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info on madeira

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by steph, 5 May 2008.

  1. steph

    steph New Member

    Im finding it difficult to get information on the Island of madeira, its quite mountainous and I like to sneek my tent into secluded spots on my way, which I have become quite expert at. Can anyone give me some leeds, cant find "anything" on lonely planet for this one, they have been great in the past. So Im looking for every scrap of information in preperation for what I know will be a great trip, Ive seen this Island from the sea and it looks really nice.
    Steph
     
  2. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    Location:
    Yorkshire
    steph, I had a week's cycling there half a dozen years ago. Lots of scenery, reasonable roads but in general desperately steep. I needed to be much fitter than I was.

    I stayed here - www.mirasol.biz - with a very nice couple who run a friendly B & B in Funchal. I didn't do any walking in that week, but there is plenty of it available, from strenuous and exposed mountain hikes to very scenic paths along the sides of the levadas [irrigation channels].

    Funchal is a good starting and finishing point if you are arriving by air. Just fire off an email to Joao Horta or his son Humberto and I'm sure they'll be able to give you lots of useful info. They even drove me and my bike back to catch my plane, which was a real bonus.
     
  3. mcr

    mcr Über Member

    Location:
    North Bucks
    I go there regularly for the walking and have a good knowledge of the road network from a car passenger's perspective, but can't say I'd be tempted to cycle there. For one thing, there are only a couple of stretches of level road on the whole island (Paul de Serra & Madalena do Mar); and although a heavy spate of road-building in the last few years has hived off most of the traffic on to the largely tunnelled expressways, the older roads that are left are all bends and often severe ups and downs - you'll need legs of steel. On top of that, Madeiran drivers have got far more reckless since their newer, faster roads have opened and make British driving look quite genteel by comparison. You do see more roadies out these days, though.

    If you're into MTB-ing you may be better off - there are loads of old, mainly disused tracks up and along the mountainsides and some have even been signposted as cycle loops (Fonte do Bispo, for example, above Prazares).

    I don't think you should have any problem camping wild - away from the coast there's plenty of forest and, on the Paul de Serra, grassy pasture - finding somewhere flat enough to put up a tent might be difficult, though! Somewhere like Fanal would be great, as long as you're out of sight of the forestry house. Your only problem is likely to be inquisitive cattle and the ever-present lizards crawling into everything.

    What time of year are you going, btw?

    Hope that helps - off there myself in a week's time so will report back if anything else suggest itself.

    Matthew
     
  4. OP
    OP
    steph

    steph New Member

    Thanks for replies, I was expecting steep! I will have plenty of time though, and view it all as exercise. Cycling tracks sound good, I prefer to take the quietest route possible, dont like traffic.
    Finding a good map hard to locate at present, Regarding the season...... as soon as I have got sufficient information, one site said that there was a temperate climate all year? although I think june/aug may be too hot?
    Thanks again for pointers, will follow up with your contact, and if anything presents itself on your holiday would love to hear more.

    Steph
     
  5. mcr

    mcr Über Member

    Location:
    North Bucks
    Not much to add, though there was a cycling/running biathlon in one of the local towns last week, so there's obviously a small competitive scene.

    The only place I saw with bike spares was the branch of Sport Zone at MadeiraShopping (there's also apparently a branch at the Madeira Forum shopping centre), but the range was fairly limited.

    The best map for your purposes is probably the one in the UK-published Discovery series - it's the most detailed and up-to-date (though there are a few inaccuracies in placing of the newest roads and junctions) - and easily obtained from Stanfords. It also has all the contours!

    Matthew
     
  6. OP
    OP
    steph

    steph New Member

    Hi Metthew,
    Thanks for that, unfortunetly I'm out with a slipped disc (neck), which looks like surgery, so all on hold. Cant even ride up the street never mind around Medeira.
    Steph