Cycling in Madeira has taken off with several bike companies offering competitively priced package deals on bike hire and guided bike tours around the island. With some ninety cycling routes ranging from 1.49 miles to the extreme 121.19-mile Madeira Mountain Challenge, cycling has never been so accessible or exhilarating. But it is not just road cycling as the islands narrow twisting paths, levadas, woods and plains all provide the perfect setting for Mountain bikers, BTT, Down-hill and Cross-country enthusiasts.
Not only has the island become a mecca for cycling enthusiasts, Madeira hosts a wide selection of international events for all ages including the Around Madeira by Bicycle (Volta a Madeira em Biciclete), Downhill Madeira Championship, Enduro Madeira Cup, XCO Madeira Cup, the Madeira Road Championship and the CE#2 – Escolas Ciclismo (School race). Night races include the Funchal Night Race.
BTT: Also known as Mountain Biking or MBT, this sport is becoming increasingly popular in Madeira especially due to the success of BTT/Enduro champion, Emanuel Pombo, who is regarded as Madeira’s and Portugal’s most successful Mountain Biker. The islands steep and twisty terrain is ideal for adrenaline fuelled and nature loving mountain bikers. The challenge is not just the steep ascents and descents but the abundant and ever-changing scenery from mountain paths, leafy Laurissilva Forests, open plains and narrow rocky, winding goat tracks. It’s dramatic, challenging and ultimately satisfying. Due to the popularity of the sport, several companies including MTB – Madeira Trails and Bikes, Freeride and E-Bike Madeira all cater for BTT enthusiasts, providing a first-class service and introduction into Mountain Biking, Madeira style!
Downhill (DHI): As they say, if you must go up then you sure must come down! And like BTT, Downhill is a very popular adrenaline-fuelled sport as Madeiran cyclist Emanuel Pombo knows. This is cycling by the skin of your teeth as you blast your way down narrow, twisty, rocky pathways, levada paths and open plains, all designed to test a riders’ skills, determination and experience, but hey, what a way to discover Madeira! The island plays host to a number of competitions including the Blackline DHI Madeira Cup, the Schools BTT competition and the Downhill Avalanche Marathon.
Enduro: May still be in its infancy, but it has taken Madeira by storm. Organised by the Clube Caniço Riders and Freeride Madeira, mountain biking has never been so good especially as Madeira with its steep mountain paths, breathtaking scenery and dramatic ascents, tunnels and steep, narrow twisting descents make it an ideal ‘Enduro’ destination. Madeiran BTT rider, Emanuel Pombo switched from BTT to Enduro in 2016 winning the National Enduro Cup in 2016 and 2017. Madeira’s competition circuit includes the 40km Madeira Enduro Cup, CSMEduro, Sandokan Enduro as well as the Campeonato Nacional Enduro and the annual Mountain Bike Meeting that takes place on the north coast of the island.
Cross Country: Undoubtedly Cross country is exciting with a plethora of obstacles and varying gradients both up and downhill to negotiate. Riders compete on a pre-designed course providing a variety of challenges to the cyclist. Cross Country is seen to focus more on physical strength and endurance rather than technicalities creating great appeal across all ages, genders and ability. Madeira also hosts several competitions including several Madeira Cross Country races held throughout the island including Prazeres and Bica da Cana, as well as school competitions.