Thursday 22 January 2009

Mallorca vs Flanders

I am thinking about where to go for cycling in early April. I've narrowed it down to two possibilities - Mallorca and the Tour of Flanders. Now many might think this should be a no brainer decision. Why choose to go to some windswept rainy plain despite the lure of sea, sun, and lots of interesting climbs! Well, in fact, the decision is not so clear cut:


This is a training camp, essentially with cycling buddies/club mates but the island is awash with club cyclists in the Spring and some roads will have the atmosphere of an unofficial cyclosportive

Good quality riding on lovely smooth roads, with picturesque climbs and amazing switchbacks

Riding ~ 100km every day and up to 1500m climbing will definitely make you fitter

Great atmosphere in a cycling mad country

The chance to the see the pro racers training - catch one if you can!

No need for the longs - you can ride around in short sleeves and shorts

Lovely beaches and a chance to lounge by the pool

Tapas, Sangria, Cerveza

With £sterling on its knees a holiday in the Euro zone could be rather expensive

High chance of topping up the sun tan - low chance of rain

You might bump into Raphael Nadal!

A language that people can vaguely make sense of

You get to mix with cyclists from all over Europe - largely British, Irish and Germans!

Tour of Flanders

This is a high profile cyclo sportive which comes with all the fanfare - an event village, timing chip, feed stations, beer tent, goody bag and finishers certificate

Good quality riding on cobbled bergs (hills) and flat windy plains - definitely makes you stronger

Cobbles are tough! Riding even just 140km at pace over them will make you fitter.

Great atmosphere in a cycling mad country

No hassle of lugging a bike onto the plane or having to dismantle and rebuild it

Quaint town squares and a chance to lounge in stylish cafes in Brugge

Waffles, mussels, and a plethora of Trappist beers

The chance to see the pro racers racing - catch one if you can!

With £sterling on its knees this could be expensive, but it's only a short trip

In 2007 temperatures were over 20 degrees and the sun shone - at least the temperature change on your return to the UK won't be a shock to the system!

You might bump into Lance Armstrong!

Flemish is not completely Greek to us - which British club cyclist actually speaks in Spanish while in Mallorca?

You get to mix with cyclists from all over Europe - well, largely Belgians, French and Dutch!

As you can see, there's not a massive difference in terms of what the final outcome is - in both cases you end up fitter and stronger, and with more memories to add to the photo album. So what it really comes down to is which is more important to you - being able to go out in short sleeves or not having to go through the palava of preparing your bike for air travel - oh, and how important it is to have the piece of paper documenting that you were there.

I've still got time to decide, but right now I think the Kappelmuur is winking at me!


Unknown said...


You've set yourself a tough choice

I've been to Mallorca to cycle and it has to be one of the great cycling destinations. For example, the lighthouse run from Puerto Pollenca is superb, the monastery run from Pollenca is terrific, not to mention the road going over the mountain (above the tunnel) to Soller, and back. On top of that you have flatter coastal roads to the east and south, and inland too. The island offers amazing cycling, scenery and views.

The Flanders idea is an excellent one. I've never been to an event there but can imagine how fantastic any of those Classic routes would be to ride. The scenes of the races remind me of being on Alpe D'Huez at Le Tour. Just great. The sportive will no doubt be highly memorable, and enjoyable too.

So, I can only speak from a single perspective - the Mallorcan perspective - but can clearly see, and appreciate, the pull of Flanders. If I had to choose, I would probably go to Flanders as I have been to Mallorca.

Whichever one you choose, there's always next year for the other.



2Wheel Chick said...

Tim, thanks for the advice. I have been to both places, and the atmosphere during the Tour of Flanders is amazing - especially when you go up the Muur and Koppenberg. The crowds are like at Alpe d'Huez !
I'll probably end up going to Flanders and leaving Mallorca till next year.

Micro1985, thanks for the comment. I've looked at your blog, and it looks interesting. Only thing is, my Japanese isn't up to scratch these days !