In order of importance, the biggest obstacles to actually starting a riding adventure, rather than just talking about it, are usually:
- Getting enough time off work
- Having the cash to finance it
- The right bike
- Finding the perfect location.
So when there’s a small 785-mile-square island a cheap flight away, with roads and scenery as diverse as New Zealand and the moon, and great weather all year round, one by one the barriers disappear.
Throw atrocious January weather in your own country – snow, ice and temperatures dipping to minus 15 – into the equation and it almost looks like an annual date for the diary.
But would it be all too low key for seasoned Bonneville rider Weronika Kwapisz, veteran of a 19,728km, 80-day ride across America and a similar epic trip across Europe?
“Not at all. For me, it was the perfect escape from the new year weather in Poland, which makes it difficult to get out on the bike. By January, I’m always getting withdrawal symptoms,” she says.
Weronika beat the blues by heading to Tenerife, sticking to her ‘first love’ Bonneville to rip up the coastline, as well as getting inland to the mountains to make the most of her seven-day break from work.
After picking up a T100 from Gubra dealership in La Laguna, she left winter behind and embarked on an adventure she’d been told about but never dreamed was possible ‘in my own backyard’.
She says: “Flights are so cheap now in Europe that you can head there for next to nothing, hire a bike and extend your summer for a few months. Tenerife was one of the most fascinating places I’ve ridden.
“A week was plenty. I racked up more than 1,000km in that time, but in the more mountainous areas, I was restricted to around 150km a day because there are so many fantastic twists and turns.”
The other big bonus for a woman used to meticulous planning and packing was the ‘point and go’ approach she could adopt on a shorter trip: ”I looked at the map and asked the locals for the best roads, and just rode.
“The great thing about Tenerife is that it’s so diverse, like a small version of the world. In the north, there are lots of trees and lush green spaces and it feels like Norway or New Zealand, but in the south it’s completely different, with a lunar landscape inland from small towns and fishing ports and fishermen bringing in the catch.”
She adds: “It rains a lot in the north, so I let the weather forecast dictate where I headed each day. That’s the great thing about visiting a small, contained island.”
But the high point in more ways than one came in the middle of the island when Weronika rode up the dormant 3,714-metre-tall Mount Teide volcano – its rocks a mixture of reds, blacks and browns – straight into a life-affirming moment in time.
“I rode up and up through the clouds before eventually coming to a stop above them in the bright sunshine. Then I stopped and looked down on the clouds below me like a heavenly ocean. It was incredible and something I’ll never forget,” she says.
Smooth tarmac roads with plenty of twists and turns make Tenerife a rider’s paradise, with year-round weather to match, but watch out for the geological fallout of gravel and rocks on the roads.
“The Bonnie handles incredibly well through the twists and turns and he also looks great. Just as important though, the fuel economy was fantastic and a great result for a 900cc bike because the gas in Spain is really cheap so you can ride and ride and ride.
Despite the language barrier, Weronika felt completely at home every time she rode out: “I was riding solo, but you’re never alone on a Triumph. I couldn’t speak with the Spanish riders, but we communicated through a shared passion for beautiful bikes and the thrill and excitement of adventure.
“Wherever my Bonnie pulled up, it got so much attention and that just strengthens the bond between you and the bike. I’m sure it’s the same whether you ride a Tiger or a Street Twin, but the Bonneville has my heart.”
For her next trick, she’s eyeing Kyrgyzstan “because I’ve heard so many amazing things about it, but the UK and Scotland are calling me too”.
She says: “After riding across America and going long haul, Tenerife was a great reminder that an adventure doesn’t have to mean weeks and weeks off work. The memories you make can be just as powerful and the adventure as thrilling in seven days… and anyone can get that off work.”