Ibiza may be better known for its nightlife than its trails, but don’t make the mistake of writing it off as a ‘Brits-on-tour hell’ when planning your next overseas mountain biking holiday. In fact, this infamous Balearic Island is home to a wonderful maze of loose, dusty, rocky trails that have to be ridden to be believed.
The trick though is in finding them. And that’s where the fabulous guys at Ride Ibiza come in. Ride Ibiza is a specialist mountain biking holiday/guiding company, the brainchild of Ash Payne. Ash runs the business from a villa that’s home to comfortable rooms for guests, a large kitchen, living room, roof terrace, garden pump track…oh, and a dirt jump park out the back! Yes, really.
He runs holidays for those who want to spend the majority of their time on Ibiza on their bike, but also does guiding days for those who just want a day here and there.
Ash is passionate about what he does and is determined to show the island off to its best – debunking the myth that Ibiza is only good for one thing. He knows all the best places to ride on the island, partly because he and his business partner Tomas have taken responsibility for clearing the trails and building in new features.
On a holiday with Ride Ibiza, you’ll really get to see the finest the island has to offer. You won’t be constrained to just one area, as there’s a minibus on hand to take you and your bike to wherever best the trails are.
So what’s the riding like? Well, the highest point on the island is less than 500m above sea level, so if you like to spend your whole morning on a gruelling climb you’ll be disappointed!
Riding Ibiza is like riding a big enduro trail – short stints of pedalling, with the immediate reward of a cracking descent. The trails are loose and dusty, with some brilliant, long rock gardens where line-choice becomes the name of game.
If you’re keen to brush up on certain skills, Ibiza is a great place to visit. There are trails for really getting to grips with switchbacks, trails for testing your jumping skills and trails for nailing drop-offs.
And you won’t just be left to get on with it – the guides are on hand to encourage and offer advice to get you to the next level. When I arrived in Ibiza I had a goal: to be able to jump. When I left Ibiza I had a goal: to be able to jump bigger!
In a week’s holiday, there’s one rest day built in. Except it doesn’t have to be a day of total rest if you pack your nightlights. There’s a pretty awesome night-ride to be had around Ibiza Old Town, where you can get a lesson in riding up steps to the Catedral de la Verge de les Neus (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Snows), before practicing your urban downhill skills back down to one of many local restaurants.
In terms of gear, you’d definitely be better off on a full-suspension bike rather than a hardtail. There are some descents that will put that suspension through its paces! If you’re not keen to take your own bike, Ride Ibiza has a well-maintained fleet of hire bikes – currently 2015 Lapierre Zestys – ready and raring to take you riding.
There’s also a workshop on site, so if your bike needs a little TLC part way through the week, there are tools – and plenty of knowledge – on hand to get you sorted.
Ride Ibiza provides a really chilled, but exciting, mountain biking holiday. This is not a ‘gnar’ filled downhill trip; it’s a holiday for people who want to ride some awesome, dusty trails in a relaxed and encouraging environment, with just the right amount of gnar thrown in. The riding’s varied and there’s almost certainly something for everyone.
Oh, and don’t forget, there are beaches too! A brilliant day’s riding that ends up with a cool beer (or ice cream!) on the beach really is one of life’s greatest pleasures.