The Quintessential Serra de Tramuntana – in a word – epic. This is one of the quintessential rides of Mallorca and by far, my favourite! Cycling Mallorca – what a rush.
The views as your ride the backbone of the island are nothing short of extraordinary. The ride itself is only 60 kms each way as you pedal from Andratx to Soller, but there is nary a flat stretch of road. The first time I took Peter on this ride, he scoffed that the distance was too short – by the end of the day, he understood – this is a ride that capitalizes on the entire day and should be capitalized on all day long!
With cars parked at the Polisporteu in Andraxt, we climbed out of town, stopping only to pick up dried fruit at the local market. Once on the north side of town there was only one way to go, and that was up. Everyone climbed at their own pace, the road recently paved, it was pure bliss on a bike – welcome to the northwest coastline, unforgiving in climbing, magnificent in descending – the cliffs and sea views nothing short of spectacular.
One by one we rolled along, meeting at lookout points along the way. Plenty of great places to stop for coffee, not that we did – we rode the rollers all the way to Soller, passing through the scenic towns of Estellencs, Valldemossa and Deia. Cycling Mallorca – definitely road bike nirvana.
Every year I think to myself that I will stop at a coffee shop in one of these towns, especially Deia – a cluster of stone buildings, terraced orchards and spectacular scenery. Each of these towns is idyllic for kicking back and watching the world go by – and the world really does go by – cyclists and hikers from all over the world converge in this region. This year, our group did stop in Deia – a flat tire for one of our riders and a meeting of pavement for another. A quick trip to the pharmacy in town and with broken spanish and pointing, bandages and iodine were quickly produced. I am sure there are many who go down on the tight turns and fast descents – the pharmacist must be well versed in patching up cyclists. With little more than surface abrasions, we were on our way – lunch in Soller was well over due!
Soller is a sunny town, literally sitting in the bowl of the mountain ranges. It is daunting to look around at the magnitude of the mountains, and the realization that after lunch, we would have to climb back up and ride over those peaks to get back to Andraxt. Dominated by the Esglesia de Sant Bartomeu (built 1688 – 1723), the town centre was buzzing with life when we arrived – cyclists and tourists everywhere. We were quick to find tables and order lunch – it would be another 3 hours of cycling to cover the mountainous terrain back to the cars.
Of all the rides I have done in Mallorca, this by far is my favourite. It is a day of sheer pleasure – every corner another view so incredible, it is hard to believe! The terrain is unforgiving as every magnificent downhill means more roads to climb – but it is more than worth the effort. All up, the 120 kms took me just over 6 hours of riding time. I have yet to stop at a coffee shop along the way – perhaps next year. It is just such a great ride – it is hard to stop as the wheels fly down the hills, through the towns, and then grind out the revolutions on the way to the next summit. If you love the open road – this ride is for you! This is the quintessential ride over the Serra de Tramuntana – one of the reason Mallorca is so great for cycling.