When you think of Madeira, you might think of cake? Maybe a place for old people and their time shares? Or for it’s heavy break Jardem do Mar? Easyjet describes it as as “a mystic place of devotion and tranquility. A place to discover nature as we discover ourselves.”
That’s a bit mystic, but it is a beautiful island and it’s also a top mountain bike destination. I spent a day being led around by the guys at Freeride Madeira. They provided the bikes and provided a support vehicle to get us to the start and home again.
I was contemplating just hiring a bike, but I was glad I didn’t, as all my energy would have been used climbing to the top, and I would never have found some of the single track we rode.
The landscape is amazing, we started off wobbling – as I found my mountain bike feet – along one of the many miles of ‘Levada’s’ or irrigation channels that are all over the island.
We then headed off into some forest, which is slightly what I imagine the Black Forest to looks like.
This was followed what looked to all intense and purposes, like Dartmoor (even the weather). With heather and bracken mixed with Agapanthus.
Shortly after that we crossed a road and were now in rainforest.
So in one day we had fast swooping, grippy single track, slippery rooty narrow trails, curvy houmousy and soft downhill and wide fast fire tracks.
We were told by our guide that pros go there to train, and I can see why as they can practice in so many different conditions.
All the time we were biking in the rain and mist. The fam were by the pool in the sun at sea level. What a mixed up little island. There are plenty more sports to be done in Madeira too. Trail running, diving, surfing, I reckon it’s a right little action sport utopia.