Video: Riding in Stunning Madeira with the Portuguese National DH Champion

Dec 28, 2018 at 16:15
by Twentyfourmedia  
Views: 13,080    Faves: 74    Comments: 6




After a successful season winning my tenth national downhill title and Transmadeira. I came to Madeira to relax and have an adventure.


Not worrying about racing, scheduling or winning. Just riding, eating, exploring and have fun before setting new goals for next season!


Right in the middle of the Atlantic, the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo are a heaven of natural beauty. The exotic colours of the flowers stand out from among the blue sea and the emerald green vegetation. This is an archipelago where two-thirds are a protected area and where the largest Laurissilva forest in the world is located.


Madeira Island lives off tourism, a highly important industry that is one of the main sources of economy. The number of tourists that visit this pearl of the Atlantic increases from year to year and with that, brought a business opportunities for people around biking, creating mountain bike companies, exploring all the trails and showing a different, young and active tourism that Madeira wasn’t known at all, but had all that it needed to be a success. Nowadays everything is different and the “boom” in mountain bike tourism and racing is growing every year.


The people of Madeira “Madeirenses” are welcoming and hospitable, which reflects the laid-back and generous nature of the Portuguese.


I was born in Ponta do Pargo, in council of Calheta, that is on the westernmost tip of the island. For me, it is where are the most fun and fast trails. In the past years, a lot of filming and projects with international riders has been done. In Madeira, we have a really good sunset, but in Ponta do Pargo the sun goes down in front of the famous lighthouse with some of the best and incredible sunsets in the world.



The Atlantic Ocean is always in the background of almost every trail. And almost every trail finish in a cliff with an amazing view where you can enjoy the sunset!


In the off-season, it's always more relaxed and I can enjoy more with all the people that are always cheering for me at the races. It was good to see some fans in Porto Santo, chat a little bit and encourage them also to follow their dreams!


Because of all these facts, it wasn’t a surprise for me when Madeira won for the fifth time as the best insular destination in Europe by the World Travels awards in 2018.




The Farmers' Market or in Portuguese “Mercado dos Lavradores” is where you gonna see amazing fresh fish and some exotic fruits. Here you will find a feast of colours, sounds, smells and people.



The food is really good! The only downside is that makes me a little bit fatter because I eat too much! LOL! I like to enjoy some “bolo do caco”, “lapas grelhadas” and some “espetada”, but be careful with the famous drink “Poncha”! It's tasty but strong!


The riding is one of the most spectacular, unbelievable and challenging thing you can find. There’s a big network of trails that you only gonna find with a local guide, with terrain changing from rocks, to roots and loamy. A huge variety of riding is available and is common to find mud and dust on the same day, often on the same downhill.

Just be careful with “Cerro” in winter. It's a Madeira kind of terrain that we say for the tourists as “Black ice”. There’s no grip on it, especially when is shinning. When you see some, just don’t turn or brake! Go straight and only turn in berms or side of the trail and you will be fine. LOL


We took the boat “Lobo Marinho” to Porto Santo to spend 2 days there. It´s 2 hours time and you will end in a completely different island.


The island is known for its large fine yellow sandy beach, stretching close to 9 km, running along the island’s entire southern coastline, between the harbour and Calheta. The riding here is more natural, but with a lot of potential. Especially if you are thinking explore and have a good time on your own! It´s really calm and peaceful.


The day before we leave, I had the brilliant idea to wake up at 5h45am to see the Sunrise in one of the caves in Pico de Ana Ferreira. João from TwentyFourMedia wasn’t too happy about it, but as soon the sun started to show off, it was all worth it. One amazing sunrise for the books!


“View of the cave watching the sunrise“


“For some it´s paradise, but for me, this is home!” Emanuel Pombo


38 Comments

  • + 2
 I just spent Xmas over there. Amazing place. Went on a couple rides with Lokolokomadeira, Marco and Sergio were cool knowledgeable guides. We even met Pombo on the trails. Definitely going back and bringing my own bike next time!
  • + 1
 It's such a sick place. Hard to get to from BC though!
  • + 1
 @derekisrad: yeah, kinda... I had a couple of days in London, and it was over the Xmas holidays, so I got sketched out about bringing my precious bike. The rental from Lokolokomadeira was aight. I kicked the living shit out of the poor thing..
  • + 2
 Maybe here someone can shed some light on the 2000€ fine for riding without permission on trails?

ifcn.madeira.gov.pt/images/IFCN/0564905655.pdf

ifcn.madeira.gov.pt/servicos/servicos-on-line.html
  • + 1
 Where are you seeing that?

I quickly scanned it and it refers to licenses for vehicles (ie cars, tractors etc) mostly to do with agriculture.

ifcn.madeira.gov.pt/canyoning/BTT/btt_map.php?estado=btt_form_map

According to the map and most of the trail are 100% open.
  • + 3
 Thst's mostly to avoid abuse of motorized vehicles on natural reserves (and regulate the species you can plant and prevent damage related to agriculture as muletron mentioned)

That being said, it does mention on article 4 (line 1-b) that's forbidden to use ANY vehicle on Natural Reserves (which is where many trails are) and the sanctions (article 12) say there's a fine from 50 to 3700 euros. Never heard of anyone being fined for riding a bike but I'm pretty sure that even if this were upheld the fine for a bike would never be more than 50eur.

As with anything its a delicate balance, Madeira main industry is Tourism, but as it gets more and more atention related to mtb tourism and there's an increasing number of people using these areas maybe at some point there will be some annoyances.
  • + 1
 I was in Madeira last Summer. Our gide (the awesome Vitor from BikeBus) told us that if we wanted to ride the trails in the north we would for sure need a permit (we never got to do it because I managed to mess up an ankle during a high-speed dismount). Come think about it, we also pretended not to be riding in the Poiso area once that we ran into some cops/rangers, so there might be some truth into it.
  • + 1
 awesome video. can anyone who knows tell me, are the trails in madeira almost all shuttles or are there trails you can pedal up? i mean like leave your apartment, get on your bike and ride. i'm particularly interested in funchal and camara de lobos. thanks!
  • + 2
 I personally wouldn’t do that. A lot of the trails are a bit higher up the mountain, so you’ll spend a lot of time and energy riding up (and down) the streets. You should either shuttle or get a rental car and first drive a bit before starting your ride. In the last case you should also know your way around, since trails are not marked.
  • + 5
 The hills are savage, the terrain steep long and punishing that would leave you exhausted to enjoy going down. I recommend using the FreerideMadeira guys, tell them what kind of riding you want and they will plan your whole day with awesome guides. Pick you up from the hotel, bring you to the top and collect you at the bottom. It is honestly the most spectacular place for MTB I've ever been to.
  • + 2
 We planned to do a couple of pedal days before we went there. We found out on the first day there was no chance! It would be a waste of time. The road climbs are so steep in places. Apart from the odd local roadie no one was pedalling up Amazing variety of techinal trails there though. Awesome place.
  • + 1
 Thank you. This is very helpful, if a bit discouraging. I've been thinking about moving to Madeira permanently, but only being able to do shuttles isn't really what I want.
  • + 2
 @VelkePivo:
In that case you could (dare I say it) get an e-bike and pedal around yourself. In Europe it’s not as controversial as in the US...
  • + 2
 the roads to get to the trails are mega steep and their are different sides to the island get hold of madeira freeride they will take ya.
  • + 2
 @VelkePivo: My first ride there a ride buddy hooked me up with his friend: a local XC guy. We started from Funchal wich isn't the best place but we climbed almost 1000m on tarmac just to get to the trails, then you'll have to climb some more to get down on trails.
  • + 1
 @cvoc: interesting suggestion. thank you.
  • + 2
 I went a couple of years back and used Freeride Madeira - if recommend them highly. However, we did go for an explore the day before and happened on the EWS track up by the radar station having driven up in a rental car. It was awesome fun on the way down, but a big road slog back up. It's doable but tough, so I'd say it depends on your fitness...
  • + 2
 @VelkePivo: you can do that in Terras de Bouro -InNature in the north of Portugal! Have a check and if you need, I can fin you some guides
  • + 2
 Talk to the kids at @freeridemadeira They took me to all sorts of sweet spots to ride all over the island. Save your energy for the sweet, sweet single track!
  • + 1
 @derekisrad: I'm very familiar with them. Thanks. But I like to ride 4-7 times a week. I can't afford to pay every time I ride
  • + 1
 @chillescarpe: totally agree, I did a day with freeride madeira this summer, brilliant.
  • + 3
 Maybe the trans maderia would be the ultimate tour of the island.....this place looks so beautiful!
  • + 2
 That music speaks to me! It says, "if you can have cocktails and dance with some pretty women, then you can certainly send some 20 ft booters."
  • + 2
 Cool video in a beautiful country. The exposure on some of those trails freaked me out though.
  • + 1
 Madeira is just SPECTACULAR !!! I have been to this island for two consecutive summers (2017 & 201Cool .
  • + 2
 One of the top places on my list of places I want to visit with my bike Smile
  • + 2
 I need to go back noooooooowwwwwwwwww
  • + 1
 Am I alone in thinking great video ruined by the song?
  • + 1
 Bucket list riding destination!
  • + 2
 Top.
Nice work guys Wink
  • + 1
 Yes Pombo! Can't wait to get out again soon.
  • + 1
 Amazing! ????????????????????????
  • + 1
 nice video, poor distrative music
  • + 1
 well done!!
  • + 0
 Portugal rulezzz!!!!!! Nice one 24M and Pombo!
  • + 1
 ESPECTÁCULO!!!!
  • + 0
 PROUD TO BE TUGA!! Granda pombo e granda João pah!!!
  • + 1
 lucky you pal !!!

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