Menorca is easier for bikers and mountain bikers to travel than Majorca, because the island is smaller and there are hardly any mountains. In order to boost soft tourism, cyclists will even find well-developed cycle paths, which are rather unusual for the Balearic Islands and Spain. There are fast racing groups who like to drive over the asphalt on the asphalt between the capital Mahon and the secret capital Ciutadella just over 50 km across the whole island at weekends. There are mountain bikers who use the numerous dusty slopes directly to the mooring on the beaches of Menorca and there are normal bicycle traffic of students, locals and tourists who simply want to come by bike from A to B. All in all, cycling on Menorca is still a haven of peace, as bike tourism is much less pronounced here than on the larger neighboring island.
The biggest enemy of the cyclist is the wind next to Menorca's summer sun. Therefore, in my view, Hollandräder and touring bikes with handlebar baskets are unsuitable because they offer too much attack surface for the fierce "Tramuntana". The Tramuntana can be very stressful as a pedestrian due to its stormy intensity. In our two weeks at the beginning of May 2015 we have traveled almost exclusively Menorca's island west by bike and drove about 160 km. That does not sound that much, but many Northern Europeans forget about the intensity of the sun, the wind and the fact that slopes in nature are harder to ride on rough tires. In addition, there are many photo breaks, as the landscape in spring is already very attractive: green meadows, a very interesting wildlife, dolphin watching, turquoise dream beaches, ancient open-air museums, excavations, idyllic harbors, delicious coffee with tapas, cinematic sunsets - in short: Connoisseurs' souls do not even get on the bike to make the right track. Cycling on Menorca is therefore very well suited to really relax properly. Getting to know the island in a typical bike cruising speed is a very intense nature experience, by no means monotonous, as the landscape changes frequently. By the way: Menorca with its beautiful bays is also great for a beach holiday.
Cycling in Menorca with rental bikes
We joined us in Ciutadella Totvelo.com borrowed two mountain bikes for 11 days. That cost 2015 in the preseason in May about 70, - EUR per bike. A fair price and nice people (probably the owner couple) who served us. Without batting an eyelash, I was on request, the brake cables left and right swapped, because I always like the front brake as a motorcyclist right. The disc brakes were still mechanical, with hydraulic brakes the change would not have worked so easily. Let's see what I'm doing in five years, when the cable brakes are extinct. Tire repair kit, replacement hoses and locks are also included.
We had brought bicycle helmets ourselves, in Spain, there is a strict helmet requirement for cyclists outside built-up areas. One should really stick to it, because a violation costs an incredible 200, - EUR per nose. The bike rental couple urged us to stick to it, as many inexperienced tourists had to pay this high penalty. The question in my head was: when is Spain outside built-up areas? Have you ever seen correctly set up city signs in Spain - "Barcelona over here"? The only way to get out of the police is allegedly to have no language skills at all. Romanian or Finnish maybe. But please, so that the executive believes that too. The Spanish law also states that cyclists must wear a reflective safety vest outside built-up areas. Obviously, this did not succeed on Menorca. By the way, a light, silver or bright helmet with umbrella also protects quite well against the sun, as we later discovered. Is the easiest, safe and practical. Do not think about it, but put it on, the sunburn comes even with the unpopular hard shell quite sure in the face.
In addition to a helmet, I recommend for cycling in Menorca even a small universal bicycle tool from home to take. In addition to the provided repair kit and a lock, we had sunglasses, bicycling pants, bike-friendly backpacks, maps, phones, bandages, fruit and always enough water. Enough water is especially important if you drive to the beautiful, deserted romantic beaches and there can not buy anything. The drink holders of the wheels even included 0,75 l-PET bottles, but not a matter of course for rental bicycles. But even 1 liter is consumed quickly in the summer, just because constantly blowing a strong breeze and the body then requires even more fluid. There are still real thirst queues on the bike in Menorca inland or on the north coast, so you should always take more water than usual.
On offered battery bulbs we have omitted, because we deliberately did not want to drive at night. After a motorcycle tour through Andalusia 1989, I do not want to drive around on a two-wheeled bicycle in Spain at night. And certainly not with a bicycle. Not without ulterior motive, I also used during the day a neon orange T-shirt. All major roads in Spain are not entirely safe for cyclists. Especially on Sundays, when family day is in Spain and the meal is started together in the afternoon. Certain rules in southern Europe still exist today unwritten and can be vital for survival especially on the two-wheeler. Sunday afternoons you have to be very careful in the traffic in Spain - also by car!
Discover Menorca's slopes by mountain bike
A mountain bike is always a lot of fun when it is moved humanely. Then it's a real advantage over fast racing bikes. There are still many unpaved, dusty slopes in Menorca that often lead to beautiful beaches. Just a few years ago, many of them were privately owned and were simply closed to through traffic by the rising flow of tourists. But the Spanish state bought back the roads for a lot of money and opened them again for everyone. Today you can get back to almost any beach, at least by bike or on foot. However, there is still parking for cars for a fee near the beach, the 200 meters walk away. They are received there by mercenary guards. On weekends, people like to ride and ride Menorca on their fast horses and wagons. Attention, please take care, the roads are narrow and people still live there for equestrian sports. If you really get on the mountain bike, sooner or later you will suddenly find an unexpected wagon from Nirvana with shy horses and an acid horse friend. In addition to feelings of guilt slips even a quick heart in the pants. A combination of a fast wagon and a narrow runway is no longer available in our SUV country, so you always have to count on Menorca. Especially on the weekend.
In addition to the slopes, there are countless, rugged island paths that form a dense network of coasts. On the 185 km long "Camí de Cavalls" you can cycle around the island by bike - theoretically. Here, however, the highest attention is required by bicycle, because a "gentle fall" on the edgy rocks will probably not exist for the vast majority. It is also dangerous if the pedals cling to the massive rock involuntarily. I say that expressly, because for the inexperienced, the rocky paths quickly become a hell's trip. Already on foot you have to be careful. Flipflops are literally a no-go! Mountain bikers can drive directly from the road directly to the beach, it is fantastic. A dangerous mogul piste then usually lures from beach to the nearest beach within sight. This is often the "Camí de Cavalls" - a path for horses, probably in the 14. Century was created by feudal landowners. My tip, at least for Ciutadella: Do not drive on - even the best drivers inside make a mistake at some point and it will be horrible. In addition to the rocky footpaths near the beach but also lure old donkey paths and sandy paths. Many of them lead to beautiful bays and turquoise beaches. Here you can move a mountain bike with studded tires with fun, here makes a fork sense. But even here you can sometimes share the track with cars, free-roaming cattle and wagons.
The cattle we underestimated: Running cows in front of and behind the bike are not without danger, because they flee and suddenly start herding panic in harmless cyclists. As a city dweller you do not immediately know what's up when, on a narrow street in front of, behind and next to the bike suddenly 500 kg horned cattle begin to gallop. More like aspiring torrentors than big-city cowboys, who are sure that this completely unplanned situation on a bike can quickly be fatal.
5 bike rides from Ciutadella de Menorca or Cala Blanca
North Cycle Tour - from Ciutadella to Punta Nati // 26 km
From Cala Blanca there are back and forth about 26 kilometers, but there are in itself. After an industrial area in Ciutadella you drive on an almost car-free road always in the north. The landscape is surprisingly hardy, there are after a few kilometers only very few, ancient rock houses to see. The daring road is surrounded by an overgrown dry stone wall. We passed a tree full of breeding cattle egrets. The birds look extremely fluffy. They impress Northern Europeans with their size, song, color, exoticism and cow-affine behavior. The nests in the tree look like somewhere in Africa. With every kilometer the country turns into a barren, wind-created rock landscape with black caper bushes. The last part of the tour is for pedestrians only and leads to an old lighthouse and a rocky plateau with defenses from the Spanish Civil War. As soon as I had bitten the first bite of my pause apple on the sea staring, I noticed an unusual Schnauzgeräusch in the middle of the sea: Suddenly dolphins cross in the midday sun, the rocky sloping, endless sea width. Airborne, they quietly thwart the deep blue water at our feet in packs. Every breath of the wise, water-gray animals is clearly audible. This sight was so fascinating, because I suddenly felt like a little ant in this rocky desert. A feeling as if you were on a strange planet as a spectator - but not alone.
To the lighthouse of course there is a deeply sad story: 1910 was a French steamship there in distress, sank and only a single sailor survived 3 days in a rocky grotto, until he climbed the steep rocks with last strength and a pawn of a drawing of the sinking ship shows. Dozens of corpses were washed ashore by the 100 dead, and then the lighthouse was built. As a hiker or bike in Menorca in the midst of this rugged rocky panorama you can feel the incredible loneliness on the northwestern tip of the island as clearly as Anno 1910. I will not forget this bike tour so fast. On the way back we stopped at the port of Ciutadella for some tapas. It still reigns Mediterranean flair through the noticeable siesta. The last 5 kilometers to the apartment are more difficult than expected. The intense midday sun in May, a little too little water, all the intense impressions, the permanent wind and the barren landscape will make us sleep very well tonight. Morning is sure beach day - maybe back to the bike somewhere?
Cycle Southwest Ciutadella - Cap d'Artrutx // 16 km
Over the initially wide national roads our bike tour ends unexpectedly fast at a black and white lighthouse of 1857 just before the southwestern tip of the island. Menorca and Mallorca are closely connected at this point: the Baleraren Islands lie here only 32 nautical miles apart. The onward journey to the adjacent holiday resort Cala en Bosc turns out to be a tourist's nest. Everywhere food stalls around an artificial marina. With our wheels, we kind of stand out here. Hundreds of food and beer drinking people inspect us from dark corners of the cafes and restaurants. You can see what they like best: food & drink. It's ok, but somehow I feel like a punk here. Ships dangling amidst the retort city, shopping malls and gambling halls line seemingly endless one-way streets. You can still see us afterwards. We roll aimlessly in front of us. At a beach bar with beautiful sea views, I buy two packaged ice cream for the price of a branded T-shirt and wonder how to finance a family vacation with children here without a bank in the high season?
We negotiate the wheels on the endless one-way streets and fight over the return journey. Basically, I do not want to go against the one-way street direction, my better half would like after this tour sightseeing tour on the shortest way home. Finally, our little quarrel is a brief 20 km tour in the midday sun, because we also have to buy our dinner. After the bike ride we reconcile ourselves with a glass of rosé at a beautiful sunset and cook dinner together. To this day, I do not know exactly whether those were jealous or pitiful looks in the middle of the holiday ghetto. Probably wondering, fricking, why at noon, for God's sake, we are not traveling with an air-conditioned SUV, but sweating on - ugh - bicycles? At this hotspot full of over-eaten holiday guests I certainly do not have to cycle again. Cycling on Menorca can therefore also lead to melancholy experiences. Although the lighthouse is really nice. Round-trip are approximately 16 km. A perfect bike ride to get you started.
Bike tour Platja Son Saura & Cala en turqueta // approx. 20 km
A beautiful sandy beach with turquoise blue water that runs in its vastness. Caribbean flair is in the air. With the bike you can ski on slopes directly to the beach. The bay offers a little further sun protection and a rest area under coniferous trees. Without a beach umbrella and drinking water on the beach, it will be difficult for Northern Europeans in the long term - light sand reflects the sunlight in the midday sun. Crystal-clear, turquoise-green water pampers even demanding swimmers. A few boats anchor briefly in the turquoise bay, enjoy the beautiful view of the beach before they continue. From the water, the bay looks even more beautiful. Also for the preseason only very few people are here - we are almost alone. Our bicycles are connected to the wooden fence. Exotic here, we catch attention. Also, the neighboring beach "Cala en turqueta" is worth a visit by bike, but fuller. Here you also want to see and be seen. Whether both beaches with a hiking trail or a mountain bike trail are interconnected, which can be easily traveled by bike, eludes my knowledge. In any case, on the road you drive a very long detour from beach to beach. After one Look at Google Earth But there is hope for a slope connection between Son saura and Cala en turqueta. The round trip for a beach is about 20 km by bike from Ciutadella.
From Ciutadella to Cala d'Algariens by bike // 24 km
From Cala Blanca it is with the wheel back and forth 30 km. The bike tour first leads on wide roads on the side strip to the northeast. The road is however little frequented by cars and therefore shows itself for cyclists from the sunny side. At the latest when turning right on the "Cami d'Algariens", the road on the bike is really idyllic, but also increases noticeably. Over green hills, through fragrant forests, we find narrow hairpin bends on a steep descent to a sandy track, which ends at the end with a beautiful view of the large beach of the "Cala d'Algariens". A wooden staircase leads to the beach, we close the bikes at the top of the railing. An ancient stone house adorns the long bay, there is no shade, but a noticeable breeze.
With the refreshing bath in the crystal-clear sea, every visitor immediately realizes one thing: The water here in the north is much colder than on the west side or in the south. In the beginning of May it is still freezing cold in German - even for hard-boiled cyclists a short bathing pleasure. On the way back, after a few hundred meters of steep ascent, the sweat on your face quickly returns. Cycling on Menorca can be really exhausting. At the top of the hill you have a nice view of Ciutadella. The rest of the tour is almost easy to roll back to the secret capital of Menorca. A very varied bike ride with ups and downs, which can also be completed with a racing bike, if you push the last part on the sandy track or gently rolling.
Cala Macarella // Round trip by bike about 35 km
Admittedly, we did this tour on the last day of vacation with the rental car instead of the bike. Not for convenience, but because the bikes were already delivered and we had to go to the airport with luggage somehow. By bike it is a bit exhausting due to numerous hills and serpentines, but the great view is worthwhile. You must have seen this bay, it is just fantastic. It is so beautiful that, unfortunately, a large catering center with food stalls on mountains of tourists meet, at least on weekends. Broken down to Spanish standards, the whole thing is still bearable - I have indulged in an ice cream here. To explore the bay you have to walk a bit in the rocks and unfortunately it is not 10 meters alone. Tempting are the views of the turquoise sea, the rocks, the fresh green. Masses of people make selfies, cell phone pictures or pull out valuable SLR cameras. As I said, you have to have seen that ...
Cycling in Menorca: A word on bicycle choice
The Merida mountain bike as a rental bike had a very good price performance ratio. Despite his almost 14 kilos, it was easy to move on Menorca because there are hardly any long climbs. The standard handlebar was too broad for longer trips with excessive shoulder overwidth. The suspension fork and the grobstolligen balloon tires were estimated on slopes and made fun on the coarse rocky island routes. Both brake on the asphalted road course. I am always amazed at the precision of very cheap Shimanoschaltungen from the lower price segment: The derailleur worked perfectly like an expensive circuit. With the topic "nice-looking disc brakes" I will occupy myself even longer, because I find the braking performance and dosage in contrast to the technical effort altogether also on this MTB surprisingly modest. The pull-wire things brake somehow, but that's no comparison to the absolutely exact pressure point of a good V-Brake. Noise, weight, the high torque at the lowest end of the fork, which tears with very high forces on all spokes - what all this?
A comfortable saddle, a drink holder for 0,75l PET bottles, a torsion-resistant frame, I would borrow the bike for Menorca immediately. Of course you can have a lot of fun cycling on Menorca on a light road bike, but the asphalt is coarser than in Germany. In addition, the main roads are heavily used and there are a lot of sandy tracks except for the beaches, which should not be missed as an off-road experience. Even on the beaches themselves, you can still drive well through the wide MTB tires and have a lot of fun. For long tours across the whole island of Menorca for demanding cyclists would certainly be a very faster MTB with slicks or a cyclocross optimal.