“The Isle of Wight might lay claim to being the sunniest place in Britain, but it is also British. It is fairly inevitable then, that at some time you’ll encounter a wet and windy day, when you had planned to get out and ride.
There’s no reason to hibernate though. With a bit of local knowledge and the right kit, you can still have a great ride, whatever the weather.
In this post, I thought I would feature three routes that are particularly good for ‘all-weather’ riding on the Island.
In autumn gales and rain showers, it is worth planning a route that stays off the more exposed roads and climbs on the Island. This route between Brighstone and Chale is ideal, and takes you down the quiet back lanes of the West Wight.
The small lanes provide shelter from the wind behind hedgerows, but still retain the great views out over the Military Road, to the English Channel and beyond. A lot of the lanes have also been newly resurfaced, which means they drain well and provide a safe surface for riding.
If you fancy a lunch stop en-route, then The Wight Mouse will do a great warming home-cooked meal. A great option if you’re waiting out a passing shower.
Enjoy the stunning West Wight views
If you’d prefer to keep off the roads when the weather is bad, then this route between Cowes, Newport and East Cowes, is perfect.
From East Cowes, you follow the Round the Island route at first, and will enjoy a leg-warming climb up to Whippingham, with views out over the River Medina.
From Whippingham, you join up with the Island’s cycle path network, which takes you on traffic-free route through to the Town Quay at Newport.
You could stop for refreshments at The Bargeman’s Rest, before linking up with the Newport to Cowes cycle track, for the final leg of the ride. Again a traffic-free path, this takes you on an easy pedal back up the Medina to Cowes; from where it is just a short hop on the chain ferry, back to your starting point at East Cowes.
This is a relaxing route, with good road/path surfaces, as well as fairly easy riding terrain. In bad weather, the potential for a break at the halfway point in Newport is always good too!
Enjoy all-weather cycling across the Isle of Wight
My third recommended route for all-weather cycling starts and finishes in Ryde, and involves a bit more climbing and scenic downland riding, than the first two options.
Doing the route in an anti-clockwise direction, you head out of Ryde towards Upton Cross. From here, you head towards Havenstreet, and turn onto the newly resurfaced Rowlands Lane. This rolling tree-lined lane, takes you up onto the downs, where you’ll have great views of Ryde, Sandown and the East Wight.
After stopping to enjoy the view at the top, you can roll down the hill for a proper break at the Garlic Farm Shop (they do cake and coffee as well as garlic bread!).
Once down in the valley, you link up with the traffic-free Newport to Sandown cycle track, and follow this through to Longwood Lane. It is then up through the lanes, and over the downs to Brading (another ideal point for a coffee stop).
If the weather is really bad, you could opt to take the train back to Ryde from Brading. If you choose to soldier on though, it is a very pleasant route along Green Lane, then back up to Upton Cross, before descending into Ryde.
Your legs will know you’ve done some work by the end of this route, but it does reward you with spectacular views, and working your way up those hills will undoubtedly keep you warm.
Whether it’s a gentle spin around the West Wight lanes, or a more energetic ride over the East Wight downlands; all these three routes are great, whatever the weather.”
Thanks for reading! We all know the weather in the UK can be a bit unpredictable but I hope this article shows there’s never a bad time to get out on two wheels on the Island!
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