On Your Bike

The Isle of Wight is promoted as Cycle Island, and it’s the ideal place to bring your trusty steed for an outdoors holiday, with stunning scenery to be seen from the undulating highways. Or go offroad across the island’s cycle-friendly footpaths and dedicated cycle-ways for some truly spectacular views and challenging riding.

Best Stays

Campsites are the traditional holiday stay for cyclists and we have plenty of these on the Isle of Wight. See our article on the Island’s campsites here. Or you might like to take a glamping break in a cute airstream caravan or quirkily converted Scout Hut or Church Hall courtesy of Vintage Vacations. Or to be almost off grid, sustainable and stylish, you might like to try one of their brand new Tiny Homes on the edge of Parkhurst Forest. Tom’s Eco Lodges in the West Wight have a wide range of options that include their new Modulogs, just perfect for two, wood cabins or large safari style tents – many of these have hot tubs.

At Glamping the Wight Way there are four safari style tents with views across the Yar valley, each with three bedrooms, two flushing toilets, wood burning stove and a wood burning water heater, solar lighting and USB points and handmade wooden furniture mainly sourced from the island. Meadow Escape at Sibbicks Farm near Ventnor is a large safari tent set within its own meadow, with two good sized bedrooms, one with king size bed and one with bunk beds. And at Windmill Campersite, behind Carisbrooke Castle, you have a whole host of weird and sometimes wacky choices of accommodation, from a converted lorry with pipe organ in the kitchen, to converted Westland helicopter that has a ‘honeymoon’ bedroom (and one small other), and bucket and glass holders for your Champagne in the (working) cockpit.

Hotels are usually more than happy to accommodate cyclists, and the Seaview Hotel even has a fleet of electric bikes available to guests. Luccombe Hall Country House Hotel offers cycle breaks to let you explore the island at your own pace along with secure under cover bicycle storage. The Caledon Guest House in Cowes is right on the round the island cycle route, ideal for those completing the famous Isle of Wight Randonee, and has secure cycle storage for up to 12 bikes. Bring your bike over on the Red Funnel Car Ferry and you get you get a 15% car ferry discount code from them if you are bringing the bikes on your car.

Pitstops

There are plenty of lovely country pubs to stop off at when exploring the Isle of Wight by bike, and many have dedicated cycle racks for your bikes. The Buddle in Niton is one such pub, with views across to the sea and some spectacular scenery in the near vicinity. In the East the Crab and Lobster has fab views over Bembridge Ledges and specialises in seafood. This area is ideal for a flat cycle, but you can also use the Crab and Lobster as your Holy Grail at the end of a trail across the downs from Newport – a very hilly ride, but totally exhilarating. The Spyglass in Ventnor is a great journey’s end after cycling down the winding hills into this pretty vintage bay, but beware, you’re going to have to cycle (push) your bike all the way back up to the top.

In the north, the Watersedge in Gurnard has a cycle rack close by, and views across the Solent. They do great breakfasts, but also lunch and early supper. Cycle from here west to Newtown and the pretty country roads to Shalfleet and the west Wight, and stop off in Yarmouth at one of their many hostelries: The Bugle, The Wheatsheaf, The King’s Head or push the boat out and dine in the garden of The George Hotel. Cycle racks are available in the square. 

Cycle Hire

Your best bet is to get a Red Funnel Red Jet to Cowes, from Southampton, and pick up a bike in Cowes. There are two hire companies here: Isle Cycle are just across the road from the ferry in Terminus Road and have a wide range of equipment from adult mountain bikes to tandems, kiddies bikes, tag-a-longs, child seats and even trailers.  All are supplied with helmets and locks & tools, and they have special family discounts. Isle Cycle also has a shop in Sandown and can deliver island-wide. 

Two Elements in Bath Road, is just a short walk from the Red Jet terminal and have a wide selection of mountain bikes for hire, but only adult bikes. This seriously cool shop also has stand up paddle boards for hire and they retail Red Paddle Board co. inflatable boards and Mystic technical clothing, plus they offer island roasted coffee to customers.

Tav Cycles in Ryde also offer cycle hire as do Sandown Bicycle and Beach Hire, Wight Cycle Hire in Yarmouth and Routefifty7 in Shanklin.

Jo Macaulay

29 August 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles

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