With a deep tan and a smile on his face, Swiss cyclist Max Hürzeler jokes with the staff of the Iberostar Playa de Muro, the hotel in which he has been organising cycling trips for many years and the same hotel brand that has stayed with him through thick and thin and become an important part of his success.
Mallorca is paradise for cyclists with challenging yet safe mountain roads and sunshine year round. Here’s your guide to cycling on Mallorca. […] Cycling in Mallorca
He started cycling when he was 14 years old and, in 1987, when he was 33, he won gold in the motor-paced world championships – a track cycling discipline which is no longer so popular today. “I tried to win five times and really wanted to manage it because I wanted the publicity for my company,” he said. Max Hürzeler embodies the combination of immense enthusiasm and professional ambition. At that time, he already had his own company, a clothing production business in Thailand. The world championship win made him more well-known and, as a result, it became easier for him to sell his T-shirts.
He already had the idea of organising professional cycling tours although this was still in its early days. Hürzeler visited Mallorca for the first time in 1981, by bike, of course. The enthusiasm that his fellow cyclists showed with each peak they reached in the Tramuntana mountains dispelled any doubts he had concerning the success of organising such cycling tours himself.
In 1986 he founded Huerzeler Bicycle Holidays and organised his first trip with 150 people. At the beginning he was still pleased about “being able to practise for free for five weeks,” but the company gradually grew. In 1994 he and Iberostar then took the risk and the Playa de Muro opened, just for Huerzeler Bicycle, in March. “I really was a bit worried as I had guaranteed Iberostar I would fill 80% of the hotel!”
Today, more than 60,000 cyclists come to Mallorca with Huerzeler Bicycle – the risk paid off. Even back then, he was a vehement advocate of his sport and was always promoting it. With the support of the hoteliers, he once even blocked the road by Playa de Muro for several hours to demonstrate for safer cycle paths. Where the safety of cyclists on Mallorca is concerned, he is still very active, even today. A few months ago, he campaigned for the lighting of a tunnel on the road to Cap de Formentor, a very popular road. The lighting in the tunnel is so bad that it has led to frequent injuries and even deaths. Recently, the government decided to install the much-hoped-for lighting in 2019.
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You really sense that Hürzeler is a true Mallorca lover. He answers the question of which destination is competition for Mallorca in cycling tourism with a clear “none”. In France’s Pyrenees, the hotels and dining options aren’t good enough, in Italy the roads are in a poor condition, the Canary Islands are too difficult and, in Germany, the weather is often bad. In contrast, “on Mallorca, everything is just right,” says Hürzeler. “The hotels, the food, the weather … and there is a route to suit all levels.”
Huerzeler Bicycle is mainly represented on Mallorca with smaller branches in Andalucía and Thailand; a venture into Greece is also being considered. Mallorca and its hotels have, together with Hürzeler, positioned themselves very well. He no longer works in the day-to-day business of his company but remains a shareholder and is therefore involved in its further development. Yet even he sees that cycling tourism cannot grow endlessly. “In the spring, during Mallorca 312, there were too many cyclists here, I must admit.”
According to Hürzeler, the strong growth in cycling is due to famous cyclists, healthier lifestyles and the increased popularly of triathlons etc. Yet equally decisive is the transformation of the typical cycling tourist. It used to be mainly men who came to Mallorca for cycling yet today women account for around 40% including many couples.
Hürzeler does, of course, still cycle but today it no longer has to be the Mallorca 312. And, if you do come to Mallorca to cycle, he recommends doing the Muro to Sóller route via the Puig Mayor. “This is one of the best routes; it’ll certainly get you working up a sweat!”
More about Cycling in Mallorca
Three protected cycling routes from Llucmajor to Porreres, Lluc to Valldemossa and the junction south of Campos offer a total of 94km dedicated to the sport. […] Three protected cycling routes on Mallorca
One of the biggest and most popular cycling events of the year, register for Mallorca 312 cyclosportive and prepare to be challenged! […] Mallorca 312 cyclosportive 2019