Cycling and Mountain Biking on Madeira
Madeira has no cycleways, has steep hills and mountains and most drivers are not used to cyclists. Although there are some possibilities Madeira is not the right place for regular road and tour cyclists. Though, road bicycle racing and especially mountainbiking is becoming more and more popular on the island. That is because, aside from the magnificent bodies of water that surround this archipelago, there are numerous terrains that are perfect for this exciting activity.
For people who would like to see more of what Madeira has to offer, grabbing a MTB or race bike and going through the designated course would be a great idea. This will make it easier to see more wondrous sights. Aside from that, the cardiovascular exercise will give anyone a rush of pleasant emotions. This is the perfect way to bust stress or just feel liberated from all the daily obligations for a while.
Check out the cool video links below to get an impression of mountain biking (first one) and road cycling (second one) on Madeira.
Cycling and Mountain biking Tours
Contrary to what other people think, mountainbiking experience in Madeira does not require a lot of expertise. Though there are no specific paths which are solely dedicated for mountainbikers, there are routes which work perfectly for the activity. Visitors get to choose whether they want to pass by the more urbane parts of the island or be a little more adventurous by exploring the trails which are amidst forests and hills.
There are several touring companies which arrange cycling tours, especially during the summer months. Often, these are separated to different events. That way, participants can join the age group or cycling level that they are comfortable with. Some of the cycling routes involve rough roads and rugged terrains. These may be a bit too much for beginners. On the plus side, there are also cycling tours for the newbies which are easier to finish until the end. There are routes for everybody, from beginners to professionals. Most bike tour companies offer a shuttle transfers for not round trips or to start on top of a mountain.
When joining mountainbike tours, one does not always need to be overly competitive. Truth is, enjoying the sceneries along the route and having fun from start to finish will make the experience more memorable.
MTB and Road Cycling Tips
- Avoid the highways, rather go for the country roads
- Hills on Madeira are steep and long!
- Most MTB trails in Madeira are not signed
- If you are not a an experienced biker or do not know the local terrain you should really consider a guide
- If you rent a bike or go on a guided tour you will get a helmet.
- You probably also need glasses, gloves, lights and SPD shoes, so hire these or bring your own
- You can rent decent bikes for 10 a 15 euro per day
- At some shops you need an ID to rent the bike and you need to make a deposit
- There a several tunnels on Madeira so you should wear light, especially a rear light.
- Use easy gears (mid-compact, 52/36 with a 11-28t cassette will do fine).
- Drivers might honk their horn to let you know that they are behind you
Since the popularity of Madeira as a cycling hotspot continues to rise, there are plenty of events that people can join in. During October, mountainbike riders are eagerly preparing for the Madeira’s Around the Island Tour Competition. Though this is a major event, it is open for both newbies and professional bike riders. This event is possible because of the efforts of Associação de Desportos da Madeira. They invite not just local riders but also international cyclists.
In July 2009, the Bike Park at Porto Moniz already opened. For those who would like to avoid traffic and be able to enjoy their bike ride to the fullest, this is a good spot.
Choosing the Paths
When cycling in Maderia, one has to assume that there is a high possibility of encountering hills and slopes. For people who would not want to go through roads with numerous uphill and downhill areas, it is best to stay within Funchal, the main city of Madeira. On the other hand, there are also paths which do not really require extensive cycling skills just like the route from Arco de Calheta to Pico da Urze.
Below you will find some of the best routes you can ride on Madeira:
The Bike to Ride
Preferably, if you would like to spend your holidays in Madeira by checking out the routes and cycling paths, it is best to bring your own bike. That way, they would remain comfortable during the ride. This is important especially for professional cyclists. On the other hand, for tourists who decided to go for a ride on a spur of the moment, there are a few bike rental shops around Madeira.
Cycle on Porto Santo
Porto Santo is less mountainous then Madeira. Though, if you are not a trained cyclist or MTBer exploring Porto Santo with a bicycle might be too much. Porto Santo is hilly and roads gets steep inland. Riding short distances and cycling along the beach road is no problem. At the Colombo bike shop, near the Torre Pria Hotel, you can rent bikes for about 10 Euro per day.
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