The first EWS Travel trip of 2020 is in the bag and it’s safe to say that Madeira did not disappoint. Madeira is undoubtedly one of those places that seems to get its hooks into people. It has a mountain bike scene which is growing faster than just about anywhere else on earth and whatever your preferred style of riding, if you like going off-road on two-wheels there will be something for you. The fact that it will usually come with stunning views of the ocean and a glass of poncha at the end of the day only adds to things.
The idea behind EWS Travel was to provide riders with the opportunity to experience some of the amazing locations, trails and inspiring mountain bike scenes that the series visits throughout the year but outside of the race environment. It’s a chance to explore, relax and ride. A few weeks ago a group of mountain bikers from Finland, the Netherlands, Israel, Germany and the USA headed to Madeira to do just that.
Having experienced local guides on hand is an essential part of experiencing the best riding that Madeira has to offer. Pic: H+I Adventures
Being EWS Travel however, this wasn’t going to be simply a case of ‘turn up, ride, go home’. Along with the experience of our partners at H+I Adventures the riders would have Jon Fernandes, the man behind building so many of the trails and who is the central organiser for the EWS rounds on the island, as their guide. There was a pro photo shoot to attend, the historic city of Funchal to explore, a trail building masterclass and perhaps the jewel in the crown; a UNESCO World Heritage site to ride through.
“An amazing diversity of trails with an excellent guide who not only knew all the best trails but probably also helped in the building of most of them as well as a shuttle driver with an allergy for stains. Superb lunches with honest local food and last but not least; most of the trails were downhill only ... from simple flowy, to muddy, rooty, rocky and technical. If you ever wanted to visit a quiet and relaxed place and love to ride enduro trails then this is the trip you don’t want to miss.”
Dick on H+I Adventures
The ancient forests of Madeira offer some stellar trail riding whilst remaining carefully protected. Pic H+I Adventures
This was all in amongst a busy seven days of riding including the Poiso, Levada Tunnels and Machico trails - many of which appeared on the thrilling 2019 running of the Enduro World Series race. Given its position in the middle of the North Atlantic, Madeira doesn’t really have a single weather system. Instead, it’s more of a collection of microclimates. Staying on top of these and working out where would be best to ride next was down to Jon. Having ridden here for years he was more than on top of.
“The trip itself was an amazing experience. The trails were built by the guide and featured every kind of riding from exposed ridges, techy gnar, jump lines, Pacific Northwest flow and one of a kind Madeira flavor. The food was all amazing from local spots that tourists miss. The crew that the company attracts were all awesome, one of kind mountain bike spirits from across the globe.”
Sam on H+I Adventures
The EWS Travel Madeira package features seven days of riding. Pic: H+I Adventures
Madeira isn’t just content with being somewhere which is great to go and ride now - it wants to stay that way for a long time. They employ full-time local trail builders and everything around racing and riding on the island feeds back in some way to maintaining sustainability when it comes to trail maintenance and developing new singletrack. With that in mind,13% of the EWS Travel trip costs are put straight back into employing those builders.
Fans of the Enduro World Series will recognise this corner as one of the most iconic on the island. Pic: H+I Adventures
“If you are looking for a high level of trails that are perfectly built for speed, technical challenges and fun with magnificent sceneries, delicious food, professional guide and amazing people – you must book this trip!”
Kfir on H+I Adventures
The EWS Travel group on their way towards another spell-binding Madieran descent. Pic: H+I Adventures
If you are keen to discover Madeira’s trail riding gems for yourself then there are two more EWS Travel trips heading to the island later in the year still available - but hurry, spaces are limited! EWS Travel also currently runs trips to one of the undisputed powerhouses of enduro riding - Finale Ligure. Head over to the site to see how you can experience so much more than ‘just’ a riding holiday.