Five reasons why Mallorca is a cyclist’s paradise
the spectacular scenery
the 300 days of sun
the varied quiet roads
if it’s good enough for the pros…
it’s the only place you can stay with Cycle Mallorca!
1 The scenery
For a small island, Mallorca is really diverse in the countryside it has to offer: there are rolling low hills, a pan-flat plain, and a mountain range of perfect proportions (high enough to excite the adventurous, not so high as to be closed to snow). These elements are mixed beautifully in one island: there’s enough of each so that you can have a day on the plain, or a day purely in the mountains, and so on; but they are also arranged close together so that you can mix all three in one day’s riding everyday. Because Mallorca is a tourist island, all the busiest built-up areas are on the coast. The whole of the central (non-coastal) part of the island is rural unspoilt Mallorca—a network of country roads joining old villages and towns (and a city or two) that escaped war-time destruction and so keep the feel they have had for centuries—each centered on a church and a square blessed with cafes (perfect for coffer-stops or lunch stops for a menu del dia).
2 The weather
The weather is for many the main reason why Mallorca is such a great place to cycle: it has 300 days of sunshine a year! This table is from the Spanish equivalent of the UK’s Met Office; notice how January’s average daily high and daily low are 15.2°C and 8.3°C respectively (2nd and 3rd columns); for the UK the Jan high is 6.9°C on average and the low 1.3°C. That is a 7 degree difference! You’re not going to sunbath in Mallorca in January, but this difference makes all the difference in terms of being able to ride comfortably (with absolutely no risk of icy roads, of course). The weather changes the whole feel of the island: step off the plane and you feel the warmer air hit you, and you also notice a herby, fragrant smell that reminds you that things grow in Mallorca in winter—trees, plants and life don’t shut down and hibernate the way they do in the north.
3 The roads
Many places have the weather and countryside to match Mallorca, but few offer the roads to match; I have lived briefly in South Africa, and there were four roads out of town: N, S, E and W: going for a ride meant heading for 2 hours on one of the four roads without passing a single turn, turning round and coming back for 2 hours! Mallorca is criss-crossed with great roads,and they are as diverse as the countryside: straight on the plain, winding on the rolling countryside, and proper Alpine-style hair-pinned in the mountains. The local government value the contribution visiting cyclists make to the economy, so they have invested well in keeping the surfaces smooth and repaired. And they have not been shy of road-building—two new motorways fan out from Palma—these motorways and the road-building in general mean that by English standards, the road provision seems over the top: too many too big roads with not enough traffic to fill them (one of Cycle Mallorca’s founders’ parents live in the centre of the island; the other’s parents live in Surrey; the contrast could not be more stark!). What could be better for the cyclist: when in Mallorca, one has to switch off the habit of looking at a road at a junction and thinking “I won’t take that way—the road’s too big; it’ll be busy”; in Mallorca, you can take a road that by its size looks like an A-road, and encounter only the traffic of a much smaller lane.
4 Mallorca is where the pros come for winter
Is Mallorca a cyclists’ paradise because the pros come? Or do the pros come because it’s a cyclists’ paradise? Probably the latter: they want good weather, quiet roads and a variety of ride-options just like you. But their being there does make Mallorca a better place for you to be too: you get to ride the very roads they’re riding (jan and feb are good months for getting overtaken by a group of pro riders, by march their racing season is underway). Even if you don’t see them on your rides, you can compare yourself against the pros: here’s the Strava leaderboard for the Col de sa Batalla (which starts just 6km from our Campanet villa). You could get an attempt in on this record every day before breakfast! In feb you can watch the pros race at the four days of the Trofeo Mallorca; last year Wiggins, Cunego, Gesink, Rodriguez, Pozzato, Dowsett and Rui Costa were among the racers (we still have vacancies during the 2014 race, get in touch, and we can get you riding to the race route).
5 Mallorca is the only place where you can stay with Cycle Mallorca
I know, that’s not very modest! We think Mallorca is the best place for cycling, and so Mallorca is where we operate. We aren’t a generic cycle-holiday company that comes to Mallorca for a couple of weeks a year: Mallorca is where our expertise lies, and so Mallorca is where we focus all our effort. Our philosophy is to put the variety and quality of your riding first in our priorities. The main result of this philosophy shows in how we provide your accommodation: we have devoted much serious thought to picking the best locations to stay for cycling, and then we work to provide relaxing accommodation and great food in those locations. Cycling in Mallorca is growing all the time with many riders coming back again and again—return with Cycle Mallorca and you could be in a different villa every year, with different routes and feel.
We make sure that those sides of Mallorca that might not be quite perfect for your your cycling are perfected: for example, though the roads are numerous on the island, there are few roads over the mountains, so we pick our villas super-carefully so that even with only a few mountain roads, you can have variety in your riding even if you wanted to be climbing every day for a week. Another example: the flatter parts of Mallorca present an almost bewilderingly rich choice of roads; but we’ve done the route-finding for you, to find you the best roads through the maze of lanes that fill the centre of the island.
These five reasons combine to make Mallorca paradise on a bicycle: other places might be better in one respect (the Canary Islands are warmer by 1.5° in winter), but if they lack in other respects (the Canary Islands aren’t criss-crossed with small roads, or peppered with village-square cafes), then they lack the complete package that Mallorca gives you.