There are many fantastic places within a short flight where you can go to cycle your bike, and for many cyclists Mallorca is near the top of that list, especially during spring and autumn times. With an abundance of quiet winding lanes and some iconic climbs, where the surface is as smooth as a billiard table it is easy to see the attraction. I have been there a number of times but recently I travelled over to the Island for another week in cycling paradise. This is a flavour of what I found.
The cool chill of Autumn had just delivered its initial signs of intent as Dublin airport loomed on the horizon. An evening flight saw jackets being stuffed into hand luggage once Airport security had been traversed. Within a little over two hours we landed in Palma airport where a warm evening breeze welcomed us along with the Mercedes Vito sent to collect us by Flora from SportActive. Just 45 minutes later we arrived at the 4 star Viva Tropic hotel in Port Alcudia. It was after 11pm but Flora was there to greet our arrival and even at that hour there was food available for us in the hotel restaurant.
Next morning it was out to the SportActive bike Garage to get set up and organised on the bikes. Head Mechanic Stephen Burns, a well known face in the cavalcade on the domestic racing scene was there to get everyone set up as quickly and professionally as possible. Martin Birney, Mr. SportActive himself, was there too to greet everyone and to give a very thorough induction ensuring that everyone would have a safe and enjoyable time cycling in Mallorca.
At 10am it was time to set off with our guide for the week. Derek Patterson welcomed everyone and led the way. Throughout the week we all got to know Derek and he was everything that you could ask for in a cycling guide, friendly, relaxed, very knowledgable about cycling and the area and a nice guy to be around.
Flora, Martin and Alphonso led the other groups and of course Sean Kelly was there too mixing with everyone and riding with a different group each day. I spend a lot of time cycling with Sean at home and he often speaks of how much he enjoys Mallorca and how perfect a place it is to ride your bike. It was easy to see why he likes the place so much.
Most of my companions in Dereks’ group were from Jones Engineering, the largest Engineering Maintenance service company in Ireland. It is often remarked that Cycling is the new golf and it is easy to see why it has become so popular with corporate groups. Out on the road you get to meet everyone in your group and have a chat. There is a good humoured competitive element and there are the stats. Nowadays most executives deal with numbers and figures to see just how their business is doing and out on the bike they still want to see numbers. Everyone has a Garmin, and Strava is often the talk of the dinner table. I already knew many of the Jones Engineering group, as Sean and I supply their ONDA custom cycling clothing but out on the bike you really get to know people. By the end of the week I felt that I had a new circle of friends as opposed to business associates. Perhaps, not all corporates would have the exact same outlook, but there is a great atmosphere within the Jones Engineering Company.
There was also a group out from Crumlin Childrens hospital who were on a fundraising trip. They came from all corners of Ireland and some have been fundraising for the charity for many years. Cycling is a great way to help others whilst also doing something that you enjoy.
Individuals and families also make the trip over to Mallorca with SportActive. One day I was riding beside 17 year old Josh from Scotland who has been coming over with his parents since he was 8 years old. He spoke of an inspiring memory from that first visit when he raced around a car park against Kelly. There was no turning back after that and Josh along with his Mam and Dad have been out every year since.
Galway was also well represented with Ronnie Greaney of The Dew Drop Inn and Liam Walsh flying the flag in great style. They even rounded out a podium with Sean one day.
Everyday began with a nice 25k or so to the first coffee stop where incredibly, even though each Sport Active group set off at slightly different times and speeds they would all meet up. Sitting outside in a village square sipping a cafe con leche with the sun shining down as you had a relaxed chat with your fellow cyclists is not a bad way to spend your mid morning coffee break.
Then it would be back on the road with the group now well warmed up and ready to take on a challenge. Some days it might be a trip out to the lighthouse on Cap Formentor and others it might be a climb up to the monastery at Lluc. There are also days when Sa Calobra or Puig major are tackled depending upon which group you are with. There really is something for everyone, if you just want flat easy spins, you have them, if you want to be really challenged, you will have that too.
Most days temperatures varied from 24 to 30 degrees. Not bad at a time when frost was just beginning to form on the windscreens back home. We had one wet day when some warm water dropped down on us from the sky. It was still much nicer than the cold rain at home.
If you want a great place to ride your bike and meet likeminded people in a relaxed and friendly environment, then Mallorca is definitely the place to go.