Rapha arrives in Mallorca
Mallorca offers some of the most spectacular cycling in the world and Rapha’s new Clubhouse is in the prime location to make the most of it. Rapha Mallorca is now open, providing a meeting place and destination for cyclists, with great food and coffee and a very warm welcome. We will be hosting rides along some of the island’s most beautiful and scenic roads including the famous Sa Calobra and its loopback bridge, which is the inspiration for the Clubhouse logo. Live race screenings will take place throughout the season and a series of events is planned. The Mallorca Clubhouse is also a hub for the Rapha Cycling Club (RCC), welcoming members from all over the world to enjoy exclusive access to hire bikes, group rides and much more.
Coast roads with stunning vistas and mountains where the pros get ready for the season ahead make Mallorca the perfect place to experience by bike.
As you make your way up Sa Calobra for the first time, there’s a period of a good 30 minutes or so when you wonder what all the fuss is about. And then you clear the trees and all of a sudden you realise that this is actually rather tough.
This is a climb that sums up Mallorca – an island of stunning natural beauty which can deliver some surprising challenges – and is why it is a regular location for pre-season training camps of many professional teams. This is a landscape as challenging or relaxing as you want it to be. From flat farmland to imposing mountains, Mallorca is an island to be explored.
Most road cyclists stick to the north west, where the Tramuntana mountain range will test even the most seasoned of riders. Puig Major, or the Big Pig, is the highest point on the island and offers pine-fringed switchbacks, stunning vistas and pristine tarmac throughout its 14km ascent. This never becomes too much of a struggle, however, thanks to its relatively gentle average gradient of 6%.
The same cannot be said for Sa Calobra, the Big Pig’s neighbour. There is a reason pro teams spend all day chasing their riders up a climb that requires you to first descend it. The name Sa Calobra is taken from the tiny fishing village at its base – the actual name of the mountain is Coll dels Reiss. Stop and refuel here because the only way out is back up and you will already have realised from your ride down that this is a climb with a sting in its tail. Towards the summit is one of the few spiral road bridges in Europe and the café that lives in its shadow will be a welcome sight by the time you’ve made it that far.
Few ascents on Mallorca quite match the fierce upper reaches of Sa Calobra, but there are plenty of other climbs that require a considerable degree of determination. On the south east side of the Coll dels Reiss is a junction where cyclists mass at a roadside cafe beneath a viaduct. They will squeeze orange juice while you wait here, under the welcoming shade of olive trees. Head under the viaduct along the Ma-10 and you will eventually arrive at the filling station at the top of the Coll de sa Batalla. This is another favourite of cyclists thanks to the delicious almond cake and coffee served at the restaurant attached to it. The climb up the Coll de sa Batalla from Caimari is regarded by many as the most beautiful on the island, and the descent can be equally rewarding, providing the road is relatively free of tourist coaches. From the filling station you can also get back on the Ma-10 towards Coll de Femenia and beyond it a vast, sweeping, joyous descent to Pollença, and past that, Port de Pollença.
You’ll need to reach Port de Pollença before you can head to the lighthouse at Cap de Formentor, at the northernmost tip of the island. You will set off along the road to the Cap (Ma-2210) and navigate a few sizeable cols and stunning coastal roads to get there. The views are spectacular, however and the goats never shy of a picture opportunity. This is also the best place on the island to watch a sunrise, but be sure to take your lights – the roads are tricky in the dark and there’s a tunnel which can be very disorientating, even when you can see light at the end. On the way to Cap de Formentor at the summit of the first climb just out of Port de Pollença is one of the many watchtowers that circle Mallorca – a reminder that all has not been peaceful in the history of the island. Talaia de Albercutx was built in the 18th century as part of an early warning system against invaders. The approach road is rocky and rubble-strewn but the views amazing.
Closer to the Clubhouse in Palma you will find the tiny village of Galilea, in the south west corner of the island. It sits atop a stunning climb from Es Capdellà, affording magnificent views over the Mediterranean. Nearby, on another route out of Palma which rises up through a military base is the Coll de sa Creu. Traverse this and you’ll be through the towns of Puigpunyent, then Esporles and then onto the spectacular north-western coastline with charming towns such as Valldemossa and Deia, a playground of the rich and famous and for TV watchers the setting of some scenes from The Night Manager.
Beyond Deia are the stunning towns of Sóller and Port Sóller, but turn right when you reach the T-junction with the Ma-11 and you’ll find the Coll de Sóller. Thanks to a road tunnel that now pierces the mountain there is almost no traffic on the 50-plus tightly-packed switchbacks that wind up through the trees.
On the south side of the Coll de Sóller, you will find Bonyola, from where you can head to the Coll d’Honor, which forms part of the exotic sounding Orient valley, named after the nearby village of the same name. From here you will enter the mainly flat and arable centre of the island, where the cycling is less demanding and the coffee in the small towns such as Alaro, Petra and Sineu exceptional.
When you’re relaxing at one of these, that climb up Sa Calobra doesn’t seem so bad.
The centrepiece of Rapha Mallorca is a unique 3D topographical map of the island created in collaboration with Rapha’s design team and the London-based design agency, Blond. The perfect reference point for you to plan your journey into the island’s interior.
Mallorca ranks among the most beautiful locations to ride in Europe. The wealth of riding on offer never ceases to amaze and delight. We look forward to welcoming you at the Clubhouse, where you will find knowledgeable staff who will be happy to show you what the island has to offer.
Plaça del Rosari 1, 07001 Palma, Illes Balears, Spain
Mon - Sat: 8AM - 8PM, Sun: 10AM - 6PM