Everybody knows the environmental benefits of cycling over driving. But it’s also a great way to discover landscapes and culture when you’re travelling. Last week, Lawfully Chic’s Lucy Fry strapped her helmet to her hand luggage and went off for a couple of days’ cycling with the team at Stephen Roche Holidays in the Mallorcan region of Calvia.
An ex-Triple Crown winner (1987), Roche established his company more than 15 years ago, but his aim of “putting bums in saddles” remains the same: “It doesn’t matter about your shape or size or level of fitness,” says Roche. “Once you do a little bit of cycling and develop some knowledge about changing gears, we can find a place for you here. We usually have four to five groups, and one will be a slow group – though you can switch groups whenever you want – and we have the support car always nearby.”
There are flat rides and there are hilly rides; long rides (100km) and short rides (20km). And of course there are very long, very hilly rides. The main local routes involve taking in a few of the Tramontana mountains, which may have some bearing on why Bradley Wiggins, among many other professional cyclists, train during the winter months.
Don’t worry though – nobody expects you to arrive here already a serious cyclist (though if you are, rest assured, you’ll be looked after). Each group has at least two ride captains who ensure the safety and enjoyment of every rider, sweeping up stragglers and leading them to the designated coffee and pastry stop in a local village. The likelihood is you will get some Vitamin D while you’re there too since Mallorca boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. Some of the best weather for riding comes in April, conveniently just in time for the UK Easter break.
There are other activities besides riding. The 4* Ponent Mar hotel, where Stephen Roche holidays are based, has a sauna and pool, or for €10 extra per night you can stay in the super luxurious sister hotel Son Caliu Spa Oasis with its heated waterbeds, steam bath with salt exhalation and experience showers. , will definitely help soothe weary muscles and ensure you don’t forget the ‘holiday’ part of your trip.
Flights (max 2 hours) run regularly from London airports to Parma, Mallorca. Alternatively, for extra eco-points, you can take the train from London St Pancras to Barcelona (changing in Paris) and the six-hour ferry to Mallorca.
A week at the 4* Ponent Mar Hotel starts at €437.50, with bike hire an additional €120 per week / €30 per day. Stephen Roche Cycle Holidays in Calvia, Majorca is a training partner of Human Race, the UK’s largest mass-participation sports events company. Click here to see Human Race’s full events calendar. To book your cycle holiday, click here quoting code HR2013 to receive a discount. Also check out www.visitcalvia.com for more information on the region.