Focus on: Majorca
There’s no getting away from it – Majorca is the number one holiday destination for cyclists, and has been for several years. Tens of thousands of cyclists, from amateur to professional, descend upon the Balearic island each year – but why?
Simply, Majorca has it all. For Brits, it’s a short and affordable flight, and the weather is good all year round. The island had a perfect mix of rides, included the most challenging mountain ascents, and flat, smooth, coastal surfaces.
The year-round pleasant climate and variety of rides means many cyclists come out off-season, for training camps and conditioning classes in the winter and early spring. There are few climbs that are too punishing, particularly for the beginner, unlike many of the rides and much of the terrain in other popular destinations such as Tenerife and La Canaria.
Most cyclists base themselves in the northeast of the island, particularly around Playa de Muro. Here, there’s easy access to the Serra de Tramuntana range of mountains (including the popular ride to Cap de Formentor) and the flatter routes south of Sa Pobla towards Sant Llorenç des Cardassar.
With an estimated 150,000 cyclo-tourists hitting the island each year, there are hundreds of hotels geared up for bikes. From secure bike storage facilities through to bike-washing facilities, on-site mechanics and in-house shops stocking branded kit, tools, inner tubes and whatever else the cyclist abroad needs, the new-found tourism niche has been catered for by the local hotels.
These pieces of attention to detail add to the experience, but it’s the roads that really attract the thousands of riders. The road from Port de Pollença to Cap de Formentor is one of the most unique mountain rides in Europe – to cycle up the colossal 9.9km climb riders must first descend towards the small fishing village of Sa Calobra, before turning around and dragging yourself all the way back up again.
Despite this gruelling requirement, the climb has become a mecca for cyclists, including Sir Bradley Wiggins who trained there ahead of his 2012 Tour de France success. Ultimately, it’s this mixture of rides for both the elite athlete and the beginner, weekend cyclist, that are behind the flourishing popularity of Majorca.