When you hear about biking on Mallorca, the focus is understandably on road biking. The quality of the road surface and the differing terrain is what attracts the local population and the tourists to the sport. Over the last couple of months, I have been creating a corporate event for 30 cyclists. The brief was to find somewhere that we can do 6 hours of mountain biking over a mixed terrain. It needed to be challenging, but not too technical. This is not something that we can do in our usual manor… the south west of the island… Here the mountain bike terrain is generally rocky, stony, steep and very technical. It´s hard work.
After a huge amount of research and failed rides, I headed up to Cala Millor and then the national park of Arta. Here there is more of a mixture of the trails. The steep climbs are generally followed by more rideable and less challenging descents. Another advantage of mountain biking on this part of the island is you travel further on the bike and get to see different spots that you would otherwise never see. You’ll see secluded beaches and bays, hilltops, with stunning views, sheep and goats in natural reserves, colourful flowers & fields, and turtles on stony single tracks.
To create the 70km route, I have managed to link a number of sections… This route gives you everything. And the final run at the weekend was undoubtedly one of the best rides I have had on the islands. It has been hard work, but I am very please to have discovered mountain biking in Mallorca. The key areas of interest are as follows…
The Via Verde is a smooth, wide shingle bike track that has no cars and plenty of picnic spots along the way. Stretched almost 30km, it follows an ancient railway line between Manacor and Artà. The line was in service between 1921 and 1977. I believe there were plans to reintroduce a service, but, for whatever reason, at the last minute they decided a bike path was the way to go – lucky us! I have been up there with our family on many occasions and the kids just love it… We tend to take a picnic and stop in the designated picnic spots… It is a safe environment and somewhere even my cycling mate Steve B is unlikely to get into any trouble. You can rent a bike from from either Manacor or Artà http://www.bicisverdes.com or just take you own wheels.
Is a virgin beach, no parasols or sun loungers. It ´s perfect for those who prefer more natural surroundings for their day on the beach. It is also where you’ll find Dolores and Manolo’s beach bar – well known for its delicious fresh seafood lunches. It’s nothing more than a wooden hut with a small decked area at the front and long tables and benches alongside, where you kick off your flip-flops and bury your toes in the cool sand. You can’t book until you arrive, so when you pitch up, be sure to can add your name to the list.
The magnificent Mesquida bay lies six kilometres to the north of Cala Rajada and its open views make it one of the most beautiful in the north-east of the island. It has various facilities for beach visitors. The fine white sands make it great for relaxing or walking, and this is one of the few beaches where surfers can often catch a wave.
It strikes me that if you were touring Mallorca by boat, Cala Molto would be a spot to include on your itinerary. Here you will get the best of golden sands and craggy shoreline rocks plus inviting turquoise waters. There was not a single floater in the sea when we stopped, but you could imagine it would be a different story for the other 6 months of the year.
This fishing port is surrounded by fine white sand beaches and pretty coves, and has two different characters depending on when you go. In winter it virtually shuts down, apart from a few permanent locals and a handful of bars on the promenade. In summer it is a crowded resort, with windsurfing, snor kelling and numerous discos… This time of year it is fab!
We started near Cala Bona and after heading south along the bike path along the beach in Cala Millor, we circled Punta de n ´Amer and then north onto the Via Verde. It was 5km along on the VV before we darted and along some very narrow single track trails through gates and beautiful lush fields to Arta. We tackled the centre of the town, before we rode a steep section of tarmac for about 2km (much slower on our heavier mountain bikes)… The route then took us off road into a wonderful valley before passing 3 stunning beaches Cala Torta, Cala Mesquida and Cala Molto. This is the big difference in riding up in the national park behind Arta – the views are stunning, wild in a different way… you could be anywhere in the world and it is on our doorstep. We lunched in Cala Rajada a beautiful fishing port in east Mallorca.… From lunch we were on and off road before finally reuniting ourselves with the Via Verde and a solid headwind!
Distance – 70km
Vertical metres – 950m
5-28th Giro d’Italia
14-20th Tour of California