You can travel anywhere in the world to ride your bike. With that being the case, why has the island of Mallorca captured the imagination of cyclists from all over the world?
Images by Andrew Chad
Three words, the ROADS, the FOOD and the CULTURE.
Mallorca, Spain is in the middle of the Balearic Ocean, just off the east coast of Spain. The largest island of the Balearic Island chain, Mallorca’s history goes back thousands of years. It’s said the first humans were living on the island around 2000 BC. Signs of Mallorca’s cultural heritage and long standing existence as a port island for travelers from around the world exist across the entire landscape. Within it’s 130-mile circumference, cyclists will find the adventure and/or training destination of a lifetime.
We partnered with the Cyclist Menu for an incredible trip to Mallorca, Spain. We provided the bike computers and they did everything else. Here is all the information you need to know to make your next cycling vacation one that takes you to Mallorca. This is not a how to get there guide but rather a guide on how to make the most of your time on the island, taking in the amazing riding, culture and the food that brings it all together. Whether you are planning a trip to Mallorca or not the guide below is sure to inspire you with amazing visuals and epic rides that can be done no where else.
When to go:
In the cycling industry, many would say that Team Sky introduced much of the world to the type of riding on the island. In many ways this is true, as the world pro cycling team has been training on Mallorca for many years. No crowds and few cars on the road, Team Sky heads to the island during the winter months. Don’t let the location fool you, as it can snow in the Serra De Trumantana during December and January. The tallest peak on the island, Puig Major, rises 4,741 feet and will attract weather from all directions. However, as the cooler months move into spring, warm air rolls down from the Pyrenees making for incredible weather during the months of April, May and early June. We’ve found the cycling is at it’s best the last week in April through the second week in June. This way you miss any major wet weather and leave before the European holiday season brings large groups of tourists.
What to eat:
We love to travel to Mallorca for the riding, however the food is some of the most unique in Europe. Mallorca is 100% Spanish yet they have their own way of doing things. You’ll experience similar dishes to the mainland, but Mallorcan’s have their own flare. Food production is widespread on the island as visible as you ride by farms growing potatoes, onions, garlic, artichokes, citrus trees and olive orchards. Small livestock like pigs and chickens are common with cows making an appearance in recent years. Seafood has a rich and vibrant cultural attachment, dishes like Paella and many tapas plates showcasing the beauty of the sea.
Each village or city typically has one or two market days per week commonly held in the town square. This is a tremendous opportunity to connect with locals to find out what food is in season, what cheese or meat merchant to buy from or simply share a café and discuss the weather. Access to farmers from the local area makes shopping really easy, affordable and incredibly fresh. At Road Camp guests have the opportunity to visit the market in Campanet twice to shop with Chef Zander Ault and engage with the seasons freshest ingredients.
Some of our favorite dishes inspired from the local food and culture:
1) Charred artichoke on the fire with harissa (a hot chili pepper paste), olive oil, sea salt and goat chevre.
2) Grilled chicken with parsley, garlic, olive oil and charred tomatoes
3) Pork Tenderloin, seared with a sweet and savory onion, date, nectarine and balsamic reduction served over rice with a soft egg and basil.
4) Octopus a la plancha with garlic, olive oil, herbs, charred bread and spicy greens
A favorite by all cyclists is Mallorca’s incredible café scene. It is not uncommon to ride 20 km’s, roll through a small town and stop at the local café for cortado. Cortado means “to cut” in Spanish, therefore, the drink consists of espresso with a little bit of steamed milk. This is a favorite of cyclists and sets the tone for an afternoon trek into the mountains or the rolling hills of Petra. Use the Take Me Anywhere feature on the ELEMNT to find a café on the ride.
Now for the good stuff, where to ride on Mallorca? The island has so much to offer for any level of rider, you can head in whichever direction you want to and have an incredible day. There are many roads, like anywhere, you don’t want to end up on, however the island is littered with small farm roads and ancient pathways that lead you to and from some of the most amazing destination spots you’ll experience from the seat of your bike. Depending on how many days you’re visiting, you will have the opportunity to see huge mountain vistas, open beaches, rolling hill country and drastic cliff landscapes. Mallorca is one place you want to get lost. Many towns are only 3 miles apart, so you don’t have to worry about running out of food or water.
The can’t miss rides are:
Sa Calobra– This is a must do ride. You have seen the images all over your Instagram feed so check it out for yourself and get that epic selfie. Hint: do this ride just as the sun is rising. You will not only get some amazing views but you will skip all of the cycling tourist and touring busses that engulf this road by 10am. If you take this advice you will have the road to yourself and isn’t that what we all want?
Cap De Formentor– Another legendary ride that has captured the imagination of cyclists for years. Youwill be hard pressed to find a better view on the island. Our suggestion is to put the lights on your bike and tackle this ride close to sunset. The sunset on the point is something that you will never forget and again, you will have the road to yourself on the way out.
The Coastal Route- This ride will leave you in awe of the landscape on this island, not to mention your legs will be screaming at you. At 115 miles and 14,000 feet of climbing it is best to start early and commit to being on the bike all day. Plan a stop in Deia as it has some tremendous cafes and is absolutely gorgeous. There is a great little market right in the heart of the town that has an amazing selection of pastries.
Whether you are planning a trip to Mallorca or dreaming of one there is no doubt that it is the place where cyclist go to train, explore, and play. It is truly a cyclist playground.
Based in Longmont, Colorado, The Cyclist’s Menu seeks to connect people to the food and land in beautiful places. We provide an adventure on the bike and in the kitchen unmatched in this industry. Whether on their road or mountain bikes, gravel grinder, a trail run or swimming in an alpine lake, Heidi and Zander celebrate the beauty of a healthy and active lifestyle with their clients. Always in search of the next best mountain pass, hidden trail, farmers market, craft brewery or late night bon fire; the kind of passion these two exude is infectious and will change your perspective on cycling, seasonal foods and community. Heidi and Zander invite you to be a member of their family. To sit down at their table and enjoy the company of peers, following the ride of a lifetime.