January 31st, 2018
There’s something intangibly compelling about travelling to the very end of somewhere. To John O’Groats. To Key West. In cycling, that will often mean to the top too, like Ventoux, or the great dead-end Pyrenees roads to Hautacam or Luz-Ardiden.
On Mallorca, this feeling transmutes itself perfectly into the shape of the Cap de Formentor, otherwise known as the Lighthouse Ride.
Mallorca sits in the Mediterranean like an angel fish forever swimming west towards Valencia. At the very top tip of its diamond shape, the trailing edge of dorsal fin cuts through the sea in a series of breathtaking cliffs and beaches known as the Formentor Peninsula, named for the frothing opposing tides that crash into each other at the Cap.
Zigzagging up from the cyclist enclave of Puerto Pollenca, this is literally the road to nowhere, and bikes outnumber motorised traffic all year round. The last habitation seen at this end of the road is the stunning complex that played Richard Roper’s house in the lavish BBC drama The Night Manager. After that, it’s just you and the mountain. Peaking initially at the Mirador (viewpoint) Colomer, the road offers you a choice. The brave will take a right turn here to continue upwards on cracked tarmac to gaze down from the old Roman lookouts that still stand sentry on the heights of the peninsula. Those intrepid travellers may be rewarded with a glimpse of the island’s rare black vultures before dropping back down to the col where they left the Lighthouse Road.
But the real joy of this road is the roller coaster dash to the end of the world at Cap de Formentor.
The genius 1930s engineer Antonio Parietti made both this road and its better-known brother, Sa Calobra, mixing enough craziness in with the beauty to remind you that he came from the same cultural explosion as Dali and Bunuel.
No sense of anti-climax could ever overcome the arrival at the lighthouse itself, perched like a citadel on the last bit of rock on Mallorca. And there’s a bar. You scaled 1500 metres in 20 kilometres to get here. All you have to do now is enjoy it all again in the other direction.
WIN a Cycling Holiday in Mallorca courtesy of Richmond Cycles and Viva Velo HERE
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