After a month working on events, October arrived and with it came the Andy Cook Cycling Autumn Bike Week.
This relaxed cycling camp has proved very popular over the last few years with riders of all abilities who want to spend a week in the sun riding their bikes in good company, before the UK winter starts.
The 2019 edition of the camp was the busiest one yet, and 35 riders came along for one of the hottest October weeks on record in Mallorca! Most days the temperature reached 30 degrees and we had some absolutely outstanding days of riding in the sunshine. It was a bit different to last year’s rain and flooding! The weather was so wonderful, that our evening briefings took place outside around the bar, which helped to encourage the social atmosphere that makes an Andy Cook Cycling holiday unique.
The Autumn Bike Week is different to our flagship Spring Camp in several ways – it is more relaxed in terms of mileage and riding speeds, the rides start a bit later in the day, but often still get back in by mid-afternoon in time to enjoy a beer in the bar before anyone even gets changed out of their lycra! The island is generally busier in the Autumn, so more bars and shops are open. However, the roads themselves are not as busy with cyclists which is sometimes an advantage! The important aspects of our bike weeks are the same however, whatever time of year it is – the attention to detail, excellent customer service, knowledge of the roads and the island, brilliant hotel facilities, plus sociable and inclusive ethos, are what helps to make Andy Cook Cycling trips so popular.
On day 2 of the 2019 week, the team found an excellent new lunch stop behind the famous Lluc Monastery – the staff beautifully looked after the large group of cyclists who suddenly descended on them for lunch, drinks, cakes and snacks! Having eaten their fill, everyone started on the gorgeous journey back down into Port Pollenca where there was going to be time for shopping at Rochelle Gilmore’s Pro’s Hub and the Pinarello Experience Bike Rooms. However, fate had other plans for the camp that day. On the stunning descent down from Lluc, a car and a goat were playing a game of chicken in the middle of the road. The goat, bored of waiting for the car to move on, ran straight out into the path of Andy Cook. The next second was a blur, but it ended with Andy on the floor – now the proud owner of an obviously broken collar bone, and what felt like a broken hip. The goat itself walked away, perfectly fine. When the support car arrived at the crash site, it was to find an extremely smooth operation, with ACC staff member Mark Wareham in full control. Several clients had stayed to help warn traffic, cars had stopped and offered high-vis vests and warning triangles, and the traffic was moving freely, if slowly, around poor Andy. Every single car or cyclist who came past the scene during the 45 minutes spent waiting for the ambulance stopped to see if they could help – an insight into the generosity of spirit of the people who live on and visit this wonderful island. In case anyone was wondering, Andy’s bike was, miraculously, absolutely fine.
Andy was transported to a small hospital close to the hotel, where his collar bone was plated and where he stayed for the remainder of the camp. The other members of the Andy Cook Cycling team took over and the week progressed as smoothly as ever, despite everyone missing Andy himself out on the roads and at the bar in the evenings! Andy made it out of hospital in time to meet everyone for a final night drink on the Friday, and then to see them all off to the airport the following morning.
Despite the incident, this camp was certainly one of our best yet in terms of rider support and camaraderie. It’s hard to explain sometimes what makes an Andy Cook Cycling Camp so special, but here’s a note from a couple of new clients who joined us this Autumn:
“Thanks to this depressing UK weather, we are looking at every doorway in our house where we have to duck under the hanging, wet Lycra just to get in each room. Yet not even this image can wipe the smile from our faces, as we replay in our memory the joys of last week. We just loved it from a slightly dodgy start [missing suitcase, mashed gears and disappointing telephone service provider] to the very last moment. We know we were truly blessed with the weather.
However, the real success is no accident. All involved in Andy Cook Cycling, family and associates, were just awesome. We want to thank you all for making us feel so welcome. We sensed a true generosity of spirit – which explains why you have such a loyal following. What a lovely group of cyclists you attract. We heard of you randomly on a Eurotunnel crossing where we had our bikes rear-mounted. This encouraged conversation with the couple in the car behind us. They told us they never miss your March camp – they loved it. So it was a no-brainer for us to try to join you. I hope we can do the same and similarly spread the word.
Yet Andy Cook Cycling wasn’t the branded travel agent we had wondered about. We were thrilled to discover there really was an Andy Cook! Can we please give a special mention to Tom and Mark who were so caring all week. How do they make it look so effortless controlling the group and entertaining us at the same time? We laughed so much.
We wish your family all the very best for the next few weeks as life is slightly different from the norm. Good luck and success with your upcoming ventures. We can’t wait to join you all again some time for more of the same.”
The dates for the 2020 Autumn Camp have just been announced, and booking is now open. Why not join us from 10th-17th October 2020 – we might just do a sweep of the island for rogue goats before any descents this time!