This time last year we were planning our Cyclista in Mallorca trip. We have visited the island several times and are totally in love with it. Last years trip for us was an ideal opportunity to get a Cyclista, kit test and photo shoot in as well as a holiday. Since we started going on cycling holidays to the island it has become a total cycling Mecca and it’s really easy to understand why with the weather being between 22 and 28 degrees at the end of April when it’s still pouring with rain in the UK.
Over the years the cycling infrastructure on the island has adapted to the massive demand, there are now several really great companies to hire bikes from that are easy to book with on line, we have used Max Huerzeler in the past and been really pleasantly surprised with the quality of the bikes available and the service level, where they do a bike for and set up your bike for you.
Nearly every café on the island now has bike racks outside and some on the popular routes are so busy that it’s harder to park your bike than get a table. The café at the top of Luc is a personal favourite, following the 7.8km, 5% average gradient climb from Caimari you can beat a local queso y tomate baguette + café bonbon (or cheese and tomato baguette and an espresso with condensed milk, they are amazing)
There are a few routes that I have to ride every trip, but my fav 3 have to be the climb up Luc, the awesome Sa Calobra and also for a shorter day the Light house on Formentor.
Sa Calobra, where to start. There are very few climbs like this one, you drop 10km down the side of mountain to the sea, but it is the way back out that is the amazing part. I have to be honest it took me a couple of years to build up the courage to take it on, but now its one I do every trip and wouldn’t miss it. The Climb is an average of 7.1% and ascends 668 meters from the sea back to the top of the mountain. It is almost as if the road was created for cyclists. There are 26 hairpin turns and 1 that does a full loop over its self, admittedly I did ride this one a few times just cause it’s fun. A couple of years ago whilst driving over towards Sa Calobra on a rest day, we started to count the number of cyclista that we saw, and stopped counting at 218, we had only driven 18km from the hotel, it really is a popular climb to do.
Word of warning, it can get pretty chilly in the mountains so make sure you take arm warmers and a gilet and keep an eye on the forecast, a few years ago we got caught in a tropical storm and the roads were all 3 inches deep in water in places, it made the ride home interesting especially as at sea level it hadn’t rained!
Formentor is also well worth a trip out to, and you can share an ice cream with a goat when you reach the Lighthouse. The road has been resurfaced quite recently and most of it is an amazing riding surface. The out and back is about 40km with 1000m of climbing and winds out and up to the lighthouse on the tip of the island. The views are spectacular and there are loads of places to see them from on the way up. Last year on a Cycling Weekly photo shoot we spent a lot of time hiding behind a rock face to get a clear run at a great descent with no cars in shot, but the shot was totally worth it in the end. There is also a slightly scary tunnel that the road goes through, I enjoy it and am terrified by it in equal amounts, as apparently it is beneficial to be able to see when cycling, instead of being in the pitch black.
Here are some of our favourite places to eat and believe me I have had to refine the list as it was about 20 places long. For lunch the Spar with a Bar on the way to Formentor does tasty quick tapas and great local beer, it’s really handy if you are heading back from a ride and is usually pretty quiet. I think they should bring the concept to the UK, it’s a winner.
If its paella you are after Neptuno near the square in Port de Pollenca is fab, or something a little more pricey but truly amazing on a back street on the other side of the square is El Posito, I go every time we visit the Island, we found it on a recommendation a few years ago then spent 40mins walking around trying to find it, but oh my goodness it was worth it, and over time I have learnt to find it faster. I would recommend booking though as its small and popular with locals.
For me, the most important bit is the riding, but the scenery, food and weather make it one of my favourite places to be.
Happy Cycling xx