MY legs pump the pedals, as the breathtaking view of the beach stretches out to my left and the Rocky Mountains to the right.
With a last sigh, I reach the top of the hill. A second later, I’m flying downhill as my wheels spin freely.
I’m in Gran Canaria, enjoying the beautiful Spanish winter sun.
Biking on the sand might not be what you expect from a trip to the island, which is more famous for its fly-and-flop breaks.
But the steep hills make it a popular training ground for keen cyclists, with British great Chris Froome showing on Instagram that he trains on the same roads my husband and I are riding this very weekend.
I squint at the speeding cyclist, hoping against hope that it’s the four-time Tour de France winner. But I’m disappointed because the curly hair under the helmet shows that it’s not the champion. Never mind.
A four hour flight from Gatwick with easyJet brought me to this Spanish island. Although it may be a favorite for cyclists, it is also the ideal place for families to play with their little ones and empty nests to enjoy lazy days.
Our first day is dedicated to cycling with Free Motion, a hire company that can outfit you with a bike from £25 a day.
For a little extra you can go on tour with them – from £20 – and our Lycra clad platoon zips along the coastal road in search of a coffee break.
Departing from the Seaside Sandy Beach Hotel in Playa del Ingles, we are treated to the beautiful scenery of the island on a trip powered only by our legs.
There are several types of tour groups, from the more advanced road cyclists wanting to embark on 100km tours to “hobby” groups wanting to cover a more manageable 60km.
Mountain bikes and e-bikes can also be rented, and there are also routes for these cyclists. Free Motion seems to pop up in every major hotel, ready to get you on your bike.
But if biking isn’t your style (or you just need a day off the bike), there’s plenty more to do.
The Gloria Palace San Agustín Thalasso hotel in Las Palmas was almost completely renovated during its forced closure at the height of the Covid pandemic, to offer sparkling pools and breathtaking views of the beach below.
The main attraction of this hotel is the thalassotherapy. The salt pools at the island’s largest treatment center are designed to cleanse, soften and soothe your body, and are open to guests and visitors.
This, combined with dinner at the magnificent Gorbea Restaurant on the top floor of the imposing hotel, makes for a luxurious day out. But we were just as happy in our home for the week – the 4H Hotel Cordial in Puerto de Mogan.
Set in spectacular scenery with towering cliffs and beautiful botanical gardens of cacti and palm trees, it is also just a ten minute walk from the stunning beach. The hotel has three beautiful pools, four bars, four restaurants, spa treatments, tennis courts, and a kids’ club.
There is even an archaeological site in the park that you can explore. A family hotel, it is the ideal base for exploring the south of the island. But you can also stay put and enjoy the sun.
After checking the weather forecast for the weekend and being disappointed with the predicted 8°C and expected rain, I was amazed when the sun shone happily every day.
It turns out that the southern side of the island has its own microclimate. It is almost always sunny and mild, although windy at times. During this time, it is the north and the mountain peaks that can be ravaged by rainy clouds and cooler temperatures.
My only regret was that I didn’t bring enough shorts to soak up all that amazing sunshine.
GO: GRAN CANARY
GETTING THERE/STAYING: Seven nights’ B&B at the 4H Cordial Mogan Playa Hotel is from £505 pp, including flights from Birmingham on April 30. Flights from the East Midlands and Stansted are also available. See jet2holidays.com.
OUTSIDE & SURROUNDINGS: Free Motion offers bike and e-bike rentals and tours. For more details, see free-motion.com/gran-canaria. Thalassotherapy at Gloria Palace San Agustín is from £25 per person.
For details, see gloriapalaceth.com/en/hotels.