Mallorca - May 2023 - HIBC
May 2023 saw Geoff, Mike, Will and Dan spend a week cycling in Mallorca. Why Mallorca? Well apart from the obvious (the weather), the island has fantastic scenery, a mix of mountainous and flat cycling, and miles of smooth tarmac.
We stayed in Puerta Pollensa at the Hotel Eolo. It was well set up for cyclists with a small bike storage room, a decent set of tools and a track pump. Renting a villa or flat is another option. There are pros (hotel breakfasts are better and there is no washing up to do) and cons (villas can have a bit more space, have washing machines, and can be quieter).
We rented bikes. This saves the hassle of taking your own bike out, and you can take the opportunity to try something different or treat yourself to an upgrade for the holiday! There are lots of bike rental shops and plenty of choice; do book well in advance particularly for the end of April and early May.
Our hire bikes at the Santuari di Monti-Sion.
You send the hire company your bike dimensions so they set the bike up for you, and you can take your own pedals and saddle. The bike may come with brakes configured ‘continental’ style with the rear brake on the right-hand lever. Don’t be alarmed, we all adjusted very quickly.
Renting isn’t for everyone – some like to take the bike they’re used to. You just need a box to put it in for the journey.
There is something for everyone in Majorca. We did a mix of flat-ish cycling and days in the mountains, all on-road. It is worth doing a bit of planning. The small back roads give you a real flavour of the island so navigation tech is strongly advised so you don’t have to keep stopping to check your route.
Our first ride – to the lighthouse!
On the flat
The South and South East of the island is fairly flat, punctuated by isolated peaks with a short, sharp climb (200-500m) to the summit. These usually have a monastery, chapel or café on the top, and sometimes all three!
The summit of Bonany. Just a chapel at the top of this one.
The North of the island is more mountainous, with the Tramuntana mountain range stretching across the length of the island. There is no shortage of climbs here.
Our first climb – Coll de Femenia.
Puig Major is the longest (14km, 830m ascent), Sa Calobra the most spectacular (10km, 670m ascent), and I particularly enjoyed Soller (5km, 260m ascent) which has great views and is virtually traffic free.
Hair pins on the Col de Soller.
There are countless ‘smaller’ climbs along the coast road all the way from Andratx in the West to Lluc in the East. The roads are beautifully engineered and are typically graded at 5% to 7%. One of our party big-ringed up every climb…no prizes for guessing who.
Summit of the Puig Major
We cycled about 110km a day (our longest ride was 137km) and we had plenty of coffee and lunch stops. We also used the trains….they run from Sa Pobla to Palma and from Manacor to Palma every 40 minutes. I’m not sure why more cyclists don’t use them….is it regarded as cheating? Certainly it enabled us to see more of the island. Although the trains run until about 10pm, the service reduces to hourly after 6pm. We were caught out by this, and rather than a long wait opted for a 30km ride back from Inca to Puerta Pollensa.
Mike on a Mallorcan train with bikes.
More practical stuff
We flew (Easyjet from Luton) and had a taxi transfer from Palma airport to the hotel. A train to Barcelona (10 hours from London with one change in Paris) plus an over-night ferry to Alcudia (another cycling centre, 10km from Puerta Pollensa) could be an option if you have the time. We ate out and kept track of the finances with the Tricount app.
Overall we had an excellent time…..great weather (20-25C), with virtually no rain. Summer cycling kit with a light rain jacket just in case was all that was needed. Wearing your HIBC club kit is recommended — a great conversation-starter with other cyclists.
We’d like to thank Gwyneth Horscroft for help with our travel, hotel booking and route advice. And also David Wilkin, Darren Gallagher and Craig Padley who gave Dan loads of practical advice and route suggestions when he was last cycling in Mallorca in 2019. Geoff, Mike, Will and Dan are all happy to repay this favour and answer any questions if you’re planning a trip out there. There is no doubt the club will be back in Mallorca soon.