Our story: When passion transitions from hobby to lifestyle
This is the story about how Life On 2 Wheels® became what it is today.
We have always had a strong connection with nature. Growing up surrounded by it, an active outdoor lifestyle is a part of our genes. Martin discovered Gran Canaria as a cycling destination back in 2008 and came here every winter for training camps since then. In 2016 he quit his job and moved to the island to work as a bike guide. This is how he met Anja in November 2017. They both share the passion for mountain biking, nature, camping, culture and discovering new areas, so already there, the philosophy of “life on two wheels” was born.
Martin spent the summer of 2018 together with Anja in Berchtesgaden, where she worked as a physiotherapist. When Martin returned to Gran Canaria that winter, it was clear to him that he would like to start his own business in the cycling industry. The shape and form weren’t fully clear yet, so he started with guided tours in the north of the island.
We launched our first website and new requests kept coming. Suddenly rental bikes were also on the agenda with Martin's long-time partner Merida. We searched for a shop where we could offer all our services. Little by little, Anja realised the extent of Martin's plans and began preparing to move to Gran Canaria. Neither of them had any idea what was coming in the next few months.
Renting out bicycles meant we also needed a workshop to maintain them, so that was also added to our order. On September 7th, 2019, after Anja had sold all her belongings and quit her job, the flight into the unknown took off. Once they arrived on the island, a lot of work awaited. The shop had to be painted and set up. Installation of security gate, alarm system, shelves and assembling bikes kept us busy for days and many late evenings.
Initially, large investments from life savings into something uncertain were made, but we had to believe it would work. Slowly, the first cyclists started to discover us, we were able to rent out our new Merida bikes and start with guided tours. As well, more clients needed repairs on their own bikes and so we also expanded our workshop department.
Everything went unexpectedly well until March 15, 2020. We didn't notice much of Covid on the island, so the lockdown came like a shock to us. From high season on full throttle to zero! All future reservations cancelled in a single day and the uncertainty grew strong.
We were forced to stay in our apartment for the next 8 weeks. In the last minute, we were able to obtain a turbo trainer so that our fitness wouldn't completely collapse. There were a lot of worries about what would happen next, how can this continue and how long will it last? Since we just started in the year before covid, we had no positive numbers to show for. Governmental support was largely based on profitability of the business, so it was not looking good for us.
At the beginning of May 2020 we were finally free to go outside again and had the once in a lifetime opportunity to explore the island without tourists. We will hopefully never see Playa del Ingles, Amadores or the Yumbo Center so empty ever again. After a short holiday in Germany, we started up again in September. We had no expectations, but thanks to a few cycling digital nomads who spent the winter on the island, there were always some repairs. Nevertheless, the 2020/21 season was practically a season to forget.
In 2021 the Norwegian MTB National Team needed our support at the World Cups. The Olympic Games in Tokyo were also coming up and Martin had the unique opportunity to be there as a mechanic.
We headed into the next season 2021/22 full of hope and thanks to fewer restrictions, more tourists returned to the island. Martin and Anja managed the shop, rental bikes, repairs, tours as a duo. It was on the limit! As self-employed, you are available 24/7 and only have sporadic free time. At the end of the season in April, we were happy that tourism was returning, but we were totally exhausted. It was clear that we would need support the next season.
The following summer we travelled the World Cups again, supporting the Norwegian MTB National Team. Anja as physiotherapist and Martin as mechanic. All the experience we gained regarding technical problems and advances in the cycling industry gives us unique knowledge that we use in our company. After the world championships in Les Gets, we returned to the island and a new season with our mechanic Ion could begin.
We are pleased that new customers find us, but also old friends keep coming back. Our goal continues to be to ensure that cyclists have as stress-free a cycling holiday as possible with our great bikes and tours.
We look forward to getting to know you or seeing you again next season!
Meet our team
Our team is small and that makes us flexible. Driven by passion for cycling we'll do what it takes to give you a memorable cycling experience on Gran Canaria.