(Picture-Team “Motley Cru” from close to the top of Mt Tiede in Santa Cruz).
Wanting to avoid the standard boring tourist tours for my 10 hour port stop in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands, I did a little bit of research and came up with biking down the 3rd largest volcano in the world. I located “bikerafting.com”
(www.raftingbike.com/indexUK.htm) and communicated with them through email. On my arrival as per the instructions, I met Mauricio at the pier exit. My party and I were then driven into town and following a safety briefing (the company is extremely safety conscious) we were taken on a flat pavement bike ride through parts of the city (pedestrians only) followed by a short coffee break. Following our break, we were driven to the national park and up a winding road. As we reached new heights, the weather got colder and we started to see snow and ice on the ground and trees. In addition to the lovely views, we finally got to see the majestic volcano and the fields around which at one time were volcanic ash/rock. Eventually we reached our very high vantage point of Mount Teide (the highest point in Spain) it was amazing to be up in the clouds at an altitude of about 2500 meters (about 10,000ft). We were then fitted with safety and weather gear, given another safety briefing, and began our descent “VIA BIKE”. Take note that it will get extremely cold as you are going downhill at speeds of over 40KPH and with the wind and chill factor, this adventure is not for the meek. The safety van follows behind the last bike rider and is in constant radio contact with the lead bike who is a member of the tour company. A number of stops are conducted during the 3 hr descent, and one of the stops includes a short snack break (typical Spanish/olives, bread and cheese). We eventually descend all the way into one of the outlying towns and bike to a local food establishment for lunch and plenty of wine to celebrate.
Following the lunch we are all taken back (this time via van) to the port where we celebrate by drinking champagne. A marvelous and unusual day, getting to do something very few people ever dream of doing. Do yourself a favor and do this – it is not physically strenuous but you need to be prepared for cold temperatures and know how to ride a bike. I cannot say enough for the wonderful service given by the vendor who was extremely safety conscious. Enjoy!