Love them or hate them, cyclists are pumping millions of euros into local coffers and the authorities should be doing more to support the sector while working on easing the ongoing tension between some drivers and cyclists.
On Sunday, I was in Santa Maria for lunch at one of the town’s oldest Majorcan restaurants. Despite the clouds and the odd drop of rain, the restaurant and bar terraces along the main drag were heaving with a mixture of locals and cycle clubs. The rows of special cycle parking racks were all full and some of the cycle groups were 20-strong, if not more, and they were spending a small fortune.
Had they not been in town on Sunday, Santa Maria would have been half empty, but instead the bars, restaurants and local grocers were cashing in on the island’s flourishing cycle tourism industry. Scores of bars and restaurants across the island have cottoned on to the needs of cyclists offering secure "parking" and special menus. and what the hostelry sector loves even more is that cyclists don’t hang a round too long. They will stop, refuel on carbohydrates, liquids etc., enjoy a brief rest and then cycle off, only for their seats to be occupied by another group of cyclists. It’s a quick and lucrative turnover in areas, which as a rule and especially out of season would not be so busy.
Granted, Santa Maria has its Sunday market, but other towns and villages don’t, However, now they’re open all hours for the tens of thousands of cyclists.