When I first started learning to ride, my CBT instructor asked me if I had a biking dream.
‘I’d love to ride an Enfield,’ I confessed. As I heard it pass my lips, it seemed an impossibly big dream. At the time, I was still struggling with clutch control on a Honda 125 that seemed enormous. How on earth could I ever manage an Enfield?
But on Fuerteventura I rode an Interceptor 650, alone across a barren landscape, buffeted by wind, and felt gloriously free and wild. It was the first time I had ridden anything different to my training bikes; I was riding on the other side of the road, so joining the freeway and tackling roundabouts required extra focus; I was navigating at the same time. But I did it all, with ease, under a huge bowl of Canary blue sky. Fantastic!
If you’re a seasoned tourer, the volcanic island of Fuerteventura will hold no challenges for you. But if you are a beginner, it’s perfect: long, smooth roads that lead to distant horizons, snake through mountains or ribbon the coastline. There is exactly the right amount of challenge, satisfying without being scary. Hairpin bends, ascending or descending, but not fifty in a row (yes India, I mean you) and none of the terrifying drops of, say, Corsica, where the coastal roads have been hewn out of the cliff face and offer no safety barrier between your ability to corner and the ocean below.
Best of all, there are long stretches where you can relax and admire the scenery, though vistas might be a more apt word. Fuerteventura is the oldest of the Canary Islands, formed when volcanic activity javelined the land up through the ocean. The landscape is spartan, Martian, with miles of volcanic deserts, rubble-strewn. In the villages and along the coasts, there are palms and towering cacti. Irrigation systems show how long and hard the islanders have battled to make the land fertile.
The Canary Islands are all different in terms of what they offer. Fuerteventura is famous for its beaches. It has more than a hundred and fifty to choose from, ranging from glittering black sand coves to golden sand/turquoise sea glamour. Wind and kite surfing are very popular. Traditionally, the name Fuerteventura refers
to the strong winds that race across the island and dear heavens, you can believe that as you ride around.
But the wind is not as bracing as the price of motorcycle hire. Across the Canaries, rental prices are high for cars and bikes alike. We rented from East Coast Rides (eastcoastrides.eu) and paid 90 euros for one day’s hire of an Enfield Interceptor, 10am – 10am. The price included two helmets (compulsory) gloves (compulsory) and jackets (optional)
Bikes on offer included an Enfield Himalayan, a Honda CB600F Hornet, a Yamaha MT-07, a Honda CB500X Adventure and RMT stalwart the Honda cb125f, in both geared and automatic versions.
They also had scooters.To be honest, there are no roads that can’t be handled by a scooter. We had a Piaggio 300 one day, and it easily coped with two riders, as did our friends’ 125. But scooters were not cheap either: £55 for the Piaggio Beverley.
The island is small – 62 miles long and 19 miles wide as the crow flies – so even with stops, two days’ hire was plenty. The best route we travelled was through the Parc Rural de Betancuria. We left the main north-south FV-2 freeway near Costa Calma, taking the FV-605 towards Pájara. This sweeping road through barren mountains took us past the Mirador Astronomico de Sicasumbre, a glorious viewpoint with views through the mountains to the Atlantic beyond. Apparently it is a popular destination after dark; Fuerteventura is famous for its crystal clear starlit skies. At Pájara we turned left onto the winding FV-30 to Betancuria. Geographically, this area is the oldest part of the island and it’s well worth seeing.
We also liked the long, straight coastal road from Corralejo to Puerto del Rosario, with the dunes of the Parque Naturel de Corralejo on one side and the turquoise ocean on the other.
So that’s Fuerteventura. Not a place you would go specifically to tour, but a fun place to explore by bike for a couple of days if you are there for a beach holiday. Try it!