Johan Wagenaar owns and runs Lanzarote Bike Sensations, and this time of year means big business. As a two-time finisher of the Lanzarote Ironman, he also knows what the race demands. We spoke to him recently.
Johan, why is the Ironman so important to your business?
Plenty of athletes who come to take part don’t want to bring their own bikes. These are valuable pieces of kit, they’re expensive to transport and they don’t want to run the risk of damage or delay. So they hire bikes instead. I’ve got 90 road bikes, and they’re all hired out when Ironman comes.
What sort of bikes are they?
Aero Ultegra road bikes, worth around €3,000 each. They’re hired almost full time from October to May.
Do athletes have any problems adapting to a new bike?
Not really. We ask them for their measurements and make sure each bike is prepared to their personal specifications
What are the main problems of the island for cyclists?
The main problem is untidy roads – the hard shoulder area which cyclists use is often messed up with stones or broken glass. It could be cleaned much more often, for safety’s sake. Read more...
What about bikes in resorts and on seafront promenades?
The problem there is pedestrians walking on the cycle paths. People simply need to be more conscious of cycle paths, and with more signs things would would be better.
What about mountain biking?
That’s popular too, but people need to understand that it’s different here than it is in other countries. In the UK or Holland, mountain biking is riding through a wood. Here you’re on seriously rough volcanic terrain.
What is the most important development in cycling?
Electric bikes are likely to change things completely. They’ve just built a cycle path to the airport, but other routes, for example to Tías, would give so many people the opportunity to use cycles to get to and from work – something that’s been difficult on the island up to now.
You’ve finished two Ironman races on Lanzarote…
…and three in the Netherlands, as well as three Tri 122, Volcano Triathlons and Ocean Lava races here…
So what’s your best bit of advice?
Don’t worry about times, don’t talk about times. Enjoy the race, enjoy the people you meet and talk to along the way, and you’ll be a winner. This is a race that will change your life, so enjoy it.