Backstories: Our 1st Trip to Mallorca
Penned by Kieran Andrews
A note on our series of backstories:
We like riding with clients, we really do. We love being with our customers as they experience things for the first time. If we are doing our jobs well, our clients never even think about the fact that there was once a first time for us as well.
I will come straight out and say it, I absolutely love the "pre-trip" part of guiding. Sometimes the idea for a trip evolves from a relaxing summer holiday and other times a week long itinerary needs to be ironed out in only 3 days. We find the routes, eat at the restaurants, wander the villages and collapse into the hotel beds… and all the while we debate the merits of every choice we make. We do this so that you don't have to.
As no client will ever share these experiences with us, we will share our stories with you right here.
Before we even knew that we wanted to be in the cycling travel business and long before our first unsuspecting guest-to-be asked us if she could join us on a trip, we went to Mallorca for the first time. We had no idea what we were doing. Literally, we had no idea.
Things started to go a bit sideways when we got off the plane. We honestly thought we were smart to go in the off-season but what we didn’t know was that there truly is an off-season in Mallorca. Like off-off.
So when the taxi driver asked, “what hotel” and we said “we are just gonna find one” I was surprised that he first went silent and then took the next exit and coasted to a stop on the side of the road. We sat for quite a while as he made a succession of rapid fire (far too rapid to follow) calls on his battered cell phone. We were not scared, no not at all. Finally he turns to us. “There is no hotel but I find you a hotel”. Looking back he must have taken our blank, silent stares as an attempt to convey approval as he immediately pulled back onto the highway.
When we arrived in Port d’Alcudia, our driver dropped us in front of a low building with a bar on the ground floor and gestured us inside. Hands got shaken and some money changed hands before we were shown to an apartment. It was weird. Only later did we understand that our driver had called around until he had found someone who rented apartments to the seasonal labourers who flocked to Mallorca for work each summer. The apartment was empty, which in hindsight should not have surprised us.
Did I mention it was the off-season? Capital OFF. We went walking only to find that almost every door and window in what we were expecting to be a vibrant beach town was dark. We found one restaurant. We ate there. The next day we went back to find it closed for the season. We went to the grocery store instead. It closed two days later. Next day we walked farther to get food… you see where I am going here, I hope.
It was the rainy season. The skies were grey. It rained. We rode our bikes.
There is a lot more to this story but I can’t face writing about it now. Looking back it is hard to believe that we ever went back to Mallorca. Hard now to believe that it is one of my very favorite places both to be myself and to share with clients. Over the years I have ridden the back roads of this beautiful island with hundreds of riders across all ranges of age, fitness and ability and every trip and every kilometer ridden is a joy.
We don’t go in the off-season. We go in the shoulder-season.