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Explore the Isle of Wight on two wheels

Fri 21 Feb 2014

Explore the Isle of Wight on two wheels

Although the Isle of Wight is currently suffering from many of the climate problems that have been seen elsewhere in the UK over the last month, with wind and rain causing problems for residents, when experiencing more clement weather it is an extremely popular destination for cyclists.

From amateurs simply keen to trundle along dirt paths to lycra-clad experts training for big events, the island is a great draw for bikers thanks to its relatively traffic-free roads and spectacular vistas.

This was underlined recently by the news that charities raised a remarkable £34,000 during last year's Isle of Wight Cycling Festival, with beneficiaries including Help for Heroes, the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, the British Heart Foundation, the Woodland Trust, Wessex Heartbeat and the Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.

The money was brought in through various fundraisers taking place during the popular annual event, which will be reprised between September 13th and 28th in 2014, reports the Isle of Wight County Press.

While the Cycling Festival is undeniably a great introduction to the island's biking community, travellers need not wait until September to hit the roads.

The Isle of Wight has over 200 miles of cycle routes within an area of 147 square miles, with tracks and paths criss-crossing the countryside and making it easy for even inexperience bikers to get off the beaten track.

Notably, many of the island's dedicated cycling routes follow the path of former railway lines, offering a smooth and safe trip suitable for younger children and families.

One such path is recommended by the local tourist agency, which said: "This short route along the old railway track between Merstone and Newport features specially commissioned Troll sculptures and picnic benches along its length, with lots of wildlife-friendly installations to encourage birds and other wildlife."

For the more adventurous, challenging off-road bridleways offer an opportunity to test yourself and take a few risks.

The area's popularity with the biking fraternity means there are plenty of shops and stalls where visitors can hire a bicycle.ADNFCR-3083-ID-801696297-ADNFCR

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Southampton <> West Cowes, Isle of Wight

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