Isle of Wight, a cycling paradise

Islands are frequently excellent places to explore on bikes, and none more so than the Isle of Wight. Easy to get to (the short ferry crossing is only 40 minutes), great for a one-day circle of the whole island (65 miles) for those who can nip over at a weekend, or even better to linger over several days with shorter rides, building in time to visit some of the many interesting little corners.

the-needles-iow

The Needles: tandem ride 20 miles

 

After three days, we had managed two tandem rides of 20 miles each, and I fitted in a solo ride of 60 miles encircling the island. Flat?……it certainly is not! The terrain is varied and challenging, especially on the south of the island, and for those who like traffic-free environments, there are miles of old rail tracks that have been converted into cycle paths, and many are well surfaced and a pleasure to ride.

We enjoyed getting a close look at the The Needles, having lunch gazing over the Solent at Yarmouth, taking in the Old Town Hall at Newtown and the Roman Villa near Brading. We enjoyed especially sitting having a coffee on the platform of the old Victorian train station in Sandown, and watching the comings and goings of the re-cycled London Underground trains now being used on the IOW. Before the Beeching cuts in the 1960s, the whole island was connected by railways, but all that remains now is the short line between Shanklin and Ryde.

sunshine-trail

Sunshine Trail: tandem ride 20 miles

 

The end-of-season Bestival jamboree was taking place while we were there, and when I stopped for refreshments at Cowes, I found myself surrounded by hundreds of 20-somethings, many wearing wellies, foraging for food. This last of the year’s big music festivals can cater for up to 50,000 campers. I’m sure the islanders both love them and hate them in equal measure.

iow-ring

IOW ring: solo ride 60 miles

 

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 18, 2016, in Cycling UK and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Jonathan Belbin

    One of those ‘Bestival twenty-somethings’ was Natalie Belbin!

  2. I cycled around the Isle of Wight just a few weekends ago and loved it (I blogged about my experience on http://readingrunningcycling.wordpress.com if you’re interested!). But one of the things I found was a LOT of angry drivers who were dangerous for cyclists – did you experience anything similar? I’m interested to know if we just had a bad day for it!

    • On the contrary, our experience was very positive. I could imagine sunny Sundays are a problem, when hordes of cyclists and bikers go over for the day.

      • On this particular day it was pouring with rain! But the number of cars screeching through those tiny narrow country lanes and beeping their horns was unbelievable. Never mind, it was a great day out anyway.

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