Auto Ads by Adsense

Friday, May 10, 2019

April 10th: The Easy Deia Loop

Prior to the trip, one of Brad’s friends, Karsten, in an act of unselfish generosity had said that he would pick us up at the airport. We were touched and brought him some chocolate from home hoping that it would serve as a gesture of thanks for his hospitality.

After the prior night’s rain, we looked at the forecast for Mallorca and saw that rain was in the offing.  From the airplane, the weather looked quite forbidding! Indeed, when we picked up the bike boxes at the Mallorca airport, we noted that they were wet. Karsten texted us where to meet him, and by the time we got out of the airport it was cool but no longer rainy. Karsten met us nearly instantly, finding us, since we looked rather lost. We somehow managed to get all the bike boxes and our carry-on into his car, whereupon he immediately texted Linus to say that his car wasn’t needed as well.

Along the way to Soller, he told us about the various roads as well as the rights of cyclists on the road: “You have all the rights of a car, including riding side by side on the road. Some of the tourists will freak out but most of the locals understand this.” My jaw dropped upon hearing this,  but indeed, over the next few days we’d see cyclists riding 2-up, 3-up, or even 4-up, in some cases posing more danger to cyclists going the other way than car drivers were!

Karsten and Linus were offering to ride with us, and of course we accepted, knowing that the good roads in the area could only be known  by the locals. He showed us the various meeting spots that we might end up using, and then pulled into Port de Soller. “We  have to park here, since to go further only taxis are allowed!” He led us down the block to the hotel, whose entrance was cleverly concealed behind the façade of a restaurant. There he bade us farewell and said that he’d be in touch via WhatsApp about riding together!

The Fergus Style Soller Beach was right on the beach, and when we talked to the reception they said our room wasn’t going to be ready until 3pm. “No problem,” we said, “We’ll put together our bikes and go for a ride until then!” The staff then led us to the room  used for organizing laundry and sheets, whereupon we took apart our bike boxes and assembled the bike, taking extra time as we were still jet-lagged but excited about riding in Mallorca.

But first we had to satisfy our hungry stomachs. Down the street from where Karsten had dropped us off was a restaurant, where we ordered a few tapas, which took some time to serve. We would find out later, that most Spanish restaurants don’t actually fire up the kitchen until later in the afternoon.

I’d laid out an easy first day’s route, riding up to Deia, and then curling back around to climb Col de Soller. I figured out that the way out was the way Karsten drove us in, but of course, I’d forgotten that Karsten used the car-only tunnel! But right next to the exit to the tunnel which said “No bikes”, was a road marked “Sa Figuera”. It looked nice and small, and it was marked on my Fenix 5X, so I opted to ride it. One problem with the Garmin GPS’s is that their marked routes when you choose to follow a pre-laid course had no direction markers, so you never know whether  you’re riding in the direction you’d planned. I also discovered to my dismay that while I thought I’d loaded all of Spain onto my Fenix 5X, the maps were invalid, and my screen was blank except for the GPS track on it. But hey, one of the reasons to pick Soller were that there was only a few roads out, so off we went.

Sa Figuera turned out to be a beautiful single lane road that led out to the highway that would lead to Pollenca, and at the top, Mike’s GPS, which had all the maps correctly loaded told me to turn right, and we did, whereupon my GPS picked out the route to Deia, and we started climbing with grand views of Soller gradually developing until we turned the corner and saw the Mediterranean in all its glory, with the sun out and storm clouds no longer with us! “This might be the most beautiful ride I’ve ever been on!” declared Mike.  We rolled along the hills and went down to the descend to Valledemossa, whereupon I felt a tugging to turn right and do an 80 mile day right then, but it was already mid-afternoon and I knew we did not have time.

So we headed towards Bunyola following signs for Santa Maria, and stopped at the coffee shop that Karsten had pointed out to us. You might think you have coffee shop gatherings for cyclists where you live, but there are so many cyclists on Mallorca, that the coffee shops are forced to implement bike parking on a century-ride scale. Nearly every restaurant or coffee shop that serves cyclists (or is in a cycling area) will have one or more bike parking stands similar to what you'd see on a century ride.

Suitably refreshed, we started up Col de Soller a 1600 climb at a steady 5% grade. Once there, it was a straight and easy descent to Port de Soller, where we discovered that the official bikeable road was signed and led us down along the beach street, which was now filled with tourists. The cleverly hotel façade once again fooled us into riding past the hotel, but we found it, retrieved the bike garage keys, parked the bikes, and then had our room keys and luggage ready.

One of the things I discovered that was unusual about Spain was that frequently, hotels would give you a better deal than if you went directly to their web-site. Usually tries to enforce “lowest pricing” but Spanish hotels regularly violate this rule, giving you discounts, or a longer free cancellation window. In our case, booking directly with the Fergus hotel got us free breakfast for the same price, and we were treated to a room upgrade to a room with a hot tub and balcony. We only used the hot tub a few times, but the balcony had a clothes line rack, and lots of convenient places to hang clothes hangers to dry our laundry!

Another perk the Fergus had was a swimming pool, and I was told that it was closed at 6:00pm, so I hurriedly got changed, put down a towel deposit, went to the swimming pool and jumped in only to discover to my dismay that the swimming pool wasn’t heated! 10 minutes of swimming was enough for me to discover that my teeth chattering was giving me more exercise than the swimming so I hurriedly went back up and got into the hot shower.

Karsten recommend Es Passeig for dinner, and the place Mike wanted to go to was fully booked that night, while Es Passeig was willing to serve us, so off we went. Dinner was excellent, and we had great food. Karsten said the he and Linus would meet us in Santa Maria at 11:00 but I suggested 10:30 since we were jet-lagged and would get up early anyway!

Mike and I couldn’t believe our luck. Not only had we picked a hotel with glorious views in a near idyllic setting, but Brad had set us up with friends who’d show us the local roads! And if the food was anything to go by, we were going to have an awesome time. We took our melatonin pills hoping that we could stay asleep till dawn this time.

No comments: