At home in the states, long Sunday bike rides have been a staple of my training regime. Sundays are often a time for church, for family and a time to close down the shop. While I often have to work on Saturdays, it’s always easier to turn off the phone and escape on Sundays.
On holiday in Spain there is no particular reason to do a long ride on a Sunday, but one weekend I did. Like in the U.S. the roads are a little quieter and it’s more common to see other cyclists and even cycling clubs out and about.
I was probably aiming for at least 4-5 hours and at some point I needed some water and maybe even a little food. This is the part of the ride where you convince yourself that a can of Coke and a Snickers are training food and the sugar rush is just the extra bit you need to get you home. Unfortunately, that gas station mini- mart you have passed every day this week isn’t open today. It’s Sunday. And things are closed on Sundays in Spain.
In the United States we have a history of “blue laws” which once prohibited many businesses from operating on Sundays. These are mostly gone, but Sunday closures remain common. I would never expect a bank, government office, the post office or the liquor store to be open on a Sunday.
What is closed on Sundays in Spain?
But a gas station? I’m used to those being open seven days a week and 24 hours a day or close enough.
Now it’s certainly possible to buy gas in Palma on a Sunday and I’m sure there are a few other options available around the island, but these are exceptions and not the rule. Cafes often open in some of the smaller towns on Sundays and a grocery store might have limited hours, but it’s better to assume everything is closed unless you confirm otherwise.
I found myself in the middle of the Mallorcan countryside at a gas station with a chain across the driveway entrance and darkened windows, resting a bit until it’s scheduled opening on Monday morning. I had a few swallows of water left and dozens of kilometers to ride home.
Finally, I found a gas station open that Sunday afternoon. It was probably in Can Picafort but it could have been Alcudia and it was closer to my destination than I would have planned. I had enough money for a Coke, some bottled water and probably a Snickers.
As I hit the road again, I had a new appreciation for the “stop and robs” I had taken for granted for so many years.