October 2016 (written on January 28, 2017.)
It’s been a cold, wet, windy week in Dungarvan and therefore perfect to do my long-promised review of cycling in Mallorca last October (2016).
Marion and I flew to Palma on October 12th, and the one hour bus journey from the airport to Port de Pollenca at the northern end of the island was the beginning of some firm friendships.
Once we had settled in to the hotel, our next task was to collect our bikes and within ten minutes we were ready for road. As it was 4pm, we decided to simply cycle around town to be sure the bikes were right. We stopped for coffee and an opportunity to watch the world go by, seated outside in sunshine and shorts. Indeed, the little town seemed to operate at a slow pace too. Siesta was just over, and the locals were coming back to life.
Later, we attended a briefing for the 25 new arrivals, at which all was explained and queries were answered.
The evening meal was buffet service, and there certainly was no reason whatsoever for anyone to go hungry!
Day 1: As with dinner last night, breakfast was buffet service. Cyclists need to be fuelled up for the journey. Marion and I decided to cycle together with the easy group. This turned out to be a very social group, and we pedalled along through beautiful flat landscape while chatting with so many interesting people. The group stopped for coffee and cake in Muro, before returning to base for a mid-afternoon swim.
Day 2: to Santa Maria and back with a faster group @29kph approx. A great spin, fairly nippy. I dropped my bottle early on and was relieved that nobody came down trying to avoid it. Later, we stopped at a bike shop in Binnisalem. Guess what I bought?
Day 3: Binnisalem again, this time with Marion’s group. After 30k I had a gear cable malfunction and was unable to use the big ring. No matter, because the route was so flat, and the cycling was easy. We intended doing Selva Gorge after coffee, but the leaders decided against it because of the weather. They were right, as light rain turned very nasty on the return home.
Day 4: Marion took a day off, while I went with Tony, Sean and Siobhan on a short spin to the lighthouse at Formentor, stopping at a beautiful beach on the way to get a glimpse of Catherine Zeta-Jones’s house. Unknown to the others, it wasn’t the house I was really looking for. Later, at the lighthouse, the goat was incorrigible! Advice for visitors: the café at the lighthouse is really expensive.
This spin was very short and we were back before midday, so Marion and I went off-bike visit to the old town of Pollenca for the afternoon.
Day 5: full day in Alcudia, just doing the tourist stuff.
Day 6: The long-awaited highlight of the week was the Sa Collabra route, a 100k round trip including the famous descent to the little port followed by the 8k climb back up. It was very manageable, and nowhere was there any section as steep as some of our Waterford climbs.
Day 7: Return journey to Ireland. We were so glad that we did not have any late drinks with our friends last night. That really would not have been a good way to finish our first cycling holiday together.
Happy cycling, and stay safe out there,
About: – Páraig is the author of BurkesBiking. He has several international cycling events behind him, but Mallorca is extra special because it’s the first time his wife Marion has joined him. Very likely there will be repeats.
Paraig also has a gardening blog at Petals by Paraig.