Mountain biking in Ibiza's North
Island visitors addicted to the buzz of the adrenaline rush - that thrilling, gratifying consequence of the adrenal glands dumping a large dose into the bloodstream – can best get their fix taking to two wheels and biking it. Home to a network of trails packed with climbs and descents, with hilly and flat terrains taking you to farmlands, woodlands, mountainsides, cliffs, coastlines and villages, there is a route for every cyclist keen to pedal their Balearic quest.
Na Xamena Circular, a well-known beginners route taking cyclists to the north of the island, is one that gets you to grips with biking in Ibiza. The village of Sant Llorenç (San Lorenzo) is your starting point, and from there you’ll breeze past lush olive and almond groves in the North West, pass through countryside and the town of Sant Miquel before making a glute-activating ascent to Es Portixol and a descent via a path which delivers on unrivalled views of the stunning cliffside of Na Xamena.
Much of this route is on road, however, they are narrow with very little in the way of markings, so keep a mindful eye on the track unless the odd detour is of little concern. In truth, the odd detour might be mandatory, especially if you’re on a biking mission through the scorching, often unforgiving summer months. Sunstroke isn’t a bed-ridden event on anybody’s holiday bucket list, so be sure to seek out coastline stops – Benirras Beach being one - so you can make a frantic run for the ocean and submerge yourselves in instant relief.
For experienced mountain bikers hellbent on scaling tracks that the precautious would consider treacherous and gruelling, the coast to coast route is the one. Taking in much of the North West coast with many a scenic view, this route is packed with demanding climbs, narrow trails, and tracks that rip through valleys and hidden forest roads. It begins in San Antonio, before you head for the valley of Buscastell and embark on a gradual climb to the uppermost point of Camp Vell at 330 metres. Reaching the bay of Cala d’Albarca, you’ll follow a track that takes you past La Hacienda, a plush hotel famous for its cliffside infinity pool – and you’d be forgiven for finding an excuse to discontinue at this point, budget permitting. Later in the village of San Juan, the concluding and most challenging climb commences, and then you’ll be enroute to Puig d’en Teixidor, the highest point of the route.
Of course, there are plenty more trails to be added to the above two. See Ibiza delivers on highlighting eight routes, while you’ll find many more elsewhere online. As with hiking and walks, absolutely consider a solo venture, but it is worth considering getting in the experts and hiring a guide for the day, for the simple reason being that the trails aren’t always clearly marked. For cycle hire, some guide companies also offer bikes for rent, while some rental companies offer delivery and pick up at your given address which is super useful.
The essentials for any cyclist
Water - Fit two bottle cages to your bike and take 750ml bottles with electrolyte drinks.
Sun Cream – Do not underestimate the sun. Pack factor 30.
Snacks - Energy Bars, nuts and fruit for that needed energy push.
Mobile Phone – Don’t be left alone and uncontactable in the wilderness.
Money – Useful when passing through the smaller villages as the plastic might not pass.
Basic Repair Kit - You can't fix everything by the side of the road but not all breakdowns require the day to end.
Six mountain biking rules
These six rules were introduced by the International Mountain Biking Association, and should be respected by every biker.
Ride on open trails only. The mountainside and its environment are precious, so please be environmentally conscious and socially responsible.
Leave no trace. Stay on existing trails and don’t create new ones.
Control your bicycle. Where safety notices are displayed, be sure to follow them.
Always let your fellow riders know you’re around. Many trails are also used by hill-walkers who have priority over mountain bikers. There may be trails which are off limits at certain times of the year so it’s best to check this before.
Never scare or intimidate the local wildlife. Remember to leave gates as you found them.
Plan ahead. Check out your equipment before setting of to ensure it’s in good repair, taking puncture repair and basic tool kits with you. Carry necessary supplies including food and waterproofs. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear for the terrain you’re about to tackle.