Photo credit: Antton Miettinen
Having just come back from an amazing week in Mallorca it felt
obvious, yet crude, to compare the two.
Mallorca in the sun feels magical. It truly is like Disneyland
for cyclists. However the roads (especially the main climbs) can
get very busy and the Basque country is miles quieter. There can be
sections of 90 mins or so when you don't see another soul on the
If you had just one day of riding, Mallorca will definitely be
the more impressive (for instance there is nothing to compare with
the astonishing Sa Collobra). Put it this way, every time I go to
Mallorca I call my wife and tell her I need to move Bespoke
However the more I rode in the Basque region the more it gone
under my skin.
My wife is from Ireland and I often cycle in the Mourne
mountains - which is a stunning area; the coast to your left and
the mountains to the right. Rugged, hard and honest cycling.
The Basque region is the Mourne's if it had a bigger, scarier
However the road surface is much better there, and there is very
little wind which is surprising given it's bang on the coast.
Being at the foothills of the Pyrennees it has that 'wildness'
that I love. Its spectacular but also has a bit of menace about it
- it's a hard land, for hardy people. When its sunny its glorious,
but if the clouds rolls in off the Atlantic it can completely
change its character….
In terms of cycling it's the sort of place that could break some
spirits - there are a lot of short steep hills the locals call 'leg
breakers'. Riding with someone much better than you would be a
Cars (the few that you even see) are so respectful to cyclists -
better behaved than anywhere I have ridden. Antton explained that
cycling is so integral to the Basque psyche; everyone has a
brother, father, friend who races his bike - cycling is part of the
Basque people are so friendly; just a naturally engaging and
warm people. They are also fiercely proud of the region, and very
keen to show it off to visitors.