"Mallorca is a paradise, if you can stand it.” - Gertrude Stein, 1929.
Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands which are part of Spain and located in the Mediterranean. To many, particularly those outside of the UK and parts of Europe, it's a hidden gem. For UK cyclists, Mallorca is pretty much the go-to destination.
In fact, Mallorca is fast becoming the holiday destination of choice for tourists and cyclists around the world.
The reason for this popularity is that Mallorca has all the ingredients for a dream-like cycling holiday. Reliable warm weather, immaculate roads, awe inspiring scenery and an incredible array of diverse cycling routes. The fact that pro teams choose to train here is not just some happy coincidence.
According to Pedro Delgado, the Spaniard who won the Tour de France and Vuelta a España in the late 1980s...
"Mallorca is a special place to cycle because the weather is good and you can find flat terrain or mountains; Mallorca offers riders of different abilities good opportunities. I think it's a perfect place to ride".
David Millar, British retired professional road cyclist who won 10 Grand Tour stages says that...
"Mallorca is perhaps the most famous cycling destination in the world these days. The north and west of the island are mountainous, while the south and east are relatively flat, so there are options for everybody".
Over the last two decades, Mallorca has been cementing its cycling destination credentials. It’s been helped along by the pro teams training there, well-marketed winter training camps, challenging Gran Fondo's like Mallorca 312, and increasingly popular cycling tours being offered.
REWARD YOURSELF IN A CYCLING HAVEN
From our own experiences, we believe that Mallorca is possibly the greatest destination in the world for road cyclists.
There are a multitude of reasons why Mallorca is such a special place to be inspired whilst Living the Ride:-
- The weather is fantastic and predictable, especially from mid September to mid October (18-27c).
- Exceptionally smooth and safe road surfaces.
- Diverse riding options, all with incredible landscapes and awe inspiring scenery.
- Mallorca offers riders of different abilities great opportunities across flat terrain and tough but doable mountain passes.
- Stunning coastline rides with hidden coves and crystal blue waters.
- Easy accessibility to most rides.
- Accomodating motorists who have shown themselves to be extremely tolerant dealing with large groups of cyclists.
- Bike hire options a-plenty.
- Easy and cheap flights from Europe and the UK.
WHERE TO RIDE IN MALLORCA?
Riding options in Mallorca are plentiful.
We have listed some of our favourite rides below (featured in the Après Vélo Tour of Mallorca) that will truly get you believing that Mallorca could in fact be the greatest cycling destination in the world.
CAP FORMENTOR LIGHTHOUSE
We think the Cap de Formentor lighthouse ride might indeed be Mallorca's finest.
This ride combines dreamy views, impressive engineering, and near perfect tarmac.
With alpine-esque hairpins overlooking a crystal blue Mediterranean Sea, beating against a shore of jagged limestone rock, it's no wonder that the road to Formentor has become an icon of European cycling. Island etiquette coupled with Après Vélo’s strict caffeine rules, dictates a stop at the lighthouse for a coffee to admire the spectacular views of the gigantic volcanic rocks overhanging the crystal clear ocean. This truly is a cycling and photographic haven.
A RURAL RIDE WITH A TWIST
This ride heads into rural Mallorca with quite narrow sweeping country roads reminiscent of those used in Grand Tours for Team Time Trial Events. Time to forget about the hectic pace of life and embrace the peace and serenity of the country. We cycle towards the heart of Mallorca's geographical centre, the small village of Sineu, before heading back via the Bonany climb. Don't let the average gradient of 5% fool you, this is a tough little climb. The last 2km are steep and your legs will be burning by the time you reach the hermitage. The views over the Mallorcan landscape, are worth the climb, though.
THE CLIMB OF A LIFETIME
Close your eyes and try to imagine the perfect cycling climb. What would it look like, and what would it contain?
It would be not too long but not too short; not too steep but not too shallow. It would have a nice steady gradient, but with a couple of ramps to keep you on your toes. Naturally, the scenery should be spectacular. Ideally, it would feature a cafe somewhere, serving good coffee. The weather should be warm and pleasant, the road surface smooth and predictable. Of course, it would have to have hairpins. Lots of hairpins. Maybe even a hairpin that loops round on itself as the road descends and goes under an bridge.
What you've just imagined actually exists!
It's called Sa Calobra, one of the main reasons why cyclists come to Mallorca. With 7% average gradient and 9.4km of climbing, its emblematic 26 hairpin bends, breathtaking views and spine-tingling descent, Sa Colabra has captured the hearts and memories of many cyclists.
THE VINEYARD RIDE
Head back into the country towards Manacor, en route to San Salvador, a staggeringly beautiful climb in eastern Mallorca.
The San Salvador climb stands out from the competition due to the incredible views over Mallorca it offers on the way up, as you traverse the narrow switchbacks. The enormous religious monuments that dominate the hillside are also highly memorable. It’s probably a bit steeper than many Mallorcan climbs with an average gradient at nearly 6%. Yet the climb is only 5 km long, so it’s hardly an Alpine beast.
Our ride concludes at one of Mallorcas finest biodynamic and organic bodegas in the heart of country Mallorca.
THE WEST COAST DREAM RIDE
We start our ride on the West Coast of Mallorca in the town of Port Andratx.
Enjoy the spectacular winding roads that hug the coast passing through Estellencs and Banyalbufar, as we head towards the monastery town of Valldemossa, one of the island's most eye-catching sights. We then cycle towards the famous scenic village of Deià, one of the prettiest villages on the island, with views out to the Mediterranean below. This ride concludes with an outdoor lunch at Ca's Patró March, famous not only for its food and scenery, but for its notoriety of having featured in the award winning TV series -The Night Manager. Bring your swimmers, as you won’t be able to resist the crystal clear ocean below the restaurant.
WANT MORE INSPIRATION?
ROSE Bikes visited the most popular training location among road cyclists – the island of Mallorca – and asked some interesting personalities about their favourite tracks and inside tips. We have shared with you their magical short film called CYCLESTORIES which captures the beauty of Mallorca, characterises the island’s authentic “faces” whilst wetting your appetite for cycling. We hope you enjoy and feel inspired to Live the Ride.
THAT ALL SOUNDS GREAT, BUT WHAT ABOUT NON RIDING PARTNERS?
We understand the difficulties often associated with cyclists embarking upon a tour but not knowing how best to accommodate their non riding partners in an equally inspiring way, especially when a cycling tour is often part of a longer holiday in Europe.
It's important to remember that Mallorca is not just about the bike.
Mallorca Is a gorgeous island, largely unspoilt, with beautiful scenery and caters for most people just yearning for a well earned holiday that is relaxing, yet inspires the senses.
APRÈS VÉLO ENCOURAGES AND WELCOMES NON RIDING PARTNERS TO ATTEND OUR CYCLING TOUR OF MALLORCA
Two things are for certain -
"I love Mallorca because this island has been created from the same energy as the love" - Dalai Lama.
Our objective with the APRÈS VÉLO Cycle Tour is to provide you with an unforgettable cycling experience where you truly Live the Ride, experience the dream, feel the energy and embrace the paradise of Mallorca.