The Christmas holidays are always a wonderful time to kick back, relax, forget about the daily grind, and 'eat, drink and be merry'. Most of us are guilty of some over-indulgence of the latter, and so one of the New Year's resolutions was for us to get fit again. Mallorca is lucky to enjoy wonderful sunny days in January, even if the temperatures are a little cooler than normal (but with an average of 15 ºC, it still ain't bad!). Ideal conditions actually for a spot of road biking.
It had been a while since we had been out on the road and after a search through the house we finally found our winter bike gear - as well as a pair of long lost sunglasses. Then there was the decision of where to go. We are lucky enough to be based in Soller, which is surrounded by gorgeous countryside, and the choice of routes really is limitless. The plan was hatched to ride along the coast towards Valldemossa - 15 miles away and with a total ascent of around 475 metres - and to see how we felt. As I mentioned, it had been a while and we didn't want to overdo it on the first ride of the year.
The morning had been beautiful; sunny and relatively warm for the beginning of January. However by the time we had kitted ourselves out it was mid afternoon and as so often happens in the mountains, the clouds had moved in and the initial motivation was waning. But we re-grouped, remembering our New Year's resolution, and hit the road.
Setting off from Soller, nestled at the foot of a valley, you don't have to wait long before you enter the "red zone" - that place where the body starts fighting the mind. As we headed uphill, we were surprised how quickly we settled into a good rhythm and before long the first climb had been dispatched. We sped down towards Deia and began to relax and enjoy the views out over the coast. It hadn't been such a bad idea after all.
As so often happens on these rides though, the downhill didn't last nearly long enough and we were soon ascending again. This time the road rose more steeply than before as we left Deia behind us and passed the Mirador de Sa Foradada. As we looked out to sea, the clouds began to disperse and hints of blue were appearing on the horizon. The views were spectacular as we passed Son Marroig, home to the Archduke Luis Salvador Museum. No wonder he fell in love with this part of the world.
We reached Valldemossa and decided to treat ourselves to a coffee and a coca de patata - potato cake dusted with icing sugar - a local delicacy. Breaking one of the New Year's resolutions, but we felt we had earned it.
The sun was now shining but dropping fast towards the sea, so we decided to turn for home, still 15 miles away. There is an alternative route back to Soller via Bunyola and the Coll de Soller, but we decided to leave this more challenging route for another time. The light was beautiful, and like the tourists who will fill these roads up during the summer season, we stopped to take a few snapshots. January is traditionally a quiet month for tourism on Majorca and for now, the road belonged to us as we headed back home, smug in the knowledge that getting fit again won't be such a hardship. It's definitely a great time of year to be riding a road bike in Mallorca.
Andy Mitter & Michelle Holland operate Tramuntana Tours, an adventure company offering a range of outdoor activities.