Life of a Bike Tour Guide – Vol.1

Every wondered what it would like to be a bike tour guide? Ask Mick:-)

Dream job?

Mick meets Igor Anton of Movie Star for coffee!

Mick meets Igor Anton – Movie Star for coffee!

Most definitely, so long as you are really passionate about cycling.

Demanding job?

25-35 hours with 400-800km of cycling per week. To be fair much of it is not high intensity, but you still have to spend lots of time on the saddle.

The more you love it, the less demanding it is to be a tour guide, it’s all relative.

What are the biggest challenges?

Obviously, there’s a massive physical challenge, but for aspiring bike tour guides, the mental aspect presents a much greater challenge.

It involves lifestyle choices, getting to bed early, nutrition and managing your recovery time wisely.

The better condition you are in physically, the easier the job is from a mental perspective.

A positive, but humble confidence in your ability is probably the most important trait to have in your armoury. The physicality and the mentality go hand in hand really. If you’ve been on the bike for days on end and you are getting up on a Monday morning to meet 3 mountain bikers…..tall, skinny, light, strong and skilful. You know the demands of the route and what lies in wait. This will test you mentally, but only if you let it.

My glass is always more than half full. I think more about meeting the people, the fun and the conversation than the demands of the route itself.

What excites you most about MTB?

Watching a really skilful rider pick a different line through a rock garden or a corner. They see something for the first time, they have their own interpretation of the terrain and they make it look so easy. I’m always learning.

When you have a day-off from tours, does that mean a day-off the bike?

If I’ve been on the bike for more than 5 days in a row….a day-off normally means a bike-free day.

If it’s been an easy week, a day-off could mean some quality interval sessions on the road bike. These sessions set me up for the harder days on the job.

Sometimes, instead of a training session it might be a leisurely adventure with some of the locals to look at more routes to see how they might fit in with existing routes or as a completely new route.

Are you more of a roadie or mountain biker?

Neither, doing both keeps me fresh. More road bikers should try MTB, it brings your road biking to a new level in terms of your core strength, bike handling and descending skills.

Have you a secret ingredient that makes for a great bike tour?

Yes, but it’s something that gets left out rather than added……it’s a secret:-)

El Grifo Wine & Museum Tour

The Bodega El Grifo Wine and Museum tour takes place again this week.

Next Tour Friday 19th June …..

Time 9.30am – 2.30pm from Bike Tour Partners shops in Puerto del Carmen

Cost

  • €50 including Hybrid Bike
  • Electric Bike €5 supplement

Note: Booking is essential for this tour.

Level Basic

Distance 30km

The Bike Tour will be visiting El Grifo Museo Del Vino the oldest winery in the Canary Islands located in the heart of “La Geria”.  There the participants will partake in a fully guided historical tour of the winery and museum and afterwards will get to sample the beautiful El Grifo wines.  (www.elgrifo.com)

Complimentary pictures are taken by the guide and are e-mailed to participants afterwards!

We also stop at a Canarian Bakery on the way home for a complimentary coffee.

More Information:

 

La Graciosa MTB Adventure – Book now!

Next tour Contact us in advance with your preferred date

Cost 90

Deposit required 45(refundable if tour is cancelled due to sailing cancellation)

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This is not just any MTB ride, this is an adventure. You will be transferred to the beautiful fishing village of Orzola where you will enjoy a boat trip or indeed a catamaran, as sometimes is the case, to the island of La Graciosa.

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This is a full day excursion 8.30am – 6.00pm Departure Pick-up Points

  • Puerto del Carmen 8.30am sharp at bike shop partners
  • Costa Teguise 9.00am

Cost

  • €90 including bike hire, transfers and boat trip
  • Optional extra high quality lunch roll €4 for during the tour.

Included

  • Coffee and tapas by the sea-front at the end of the 37km
  • Complimentary pictures e-mailed to participants
  • Transfers and boat ride

Note: This tour requires a booking deposit of 45.

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Technicality level Low Fitness Level Medium Fun Factor High Distance 37km Minimum number of participants 4

More about the tour Continue reading

IM Lanzarote Tapering Sessions

Get yourself right, mentally for IM Lanzarote.

2014 champion – Romaine Guillaume

Know the route like the sailor knows the sea, the bike course is among the toughest and windiest courses on the IM calendar!

We are using a template used by world renowned coaches and we are combining that with our detailed knowledge of every single inch of tar, every corner, climb and descent. Know how to leave it all out on the road without compromising your run!

Monday, Tuesday & Thursday at ZR (recovery pace)

2 hours+ taking in the southern and middle parts of the island.

Wednesday at Z1 (tempo)

2 hours+ we understand that everybody has a different tempo however, stronger riders need to be careful not to push too hard. Saturday is only over 48 hours away.

Cost 

1 session 20

4 sessions 50

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Departure 10 participants max!

Fariones Hotel, Puerto del Carmen. 9am Monday 18th to Thursday 21st.

Complimentary coffee at the end of each session to discuss the route in detail.

We will not be covering the northerly part of the route on the bike, above Teguise and Nazaret. For triathletes basing themselves in Puerto del Carmen, we suggest you recon this section in a car if possible. We will cover the northerly part of the route in discussions while on the bike and afterwards. You should not be covering excess distances in the days leading into the event.

Last man standing, who else?

Note: Your road captain for the day Mick, is a sub 5 hour man for the bike leg of the IM Lanzarote route, he’s a bit of a splasher and he likes walking as distinct from running, so he won’t be your competition on the day :-)

Tabayesco has been tamed.

We done what we set out to do on Sunday 26th April……to cycle up Tabayesco 13 times to raise awareness for the Cycle Against Suicide campaign in Ireland. This is how our day panned out.

1.20am – Alarm goes off. I’ve been in bed since 6pm on Saturday evening. I had hoped to sleep for 7+ hours but the mind was restless. Thoughts of failure and success were equally rife all through the night. Breakfast consisted of a pot of porridge oats topped with my favourite, raspherry jam, an orange juice and coffee.

2.15am – It’s out the door. Feels very strange being up on a road bike with a back-sack. Food, tools, tubes, spare lights, 2 phones and lots of liquids. 1 solitary car is all I see between Costa Teguise and Tahiche. It feels like a proper drag with the weight on my back, although the time passes quickly when I realise I have reached the top, maybe it’s because it’s pitch dark and I can’t see it properly. I use the service road to reach Guatiza so I don’t have to deal with night time traffic. It helps the body relax and get into a rythm. It breaks momentarily as the Go-Pro comes loose. I had hoped for some footage from the day but that put an end to that.

3.10am – I commence the first climb. I only travel with the bare essentials for the climbs. The day will be hard enough. I even go without any of the gadgetry. I decided to ride on feel. It’s the fear of paying too much attention to the figures in front of you and not listening to your body enough. I’ve ridden Tabayesco no less than 30 times already in 2015 and that’s before we add 13 more today, so I know where to push and where to lay off to get the most out of the climb.

Climb 2 & 3 – Everything is going relatively smoothly. The wind is strange. It’s calmer than usual, but that is not an advantage on Tabayesco. When it blows hard, it comes over the top ridge and stays at a higher level, causing a back draft underneath which helps you up the first 6km of the climb. When it’s calmer, the wind comes straight down the climb into your face. It’s not hard but it makes the climb a little harder than normal.

Climb 4 & 5 – Really happy with how it’s going. I’m staying calm. Originally I had decided to do round trips of 52 minutes….39 up and 13 down. Every 3 climbs I was going to stop to eat. I scrapped that!

Instead, I decided to eat on the bike. Climb slower at about 44 minutes with a round trip of 57. Every time I got to the bottom, I got off the bike and took a little food from the big bag and ate it on the way up.

Was it a better decision? For me, yes.

It’s also brightening up. In Lanzarote, this happens like a light switch….it just happens in a few minutes. The descents in the dark have been a little cautious. It’s like a double edged sword. You know there isn’t a car coming around the corner, but it’s much more difficult to judge some to the turns at high speed. Sun rise is a welcome sight. More cyclists should climb this mountain at this time of day!

Climb 6 – I’ve really settled into a grove. As I’m heading down, I meet my first accomplice for the day, Alan O’Dwyer. He decides to go to the top and rejoin me as I go up on climb 7. Knowing that you’ve got company gives you a great lift.

Climb 7 – It’s like I just got a dose of adrenalin. I’m definitely climbing more economically and relaxed. I resist the temptation to go faster. It’s a great feeling getting to the half way point, just as Alan joins me.

Climb 8 & 9 – They fly by. Conversation is easy. Thoughts of those silent moments on hard training spins where everybody goes quiet on the climbs had crossed my mind. I’m well below thresehold, so it feels easy. Alan stays with me and gets a sense for the pace and the rythm almost immediately. He takes the pressure off me even more as he taps it out and I can sit in behind him for brief periods where there is head wind.

Climb 10 –  I’m back on my own and I get the formula 1 moment. I look down at the rear wheel and to my horror, it’s in shreds. All it’s going to take is one small pebble or piece of pecan to blow it. Not only could the attempt be over, I have to take the descents really easy for fear of a blow-out. It’s like listening to Lewis Hamiltion being told to ease back and mind the tyres because he’s got 3 more laps before the finish……you have to finish.

A quick call and Gavin from Evolultion bikes comes to the rescue, although I have climb 11 & 12 just completed as he arrives at the top of the climb…..perfect timing!

As I completed climb 10, I started to consider the record. 16 climbs. To break it that’s 17. All of my climbs have been from the white marker at the Tabayesco sign up to the white marker at the very top, 500m beyond the restaurant. Going only as far as the restaurant is like doing chin-ups and not fully straightening your arms before you do the next chin-up :-)

Climb 11 & 12 – The thought of the record is still there. I decide that it has to be all or nothing. It’s either going to be 17 or just set out to complete the 13. I don’t want to be somewhere in between.

The pace remains constant for these 2 climbs. Mentally, I’ve been good. I thinking, 7 done, 6 to go, 8 done, 5 to go and right now it’s 11 done and 2 to go. This thought process has really kept me in a positive frame of mind……but it’s starting to get a bit lonely on the climb.

There has been cyclists on the climb from about 10am until just after 1pm. Seeing others on the road definitely keeps the tediousness of repetitions at bay. I even over-taken quiet a few on occasion. I had told myself not to get involved in the “silent” races to the top but that went out the window on climb 11.

I had just turned at the bottom when a cyclist turned in off the junction, I have 200m on him, but it closes to 100 as I reach the first hair-pin, just above Tabayesco village. Across the divide, he gives me the eye, ok, that means I was looking at him as well :-) but he gets off his saddle and pushes on. He’s definitely gaining. I get a little angry. I don’t want to be goaded into a race to the top…..after all I’ve been through for the previous 11 hours. But, I know this climb better than most. I know where to push, I know where to lay off. I know where the surface rolls slightly better.

He comes within 30 metres just before we reach the false up-hill. This famous section looks up-hill, but in fact, it’s -2% gradient. I had layed off for about a full kilometre before it. I have stayed really calm, knowing that the guy behind me was probably starting to feel that he was going to get the better of me as he was reeled me in, but I don’t want to be beaten up the climb by anybody today…..I’ve stayed out front all day and it’s not going to happen now. Just as he is about to reach me, we get to that critical point where it goes down hill. I don’t free wheel as many do. I’ve just taken 1 kilometre of recovery and I accelerate as I have done on every occasion so far today, on this section. The race is over. I see him later in the climb, 2 hair-pins below. It’s the lift I needed to keep me on track.

Climb 13 – Just as I crest climb 12. Gavin from Evolution pulls in with Lee Elliot for company. They change the tyre while I waltz into the cafe for a can of coca-cola. It’s at this point that the battery on my phone fails, that’s the end of strava for today but at least I have 2 good men for company on the last descent and the final climb.

I really enjoy the final descent down to the start before commencing the last climb. It takes something between 11 and 12 minutes. For the final climb, the lads get a sense of where I’m at almost immediately. There’s no half wheeling and anytime one of us wants to stretch the legs and get off the saddle, nobody reacts. It stays steady and after getting a few bike lengths ahead from the leg stretches I settle back to the steady pace.

It’s very jovial on the way up. I can still talk. Talk of 17 returns, but goes just as quick. I decide that I will have enough at 13……always stick to the plan. I still have to cycle home.

13 climbs done – What’s the feelin’? To do the 13 climbs, I didn’t really feel much. It was a target and I hit it. There’s always the feel good factor when a few compliments gets bandied about, of course there is!

The idea was to raise awareness for the Cycle Against Suicide campaign which takes place back in Ireland. In just a small way, I achieved that and I am very proud!

Dedicated to the memory of Dan, Dessie, Joe, Albert and PJ.

“If only someone had told you that it was OK not to feel OK, and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help, perhaps you’d still be with us” – miss you all, you are deeply missed!

We’re expanding #BikeHolidays

Our latest project in the making….Bike Holidays.cropped-bueno-bike-freestyle-33.png We are inviting Holiday Tour Operators to join us in providing the very best Bike Tour Holidays!

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What we provide. Solely dedicated to bike tours in a fun, safe environment. We have built relationships with the best bike rental providers on the island of Lanzarote who provide the bikes to our customers for the bike tours.

What we are looking for. A tour operator / travel agent who can provide the entire package i.e. flights and accommodation combined with our bike tours.

Our vision of the bike holiday package A memorable 3 days (with options to do more) of biking spread over the course of a weeks holidays on the island of lanzarote, providing the perfect family / bike time balance.

Interested? Contact us at buenobike@gmail.com We have lots of ideas and we would be very interested to hear yours!

“It’s ok not to feel ok and it’s absolutely ok to ask for help”.

Founder of Cycle Against Suicide, Jim Breen with Mick at the top of Femes, Lanzarote in 2014.

26th April, 2015, Mick from Bueno Bike Lanzarote will be taking up the task of climbing Tabayesco 13 times to raise awareness for mental health, in particular the awareness campaign of the Cycle Against Suicicide.

It´s fair to say, that on the day, it will be ok for him not to feel ok :-) and it will be absolutely ok for him to ask for help.

From 7am, he will begin the first ascent of Tabayesco. He will do this 13 times, climbing in excess of 10,000m in one day!

How can you help

  • Join him on your bike
  • Wear something Orange
  • Make a donation

The Cycle Against Suicide community is determined to let people know that; it’s OK not to feel OK and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help.

Together, shoulder to shoulder, we can Break the Cycle of Suicide

New MTB Tour – MTB Santa Barbara

Nothing gives us a bigger buzz than bringing a new tour on stream. A day off for us normally means a day of discovery and out of that we give you MTB Santa Barbara.

Available from Puerto del Carmen or Costa Teguise

45km, 70% off-road, with a variation of 4×4 tracks, single track and most spectacularly, a single track circumnavigation of the top of a Volcano!

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The famous “Rollercoaster” section is also incorporated into the route.

You will pass through one of the few placess on the island where you can see almost the entire island from one point.

Price : €39 excluding bike hire

Day:     Any – Booking essential

Time : Costa Teguise 9am-2.30pm, Puerto del Carmen 10am-3.30pm

Coffee / Tea included & Complimentary pictures e-mailed afterwards!!!!

More Information:

The route is suitable for most levels of cyclist.

Technical ability: Low

Fitness level: Medium

Fun element: High

A Bike Tour Guide Adventure

6.50am, sunrise will be upon me in a few minutes, no tour today. Normally that means a bike free day…..but today is another “adventure day”. Everything is laid out from the night before, so breakfast is a rather calm affair. Porridge with a big spoon of raspberry jam. Whoever said porridge was only for a cold morning?

I know, but I don’t know, where I’m going on the mountain bike. I’ve never been in this lava field that I plan to visit. Even so, a map is left on the table with a series of circles, numbered from 1 to 8. It’s easier to explain where I am if something goes wrong. 2 phone call times are scheduled in as well.

I love “adventure days”, I love my MTB and Lanzarote’s got that unique off-road terrain that quells my hunger for more of it. Will today uncover a new route? Can I add in changes to existing tours? Who knows, but I’m like a boy at Christmas and even though the legs might be lethargic for the first while, that excitement for what lies ahead makes the lactic acid from a hard week disappear very quickly.

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Once I get to the general “zone”, it’s about getting on the first unfamiliar dust track or lava path. I’ve looked at the google map in detail from the night before and from the track, I’m expecting to go around the top of a Volcano. I’m about 30 minutes into it when I realise that my expectations are not going to be met. The loop simply circumnavigates the base of two Volcanoes and comes back out again…..a little like a “lollipop” route. It doesn’t matter…..behind every cloud, lies a silver lining, well, at least the saying has an air of motivation about it and I like it.

Half way around the volcanoes and the scenery is just off the reichter scale, the only problem is, I ain’t on it, I’m about 3km away from where I now want to roll. “Stick to the plan” I’m thinking, “get around the volcanoes and come back”….and so, it’s another half an hour of going through the motions. I can’t wait to get up on this new play ground.

It becomes a tough ride as narrow 4×4 track turns to pecan single track. Nevertheless, it’s special and you get that feeling it’s only going to get better! Those thoughts are confirmed as I reach the top edge of the Volcano.

 

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The Volcano is a work of art…..the beauty is of a different planet. The thought process immediately turns to bike tour potential. Right at that moment, it has tour wrote all over it…..but for now it’s about finding a different route back out. That’s when it all went “pete tom”.

The route quickly becomes invisible, steep and snow deep in pecan if that makes any sense. In between slaloming down the volcano, I stop on occasion to relieve my footwear of pecan chips. But the fun or maybe not such much fun was just about to begin for the next 2 hours.

Back on track in the middle of the lava field, the terrain was rough. It’s an Armageddon playground, except this looked like an old quarry that had been well tidied up and restored to liken the natural terrain……the pathway must lead somewhere. 30 minutes later, I’m in a dead end. Going backwards is the best option if I want to get out of there. If I do, I am going to see all that fabulous terrain for a 2nd time in one day, but what lies ahead? What lies undiscovered?

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It’s super rough, the bike is on my shoulder. I can see where I want to go, but the terrain dictates that I cannot go in a straight line. What looks like an easy 15 minutes takes 1 hour and 35 minutes!

Finally, I’m back on some “ruta unica”, I’m ready for home. Another hour and a half of time standing still in my head until I get home – a watch really has no place on a bike tour guides wrist. Put it in your back pocket, forget the time and enjoy your bike. Will any of the route become a bike tour? I already kind of know the answer, but I’m going to sleep soundly on it tonight!

The Sunday Road Bike Spin

The beauty of a Sunday morning in Lanzarote is that you are guaranteed the weather! You don’t have to wait up ’til late for a club up-date on the weather…..we’re going and we’re going every Sunday from now on!
What’s the spin like? It’s just like the Sportives of old, where everybody is relaxed, enjoying their bike, revelling in good company and exchanging stories and life’s experiences.
Speed? 22-27kmph depending on the group. It’s a sportif pace, we stick together as a group for most of the spin. For the climb of the day, Tabayesco, stronger riders have a licence to tear up the climb. Such is the atmosphere, stronger riders very often come back down to join the grupetto and then we regroup at the top.
Distance? 85km
Where? Puerto del Carmen – Costa Teguise – Tabayesco – Teguise – Puerto del Carmen – Costa Teguise
Time?
Puerto del Carmen
– Revolution Bike 9.00am
– Lanzarote Cycling 9.02am
– Bike Boys 9.04am
– ProAction BH 9.07am
Costa Teguise
– Evolution Bike 10.00am (be outside Los Zocos Hotel)

The Coffee Stop
Our tours are unique, you don’t pay for your coffee and you’ll even be treated to a pastry of your choice at the café stop. We pride ourselves in supporting local business, so you’ll be visiting a typical Canarian establishment for that real Canarian, rural hospitality and friendly smile!

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Complimentary pictures (25-50) are e-mailed to you afterwards to remind of the day!

Price €29 excluding bike hire. Booking is essential.
Contact any of our Bike Tour Partners or buenobike@gmail.com

What they had to say….

“…it set up my whole week on the bike” – John C. Manchester, UK

“…I got home on time so the family were happy” – Bruno W. Flanders, Belgium

“…fabulous scenery, splendid company” – George D. London, UK

“…we were on great roads and Tabayesco is ticked off my list” – Michal S. Hamburg, Germany.