On Wednesday, the thirty cyclists set out from Puerto Pollensa. | L. OLMO


Thirty cyclists in five groups of six. They took to the coast road from Puerto Pollensa to Alcudia and then to the Carretera Arta from Puerto Alcudia to Can Picafort via Playa de Muro. Were there drivers cursing them? If so, shame on them. I understand the frustrations that cyclists may cause. I also understand the liberties some take. I’m not immune from the occasional negative cyclist thought, but I have defended cycling tourism often enough.

It has done a power of good over the years. It has eaten into seasonality. It has helped with transformation. Just consider the facelift that units in Playa de Muro have had thanks to cycle shops. It brings in money and not just to hotels. Take a look at some terraces in the later afternoons. Packed out and not only for a drink. The full meal treatment. Try the likes of Restaurant Boy, if you don’t believe me.

Not that you can try, because there aren’t the cycling tourists. Just a few. Remember when they all had to depart last year. They included the German squads. Here one moment, gone the next. Lockdown.

On Wednesday, the thirty cyclists set out from Puerto Pollensa. In advance of their departure, the Olympic canoeist Sete Benevides read out a statement calling for “a genuine and ambitious vaccination plan”. There had to be “genuine proactivity” - that of administrations and business - and urgent direct aid. Sete’s was a plea on behalf SOS Turismo, the cause to which niches have attached themselves, e.g. SOS Esports.

In Puerto Pollensa, they were seen off by town hall, hotels, restaurants, villas and residents representatives. They were greeted in Alcudia, Playa de Muro and Can Picafort by similar gatherings. Thirty cyclists pressing the claim for vaccination and proactivity to rescue not just cycling and sport but the entire tourism sector. Who was cursing? I sincerely hope that no one was.

In Pollensa, meanwhile, the president of the hoteliers, Jaume Salas, reckons that 40% of hotels are preparing to open for Easter. Whether they do remains to be seen. The principal market - British - will obviously not be coming. The villas market offers an alternative, as this attracts a high number of German tourists. But will they still be coming now?