24 April 2018
What better way to escape the winter non-riding blues, or build into a family vacation…?
TENERIFE – SMALL, BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
On a human level, Tenerife is not a large island. You could lap it completely by car in a couple of hours – it’s compact, with everything where you’d hope to find it; coastal resorts, nightlife and high mountain passes, all nestled close.
On a geological scale, it’s massive, sculpted layer-upon-layer by successive volcanic explosions that go back millions-upon-millions of years and rises to a peak of 3,718m above sea level.
It’s also very much an enclave of Spain – part of the Canary Islands – tucked away just off the coast of
And the good news: the roads, and scenery, are stunning. It makes sense to start in the south, and head north (and up). But first get some bearings – the TF-1 is the highway that cups most of the south side of the island, it’s useful but a little dull. The TF-5 services the north-eastern side; there are two airports, TFS in the south, TFN in the north.
Don’t, to start with
You’ll question why, until you take the sharp left, then right on the TF-21 signed to Vilaflor. You’ll be mildly entertained by some fun hard-topped single-track – but
Then carry on the climb; pass through Vilaflor, still on the TF-21, and simply keep going. The road is amazing, the views stunning and then, as you start to drop down, everything changes. Suddenly you’re in a volcanic hell frozen permanently – for the time being – in time and the lava fields seem to go on forever. El Teide is another 1,000 metres up and there’s a cable car that will take you to the summit – the highest point in all of Spain.
But carry on and you’ll be rewarded, as you drop down the north side of the island with a complete change in surroundings; as the road twists and turns toward Santa Cruz everything around becomes lush and green, due to the climatic (as in wetter) differences between the north and south of the island.
Another distracting route down the
And just a small note – the restaurant/bar Las Estrellas on the lower section of the TF-38 has a wonderful panoramic sun
THE HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORT GLIDE
Is much like Tenerife itself. After an absence of 25 years in the H-D range the Sport Glide name is back in action, on a motorcycle that’s 9th in the line of 2018 Softails – the likes of which include the mighty Fat Bob, iconic Fat Boy, bare-boned Street Bob and classic Heritage – but adds a little chemistry all of its own into the mix.
For a start, while its mini-batwing fairing takes styling cues from the fully-dressed Street Glide it’s a much more compact, manageable proposition with a relaxed riding position and easy ground reach thanks to the carefully contoured seat and forward-set footpegs.
The curvaceous handlebars sweep back gently to meet you and instantly you’re at home. And while 1745cc Milwaukee-Eight engine maybe familiar now, it doesn’t fail to impress with its easy, effortless torque – 107lb-ft (145Nm) @ just 3,250rpm – that drives that fat back tyre into Tarmac and the
Controlled by Throttle By Wire (TBW) the rider’s connection to all of that torque is superb – you’d almost say there were a couple of perfectly
The gearbox is precise and each ratio snicks home sweetly, and it’s the little details you notice while on board that are the
Everywhere you look you notice how clean the overall design is; no messy cables, pipes or plumbing on display. Just a glorious black and chrome V-Twin engine that you could mount on a wall and stare at, surrounded by a carefully made (check out the weld quality, even where it’s less obvious…) motorcycle.
And make no mistake the
Then there’s the flexibility designed in. The svelte fairing comes off with just 30 seconds’ effort – and can’t be removed when the steering lock is on.
Or a mixture of the two; while the fairing’s wind protection is noticeable at highway speeds (110/120km/h) strip it off and roll at a more relaxed pace, maybe with bags attached for convenience. Or not, even. And there’s a USB charging port tucked away to the left on the steering stem – a nice touch that’s appreciated by anybody that needs to power and charge a phone or GPS.
A little un-Harley like, you may say but many who’ve had a test ride would beg to differ – and the whole new Softail range proves the point. And the
For more information of the Harley-Davidson
Ride H-D on Tenerife
Ride as part of a vacation on the island. A simple Google search – Harley-Davidson Tenerife – will take you straight to the door of the authorised H-D dealer. They’re based in the north, and will happily rent you a bike – maybe even the new
Pick your time to go
Tenerife is a well-trodden tourist destination that serves up
Keep a close eye on…
…Rental hatchbacks driven at 15km/h with the passenger waving a selfie-stick out of the window. They’re about to; stop randomly/perform a U-turn/reverse wildly/do all three in succession. They definitely won’t be looking out for motorcycles.
Expect to ride for weeks
While Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, at 2,034.38 km2, there’s only so much to explore – enough to keep you busy for 2/3 days though.
Entirely trust a GPS
If you’re using one – what seems like a perfectly sensible
Forget to pack
And apply sunscreen, especially at altitude as the effect of the sun’s UV rays is multiplied and it’s easy to burn very quickly.