Love cycling? Discover the Isle of Wight - the UK’s cycling mecca
Love cycling? Fancy a getaway with breath taking scenery, quiet country lanes and loads of brand new tarmac? The Isle of Wight is fast being discovered as the UK’s answer to Mallorca with cycling routes on or off road to suit everyone from spandex clad pelotons to those of us who just love to potter and soak in the views.
The island has a 60 mile circumnavigation route around the quieter roads that is permanently signposted and is a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike. It’s the perfect way to explore the island at your own pace and with Visit IOW’s brilliant Bicycle Island initiative there are maps and adventures already planned out for you, outlining over 500 miles of cycle paths, routes, byways and bridleways.
Helpfully it also pinpoints who to go to when you find yourself with a dodgy derailleur, bodged brakes and heaven forbid a suspect saddle fit, but you can’t go wrong contacting the services of Sean the Cyclist if you find yourself the wrong side of Blackgang without an inner tube.
When to visit?
May is a lovely month that signals the start of our cycling season. Each year the Wayfarer Cycle Touring Club organise the IOW Randonnee on the bank holiday Sunday which follows a circular route around the island with a choice of either 100km or 55km events. It’s refreshing on a couple of counts, firstly it’s FREE and secondly I challenge you to find another event that offers as many tea, coffee and cake stops. Most of the 3000 participants finish heavier than when they started.
In July as part of the IOW Running Festival, Spy Velo host the Long Weekend which offers a timed Sportive as part of a weekend of running and triathlon in the stunning west Wight. 56 miles over a gruelling undulating course that takes in some iconic island roads and climbs which if you love competitive cycling is a must for your diary.
Late September the IW Cycle Festival hit the island’s roads, the highlights of which include the Old School Riki’s Retro Ride, which is an easy 40 miles on your old school machine in fancy dress, and on the Sunday there’s the choice between a 100 mile or 50 mile sportive which starts from Cowes.
Luggage drop services
If you fancy touring our island for a few days there are some luggage drop companies that will pick up your bags from your morning venue and drop them off at your evening destination, leaving you free and light to hit the trails of your choice. The helpful staff will meet you as you arrive on the ferry. You may also wish to hook up with a friendly local cycling club to enjoy some caulkhead banter - Wight Tri have Sunday T-stop rides once a month and the Wayfarer Cycling Touring Club will always make you welcome.
Off road cycling
Mountain bike riders may want to find a couple of days to hang out at Cheverton Farm which offers a permanent cross country track for all abilities and tastes but especially for those of us who look for tight twisty single tracks, jumps and technical descents along chalky trails.
Isle of Wight - A cyclers paradise
Electric bike, mountain bike, cyclocross, or road bike - the IOW has something for everyone who reckons that two wheels are more fun than four and those of us who enjoy keeping our carbon footprint low. Come love our eco-island by leaving your car on the mainland and getting on your bike and riding out.
16 August 2017