Pico de las Nieves (Gran Canaria) – Cycling Inspiration & Education



Only 100km west of Morocco, Gran Canaria is often overlooked in favour of its big brother Tenerife, but dig a little deeper and you soon discover an island of diversity, wonder and pure magnificence. From golden sand dunes and endless beaches in the south to a complete diversity of landscapes, vegetation, intricate roads and breath taking views across the island. I first visited back in the late 90’s and immediately felt something special. The smell of pine and eucalyptus still brings back vivid memories of exploring every nook as a young pup on the bike, but don’t for a moment drop your guard. This is a hard island, one for the climbers and grinders for sure, so let’s get this party started!

Although there are a multitude of routes up to Pico de las Nieves, the highest point on the island, many base themselves in and around Maspalomas. This is where it’s the sunniest so perfect for post ride recovery although (confession time) I’ve only had a fleeting glance at the beach in all my visits, my eyes are normally firmly fixed on the big peaks to the north.

Often a climb in excess of 40km can be a daunting prospect. The trick here is to think of it as a journey, breaking it down into smaller sections. In that respect the climb up to Pico, (starting on the GC60) is kind, often giving you a short descent just when you need it to recover and enjoy the view. Use all of these opportunities wisely as no sooner have you had a breather then BOOM(!) the gradient kicks back in and it’s time to find your rhythm for another round of switchbacks.

With around 11km to go you hook a sharp right hander at Ayacata to join the GC600. If you (or your bike) need a break then take five at one of many Free Motion Bike Stops on the island. You’re about to hit the hardest part of the climb as the gradient cruelly bites at your quads and calves like a wild dog (which in percentages translates to 15 on the wild dog bite-o-meter! Woof-woof!) It’s at this point that you really need to dig deep, the island’s most significant landmark is just around the corner and what a marvel it is. A 90 metre high monolith of volcanic rock formed over 4.5 million years ago, Roque Nublo (Rock in the Clouds) once served as a holy monument, a pillar of heaven and a ritual place for natives to sacrifice to the sun-god……and if that wasn’t enough it looks freakin’ cool so try not to pass out before this point 😉

As Pico’s dome shaped radar comes into view you’ve now got another landmark to lock your superman eye lasers onto all the way to the top. Suddenly, today, it turned into a race against the sun. Second confession of the ride, I spent waaaay too long gawping at the views on the way up that time was slipping on by un-noticed. Don’t make the same mistake if you have to get all the way back down as well!

So my lack of time keeping actually worked in our favour. They say that Africa has the best sunsets in all of the world and being so close to the continent I’m not going to argue with that. As I climbed above the clouds and rounded the final bend up to 1,949 metres altitude the rich glow of the final light of the day reminded me exactly why I ride a bike. Silhouetted mountain peaks and Tenerife’s Mount Teide at peace in the distance. What a phenomenal ride, one that I will cherish for life.

Start: Maspalomas
Length: 44km
Summit: 1,949m
Elevation gain: 2,278m
Average gradient: 4.7%
Max gradient: 15%
Ridden in February

Special thanks to FREE MOTION for their help and support. These guys really know how to look after you offering top notch bike rental, guided rides and island expertise. If you’re planning a holiday to the Canary Islands then check them out at http://www.FREE-MOTION.com

Thank you to our partners Mavic, Cannondale, Exposure Lights, Lezyne, MyPower by InfoCrank, Muc Off, The Sufferfest, TORQ and USE for enabling us to bring these truly special mountains to life for you all. If you’re in need of new bike kit in the future and you enjoyed this video then bear them in mind and help keep the wheels turning 🙂

For more help and advice visit our website at http://thecolcollective.com, become part of our col community and sign up for our free newsletter for monthly updates. And if you fancy riding with us then we’ll be hosting a small number of cycling experiences in the Pyrenees in the summer. Details available at http://thecolcollective.com/cycling-tours.

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Stay well, ride safe and thank you for watching.

Mike Cotty
The Col Collective

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26 comentarios en «Pico de las Nieves (Gran Canaria) – Cycling Inspiration & Education»

  1. Riders should also consider to try La Gomera and La Palma roads, if they like to climb, they're not famous but they're legs destroyers.

  2. Gave this a whirl last week, it is a great climb, took me about 4 and a bit hours to get up as I’m a plodder. The road surface is a lot rougher after San Bartolomé which was a bit of a pain. I was lucky enough not to have clouds so the view of the north part of the island was brilliant. Ditto from the top.

  3. I was there last April May and cycled up to Roque Nublo from Puerto Rico and back down. I am there again February 27th… Cycling up to Pico from maspalomas and dropping down other side of island to Galdar…. Then touring the island for a few days eventually getting back to maspalomas. Great video.

  4. I just returned from my holiday on Gran Canaria. My third year riding there. You can make so many great rides on Gran Canaria, it's Cycling Paradise. I climbed Pico twice this year, but also made a ride around the island twice. Your video is great. It shows the beauty of climbing on G.C. Not many riders around though in your video, but I think you started late on the day. Most people start in the morning to get back in time. I rent my bike at Bike 10mil. The owner is a great guy and a fanatic rider himself. He knows all the routes on the island. Definitely recommended to visit G.C. for cycling and fun.

  5. Mike you are one fit cyclist!!!!!!
    36-25 gearing too, geez that's a monster climb! This channel is so well put together, the rider ( Mike), the people who shoot the videos and editing is just fabulous really!!

  6. been often on Pico, had temperature from 4°C till 36°C (while regular temperature at sea level). Once there was little snow in march on top of Pico – melting. Wheather can change rapidly from warm to wind/rain/cold and vice versa. Often you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a cloud. So take care, it can always be a surprise. I had winds suddenly throwing me and my bike in the crash barrier with a gaping abyss behind. Sometimes little rocks fall down from mountaintops at the street, esp. on the road from Tejeda to Artenara (anyway a "must-drive"!) but mostly when you have storm or rain. It's a paradise but it can be dangerous – so be prepared.

  7. Hi Mike! You've ridden this climb in february. I assume it's doable all year round, right? I will be in Maspalomas in december and hopefully can ride both Pico de Las Nieves from Ingenio and Valley Of The Tears.

  8. A fantastic video Mike, thank's very much for sharing. Professionally done and very inspirational. You have a lovely pedalling style on the bike. I've only ever cycled up Serenity and Soria climbs in Gran Canaria, but would love to try Pico de las Nieves, the next time I visit.

  9. Mike – thanks for the inspiration!! Just got back from riding the Pico de las Nieves and it was amazing. Super tough though!

  10. was absolutely epic on Saturday and even saw a pro rider coming down. the roads are so smooth for the majority and this is a real gem alongside serenity and Soria. The GCN epic ride is definitely worth a ride. Beautiful island amazing for cycling. Free motion were excellent as well.Thanks Mike

  11. its a beautiful ride! I made to San Bartholome, then back through Santa Lucia. Not bad for an old man 62yrs……..awesome ride!

  12. A mesmerising video, did the ride back in October but not quite to the top as followed a route I had back down another way. Anyone know what the music is on the last part by the peak as really gets inside your head, —– so inspirational

  13. Yeah, the day I rode it for the first time we went from 28C in Maspalomas to 8C at the top. And then my buddy snapped chis chain right at the pico, I was shivering for the first couple of miles on the downhill.

  14. im a 45 year old guy weighing around 75 kilos. In the UK, i go on 3 hour cycles, and I can sustain an average of around 140 watts without going into the red. The routes I go on are not hilly. With the right gearing, would I have any chance of climbing to the summit of Pico de La Nieves without actually having to get off and walk up some of the steeper parts ?

  15. Thanks for shooting and posting this video. I watched it many times before I finally got to ride in your tyre tracks and tick off one of my biggest things on my bucket list. Two weeks ago in mid 30*C I made it to the top in just over 3 hours, well chuffed. The views were incredible. Thanks again

  16. Great video & audio production. Your videos are like watching a documentary. Very enjoyable and inspiring.

  17. looks like a pretty HOT route. Beautiful no doubt, but if I get a chance to do this ride, I'll definitely get an early start. 🙂

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