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Riding and staying in Madeira

schwaaa31

Turbo Monkey
Jul 30, 2002
1,248
831
Clinton Massachusetts
Looking for some advice for a trip to Madeira in late April. I’ll be there for a week with my family in tow. Wife and two 14 year old girls. I’ll probably only get 2, maybe 3 days of riding. Exploring with the family the rest of the time. I’ve already been in touch with Freeride Madeira about a bike and shuttles for a few days. I just want to make sure I get to ride the good stuff for the few days I get to ride. Also looking for advice on where to stay on the island that’ll be a good spot for my wife and teenage girls. Hoping for close to the ocean and possibly close enough to walk to shops/restaurants for days that I’m off riding. Is Funchal best or are there other better spots? I know a few regulars here (maybe Toodles?) have been to the island. Any monkey advice would be appreciated.
 

toodles

ridiculously corgi proportioned
Aug 24, 2004
4,659
3,557
Australia
Hey mate, I went there in May/June for the Trans Madeira. Are you taking a bike with you or hiring one? Madeira is notorious for bikes being delayed on the flight across so confirm with the airline before you go that you're taking a bike.

FWIW, I stay in Funchal before the event for a few days. Lots to do, markets, good restaurants and pubs, friendly people, awesome little beaches etc. Gondola trip up to the mountain/botanic gardens was a good chill out day. There's also a museum of sorts to Cristiano Ronaldo, so if anyone you know is a soccer fan or whatever there's that. We just stayed in an AirBNB before the event. Freeride Madeira run shuttles from there to just about the whole island.

After the event we stayed in Saccharum resort and spa for a few days in Calheta. Great venue, but not a lot near it so we ended up going back to Funchal for more riding and pubs etc.

The island isn't very big so you can get to nearly any of the trails no matter where you stay, although staying near Funchal offers the quickest access to FR Madeira HQ so it will be heaps simpler to go riding from there with them. Where they'll take you will depend on how many people are in the group and how busy they are. Hit them up and go where the weather is best on the day.

The weather varies crazily, it might be raining in the morning and dry, sunny and dusty in the afternoon no joke. There are pretty much no bad trails, but try to get a variety of spots (Machico, Funchal and over near Calheta) for example. The "best trail in the world" that they run for the Trans Madeira is legitimately one of the best trails ever, but a total prick to get to and will wipe a whole day that you could do multiple laps of other venues. I'm not sure they even shuttle it to be honest.

If they warn you about Madeiran Ice - believe them. Its incomprehensibly slippery. The FR Madeira crew are all bloody rad riders too and they'll make sure you have a good time. Its hard to recommend a particular trail spot because they're all damn good.
 

schwaaa31

Turbo Monkey
Jul 30, 2002
1,248
831
Clinton Massachusetts
I plan on renting a bike from Freeride Madeira. Last I spoke to them, they planned on having a new fleet of Cannondale Jekylls for this coming year. I’m fine with trying out something new and avoiding the hassle of getting my bike there. This is exactly the info I was looking for. Thank you! I was leaning towards staying in Funchal. Seems like the obvious choice for linking up with Freeride Madeira, shit to do for the family and a central starting point to check out the rest of the island. And good to know about the “best trail in the world”. Not sure I want to spend an entire day getting to one trail if the rest of the stuff is almost as amazing. Maybe if I was riding all week and had one day to kill. Thanks again for the tips!
 

toodles

ridiculously corgi proportioned
Aug 24, 2004
4,659
3,557
Australia
Enjoy the poncha and I hope the weather is good for you. If you or the family are into hiking there's a massive network on the island as well, and some pretty mind blowing views. Also, if you have any time on the mainland around Lisbon, make sure to go visit Sintra. It pretty amazing for sightseeing and food and there's also crazy good trails there.