There’s no doubt that Mallorca is the holiday destination for avid cyclists of all nationalities right now. So what is the reason why tens of thousands of cyclists flock to Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands each year?
Mallorca has all the ingredients to tantalise cyclists of all categories, good weather, long flat rides, mountain climbs and twisting descents. The Serra de Tramuntana range of mountains runs from Cap Formentor to Andratx and hosts a plethora of climbs of different grades and lengths, while the center and south of the island offers quiet lanes and rolling picturesque roads. With an average temperature of sixteen degrees Celsius and nine and half hours of sunlight a day, Mallorca is an ideal training ground and has been popular with professional cycling teams for early season training for years.
The most unique cycling roads in Europe
Two cycling routes stand out as the most popular within the Serra de Tramuntana, Sa Calobra or Coll dels Reis and the road to Cap de Formentor. Both of which were designed in the 1930s by Italian engineer Antonio Parietti and are some of the most unique roads in Europe. “Strava” the training log/social media site has had 71,017 attempts by 46,122 people cycling up Coll dels Reis and 61,977 attempts by 41,423 people to Cap Formentor since the website incarnation, making them some of the most popular cycling routes in the World.
Over the years and in particular since Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012 the infrastructure is established for cyclists and has boomed. Team Sky the British Professional Cycling Team that Sir Wiggins rode for prepares its riders for the racing season on the island and still does. All over the island there are bike rental businesses, hotels catering for cyclists, and a range of companies offering cycling training camps, holidays and bespoke trips.
Bike rental companies here on the island offer some of the best bikes available and a service to match the quality. Bimont, Rad international and Bikehead offer bikes a pro tour rider would be happy with, each meticulously serviced and maintained after each outing. Hotels such as Viva Blue Hotel & Spa, Sporthotel Villaconcha and Occidental Playa de Palma offer secured bike storage, servicing, bike wash facilities and buffet menus to ensure the healthy appetite is replenished with wholesome foods. Companies offer package deals with structured guided routes to the bespoke high end cycling holidays for private and corporate customers. Cycling is the new golf!
Bespoke cycling holidays
Stephen Roche, the last professional cyclist to win the Tour de France, the Giro and the World Championships in the same year owns a cycling holiday package business based in Palmanova which offers the more traditional training camp type holiday. Mills and Honey offers custom cycling holidays with an emphasis on local culture and mixing in local wines and gastronomy. Marsh Mallows offer bespoke cycling trips for small groups to large corporate events and will organise relaxing spa days for a spouse who’s less keen on tearing up mountain passes.
With an industry that is worth around €150 million according to a recent European Union-funded study, Mallorca is attracting some of the biggest brands in the industry. The recently opened Rapha Club House and store in Placa del Rosari in the heart of Palma offers the brands exclusive cycling wear and barista style coffee.
The Mallorca 312 sportive held at the end of April and the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon held in May are well established, well organised and attract competitors from around the world. These are just two of many triathlons, bike races and sportives held on the island.
This accumulation of Mallorca’s topography, weather, infrastructure and events makes it a highly desirable place for a cyclist to visit and is why Mallorca is a mecca for cyclists and long may it be so.
Written by Jon Sowerby (Bicimetrics)