cars set the pace a little slow, it’s a great idea though. Marco and Nathalie hired bikes locally, “Marco’s is fantastic, a 1,000 euro bike and it only cost 20 euros to hire. We often take off to the rural areas, the TITSA bus drivers will let us load our bikes in the luggage hold, but only if we are doing the full bus journey, otherwise it means disturbing other peoples baggage.”
Holding a Raleigh
Meanwhile in the plaza 30 new bicycles were being given out as prizes to those with lucky numbered registration forms. Most people though just relaxed and caught breath, the water stall couldn’t give away bottles fast enough, and the bins overflowed with freshly emptied energy drink cans. Hopefully a few more converts will be dusting down their bikes and hitting the Tenerife roads over the next few weeks.