There are many things to love about the Isle of Wight; from its ease of access to the mainland (obviously via Wightlink Ferries), through to its stunning coastline, the Island makes it easy to have a great time there. In just a few days visit we discovered plenty of attractions for all the family to enjoy, from coastal walks and military installations up at the Needles, to adventure parks, and tree climbing in Ryde – there’s plenty of things to keep the young-ones (and not so young!) occupied!
But, for the cyclist, the IoW contains so much more, it’s got a plethora of the magical qualities that make riding so much fun. On the southern coast is the Military Road, a majestic winding strip of tarmac that frees the rider from all the cares in the world. Move inland and we are greeted by a long series of rolling hills which subject the rider to as much climbing as some of the more alpine countries.
Choose your ride timing carefully and you can spend most of your day effectively car-free, the traffic levels on the IoW can be staggering in their quietness, with the roads being silent except for the hum of your own tyres and the sound of your breathing as you fight against gravity.
Whilst it’s highly likely you won’t see many cars on the roads there are plenty of cyclists about, and, perhaps because of the lack of cars around, they are all of the hand-waving variety, all happy to engage with other riders on the roads – it’s an inclusive sort of place with all manner of bikes being on display.
Such is the depth and scope for great riding that it’s possible that the hardest part of any ride on the IoW could come down to choosing just where to go! It really does feel as if you are spoilt for choice!
The island is small but perfectly formed, you could choose to ride the whole thing in one day, or spend it focused on one particular area and discover a network of criss-crossing back roads, purpose-built for fun-delivery!
I particularly enjoyed the southern coastal routes, starting up at the Needles and moving along to Ventnor. With a mixture of historical interest and spectacular scenery the route was as impressive as it was challenging.
Sunrise on the coast is always a special occasion, and being able to ride on car-free roads at 6am was an absolute joy, just taking in the views and being alone with my thoughts was the best way to start the day. With the road following the sea’s edge so closely there’s always plenty of scope to nip off-road and head to the cliff’s, soaking up the sights and sounds of the waves below before heading back onwards with the ride.
I’d never really considered the Isle of Wight as a holiday destination before, either for a weekend or longer, and if truth be told, I’d not looked so close to the shore, which seeing as I’ve lived over 20 years in nearby Dorset seems remiss of me. But that’s changed now, the island absolutely delivered a great weekend of fun, food, and of course bike riding! It may lack the scale of a Mount Teide, or Zoncolan, but don’t overlook it with wandering eyes, the Isle of Wight managed to provide more than enough hills, with smooth roads, and fantastic views!
With a 2 hour drive from home, followed by a simple and seamless ferry journey across the Solent with Wightlink, the whole travelling experience was plain sailing (sorry), and far easier than jetting off abroad – at a fraction of the cost!
If you are looking for a weekend of fantastic cycling and family fun, with all the hassle of flying taken away, then a short break with Wightlink ferries to the Isle of Wight can provide rest, relaxation, and hill repeats aplenty!
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