The Canary Islands are my favourite last minute destination: reasonably cheap, plenty to see and do, and most of all: the weather is good year-round. They are called “the islands of eternal spring” for good reasons. I had already visited Tenerife, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura so Gran Canaria was the next logical choice.
In my search to ride a motorcycle on the island to awaken from riding hibernation, I ended up with Canary Motorcycle Tours. Martin and Joy, an English couple, offer guided motorcycle tours on Gran Canaria for groups of up to 8 motorcycles. Prices are only slightly higher than renting a motorcycle yourself.
Canary Motorcycle Tours is based in Vecindario, a small town on the east coast of Gran Canaria, fifteen minutes from the airport. It has a pedestrian street with plenty of cafeterias but altogether there’s not much to do. For touristic Canarian highlights you need to go elsewhere. If you book a tour with Canary Motorcycle Tours they offer you a 2-star or a 4-star accommodation in Vecindario. Should you stay somewhere else, they will also organise transport from and to your hotel, on the condition that it’s not too far away.
After only a few emails the deal was done and dusted: three days of riding with stay in the 2-star hotel in Vecindario. I booked my flights and a week later I set foot on Gran Canaria!
Joy picked me up at my hotel in the morning. Upon arriving at the motorcycle shop the obligatory paperwork was swiftly done and I could choose my riding gear if I wanted to. The vests, boots, helmets and gloves they offer all looked in good condition, however I had brought my own gear.
Together with Martin I decided I would ride the Honda NC750X (he has 8 bikes in total, all Honda’s, of which I had already ridden the CB500X on Madeira). The NC750X is, according to the general opinion, that somewhat boring commuter bike with the luggage compartment where one would expect the fuel tank.
During the three days the group was always composed differently. On day one I was joined by an Englishman and his pillion wife. The second day a Scotsman and two Dutch guys joined and on my third and last riding day we were accompanied by three crazy but very funny Slovenian friends.
Martin guided us up and through the entire island. The pace was adapted to each group and is always fluent, never too slow. At the end of each day we had more or less done 200 km and that’s more than enough on the always winding Canary roads.
Every day the ride was very different. Day one was very mountainous, on day two we rode from the sea in the north to the highest point on the island and on day three we toured the west coast. Gran Canaria is also called “the small continent” because of its varied landscapes, something that seemed very obvious during the rides.
There were plenty of highlights. I will surely remember the moment the peak of Teide, the volcano on neighbouring Tenerife, majestically rose into view on the GC60, or the climb to Pico de las Nieves. However my biggest highlight was the GC200. Also known as Spain’s most dangerous road. And what a road it is! This twisty piece of heavenly tarmac snugly hugs the steep cliffs of the west side of the island.
The added value of Canary Motorcycle Tours is without a doubt their local knowledge. They don’t organise sightseeing tours, they organise riding tours. We almost never stopped at viewpoints (there are too many anyway) or at cultural sites. The rides are well balanced, both in time and distance. Martin picks out the best local restaurants and will even take you to the very best cake shop on the island for a coffee break, turning the rides into a culinary experience too. You won’t hear me complaining about that.
I’ve had three amazing riding days with Canary Motorcycle Tours. Joy immediately makes you feel very welcome and organises everything perfectly behind the scenes. Martin always keeps spirits high with his unmistakable British humour and positive attitude. They’re a great couple of people. So if you want to ride some days on a beautiful island, with temperatures up to 25 degrees in winter, there’s only one address: Canary Motorcycle Tours!
Honda NC750X: quick review
The NC750X is known as the perfect commuter bike: agile for moving through traffic and very economic because of its low consumption. “Boring” is however the most heard comment when mentioning this Honda.
Hence my surprise when I noticed that this do-it-all bike stood its ground on the twisty mountain roads of Gran Canaria. The torque of 68 Nm is more than enough and available at very low revs, so you can ride it in a very relaxed way with the necessary power immediately available. 55 bhp of power is quite low, but it’s enough to be able to overtake fluently at highway speeds.
Because of the long suspension travel the NC750X is very comfortable and also handling is good. The storage space where-one-would-expect-the-fuel-tank is very practical, even if this means you need to lift the pillion seat for fueling.
The only negative point would have to be the breaks: when the pace gets quicker and lots of hard braking is needed, it’s noticeable that this budget bike only has one disc in the front wheel and the brakes start fading quite quickly.
All in all the Honda NC750X will give you plenty of fun for quite a low price (Base MSRP $8,099).