We implement sophisticated Formula 1 technologies to improve our bikes’ performance and observe nature, architecture and aircrafts to find inspiration– it’s only when we go on a cycling holiday that we start thinking in strict cycling-terms. Why is this? After all, the millions of people that go on ski holidays come up with some pretty cool ideas and it might just be time to take these ideas and apply them to the mild, sunny 18°C Mallorcan winter.
At this altitude the trees have thinned out, the air feels just that little bit crisper. There’s a giddiness amongst your rabble of mates. You steady yourself, watching those ahead of you zig-zag their way down the mountain. Feet both clipped in and you’re off. There’s a caffeine hit waiting at the bottom. This is how you do a cycling holiday.
There’s something about mountains, a certain kind of spirit emanates from them that is so invigorating whether you’re descending them on skis or two wheels. Like a refreshing kick from daily life, they charge the soul and rejuvenate you with endorphins.
It recently became apparent to us that people invest so much time when selecting accommodation for a ski holiday so why don’t we try the same approach for a cycling holiday? To almost paraphrase an infamous cyclist, it’s not all about the bike. So, while choosing the Mallorcan spot for our group test earlier last year we decided to go off the beaten track and rent a villa, complete with a pool and ultra-luxe comfort. As we said, if we’re trying to imitate a ski holiday, we reasoned, many of the fun parts could be dubbed the ‘apres-bike,’ so those luxury surroundings in which to recline were clearly par for the course.
Waking up in the morning for a joint breakfast while bracing one another for what the day is going to serve up felt harmonious in our own space. Mealtime banter provided some of the best courses of the day, and it was nice not to be surrounded by a buffet table queue.
As with skiing, having a mixed ability bunch doesn’t need to be a problem: some might take a rest day or a tourist day at times, while faster riders might willingly set a slower pace on recovery rides. It works out – providing that everyone understands how calm means calm, not the opportunity to ego boost at the expense of slower riders.
Having a pool or close vicinity to a beach isn’t a necessity but it allows options for those wanting some time out of the saddle. What is great to know is that no matter what is on the agenda, at the end of the day heading home to hang out together is fun. Cooking together and sharing stories of the day over a bottle of local wine is what it’s all about.
You make your own rules. From choosing your perfect holiday-home to planning your day – so why not do the same for your next bike-tour?
As T.S. Elliot once said: “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” Trust us; exploration is enriching. Try putting Google Maps away for a while and following your nose. Not only can it be fun, but you might be lucky enough to stumble across gems like the mountain top restaurant “Es Verger“ in Alaró, which welcomed us with a local aperitif and treated us with a delicious roast lamb.
An antidote to the turmoil of the world, investing in time away with friends is life-enriching. One bonus to riding holidays with mates is you’re less dependent on snowfall or out-of-school holiday prices. But the similarities are there too, visible in shared adventures, feasts, relaxing and collapsing at the end of the day laughing with one another in a great location … So think as much about your base and the company as you do about your routes. This is how a cycling holiday should be done.
Words: Hannah Troop Photos: Julian Mittelstaedt