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Cycle in Mallorca & Forget The Freeze

With parts of the UK currently experiencing every season in one day (except Summer! [FFS!]) you may have spent the last week or so trying to decide whether it'll be warmer riding outside or setting up a turbo trainer in your fridge!

With British thermometers struggling to get out of the blue, the lure of planning a cycling holiday abroad may be steadily creeping up your 'To Do' list.

If you want to be almost guaranteed decent riding weather, not to mention take your cycling tan marks to the next level, then you absolutely must head to this iconic Balearic island. After all, if it’s good enough for the pros, then it’s good enough for us mere moobed mortals.

Now that travelling outside your immediate postcode is more than just a cycling fantasy and a do-able reality, you might want to take your road bike legs to pastures new beyond the confines of the UK.

I’ve cycled in a number of European countries but this winter I finally made it to Mallorca, the island that I am convinced was created primarily as a training ground for cyclists. The super smooth roads, the climbs, the hotels, the weather, the bike hire shops – it’s an absolute paradise for roadies.

Bradley Wiggins, who trained for the 2012 Tour de France on the 26 hairpin climb that is Sa Collobra, called it the “Scalextric set for cyclists”. And god-damn! Was he on to something.

I’d been before with my two kids back in the late 90s and experienced it from the restricted comfort from a hired Vauxhall Corsa, but this time I was doing what thousands of cyclists do every year and went for a late winter break to get in some winter miles and some early spring time smiles.

Mallorca’s reputation as a package holiday resort is a double-edged sword. In the summer the place is heaving with families catching two weeks of blistering heat. So the smart move is to steer well clear. Plus cycling in temperatures in the mid to high 30s is no fun. But by the end of September /early October and in the winter, all those package holiday resorts are under-occupied so they’re desperate to up their occupancy rates, and willing to do some heavy discounting. More-so the deeper into winter you get. Plus, the weather is warm enough to go cycling in shorts and a jersey, but not stupidly hot that you feel you’re going to die from heatstroke.

Our group mapped out our game plan last October and made early bird bookings for February half-term 2022. Book early and the discounts are incredible.

We stayed at The Hotel VIVA Blue & SPA in Playa de Muro (, a 4 star resort hotel in Alcudia that treats bikes with the same level of reverence as its guests.

Not only does it have a fully lit basement storage centre, with fully secure lockable racks, but it has an on-site bike shop and showering facilities to clean your bikes. Yes, I kid you not. Your bike gets a shower before you do. This is a hotel where the cycling pros stay, so it takes looking after cyclists seriously.

Why take your road bike when you can hire it?

With travel, at the time we made our trip, still a laboured process with various Covid regulations such as passenger location forms (what an utter ball-ache), we made life simple and decided to hire bikes instead. It proved to be a smart move as it meant we could breeze through the airport and get cracking, without reassembling bikes and worrying about damage.

There are loads of bike hire centres in the popular resorts of Alcudia and Pollenca (all over the island in fact) and you can do all this before you leave the UK. Personally, when I return next year, I’m going to hire a bike again. We went for broke and chose some stunning carbon framed Swiss-made BMC with Di2 gearing for around £125 for 5 days. Worth every penny. And you really can choose whatever your cycling heart desires. Oh no, sir. This isn't bargain basement bicycles. Specialized, Canyon, Giant, Pinerello, Cervello and more - there all there. And all easily discoverable with a simple Google search.

Head to the hills or weave your way through villages and towns

One of Mallorca’s many attractions is that there’s cycling to suit every level. So, if you’re not quite ready for the 26 twist Sa Collobra, you can map out routes that take you through gently undulating countryside.

Plan routes away from the main roads and you’ll find yourself on un-testing terrain that takes you open landscape with big skies, charming towns and villages, vineyards (yes, even those) and open farmland. If that’s all you want then Mallorca offers it in spades.

But you want the mountains too, right?. Of course you do. A lot of these are all lined up on the north west coast of the island and there’s too many to mention in this blog, but one of the most iconic climbs is surely the one that takes you out to the lighthouse at Cap Formentor in the very north of the island.

If you’re looking for one decent climb for your first visit, put this one on your list. With gradients of around 5-7%, it’s not beyond the boundaries of MAMILs with modest experience, although the descent on the way back requires 100% attention, decent disc brakes and healthy reverence for heights. Just keep looking ahead not down. I’m a very nervous descender but had every confidence in my bike, and my previous experience. Thankfully, there were no crosswinds.

Another cracker to add to the list is to head out to Coll de sa Batalla, an awesome but manageable climb via a series of hair pins with a brief respite near the summit before a final push for the top. It’s a climb that gives you the chance to retain a good cadence with the added bonus of giving you shady protection from the heat as you ascend amongst the trees. The long sweeping descent into Pollenca is less technical than the return from Cap Formentor, with the chance to stop and take in the views.

For hard-core cyclists, there’s one big reason to head to Mallorca and that’s to tackle the Mallorca 312 Sportive, Europe’s longest amateur sportive, held on closed roads, with a 312km route, as well as 225km and 167km options too. You can also swap distances mid ride if you’ve bitten off more than you can chew, or want to add more suffering to your modest 167km. Our hotel was clearly sponsors of this event at one point!

Whatever you do, deffo put Mallorca on your cycling bucket list. Wiggo was right, it’s just like a Scalextric set laid out in a sun lounge, and the volumes of cyclists and training pelotons that you’ll encounter are proof that this is an island that totally gets what cycling is about and what cyclists need.

Travel details: We stayed at the Viva Blue & Spa, travelling with Jet2Holidays from Manchester to Palma. Price £350 including flights, transfers, full board. Bike hire extra. Holiday was booked in October 2021. Weather during the last week of February was 17-19 Deg C, with no rain. Arguably a very good week, even by Mallorca standards.

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