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It’s around this time of year, that I realise quite how good the Isle of Wight is for cycling. The Island plays host to many cycling events throughout the season, and the smiling faces of the riders taking part reminds me that I have a pretty special backdrop for my daily rides.

It’s not just the sportives and races that the Island is great for though; one thing that I’ve really noticed this year, is how many families are out enjoying the riding on the Isle of Wight, too. It’s no surprise really, because the traffic-free cycle routes, quiet lanes and warm climate, mean the Isle of Wight is very attractive to those looking for safe and easy riding.

So, in this blog, I thought I would talk more about the opportunities for family riding on the Island, by suggesting two routes that are easy to get to from the ferry terminals. And don’t forget, you can bring your bikes over for free on all Wightlink routes!

Easy Pedalling in The West Wight

My first route is suitable for anyone, even those with young families and those that are inexperienced on a bike. It begins in the town of Yarmouth, which makes a great starting point because it has a large car park, as well as the vehicle ferry terminal in the centre of town. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants for refreshment, too.

From Yarmouth, the route follows the disused railway line alongside the Western Yar river, through to Freshwater. This is a traffic-free and shaded route, which is perfect for a summer cycle. Look out for the wildlife and enjoy the views!

When you arrive in Freshwater, there is an opportunity for a refreshment stop at the ‘End of The Line’ café, before getting back in the saddle for the second half of the ride.

The route back to Yarmouth uses a quiet lane that takes you back through to Thorley, and then rejoins the disused railway line for the last section back to Yarmouth. It’s an ideal place for children to get comfortable riding on the road, and there are some great sights along the way.

The route is around 7 miles in total, but with very little climbing or descending. It is the perfect afternoon bimble!

Download a map of the Yarmouth to Freshwater cycling route.

The pretty harbour town of Yarmouth is a great place to start off your family ride

The pretty harbour town of Yarmouth is a great place to start off your family ride

Exploring the East Wight from Ryde

The eastern side of the Isle of Wight is home to a whole host of great roads, trails and cycle tracks for family riding. This route is medium in difficulty, and at 15 miles long it will be more suited to those families that have a fair bit of experience on a bike.

The route begins at the western end of Ryde Esplanade, before heading along the seafront before heading inland through Ashey. Here you will join some leafy lanes through woodlands.

After Ashey, you’ll travel west towards Havenstreet, home to the Island’s Steam Railway, Follow the trail across Arreton Down onto Mersley Lane where you can find some amazing countryside views.

From there, you’ll join the former railway line from Newchurch, through Alverstone and into Adgestone where you can make a stop off and take a tour of the vineyards. After passing Adgestone, you’ll be on your way into Brading where, if you or the kids are getting tired, you can jump on the Island Line train that will take you back to Ryde.

Once you’ve passed through the small town of Brading, you’re on the way back to base with a leisurely ride back to Upton.

With a fair bit of climbing (and descending), this is a route that is probably better for the fit and adventurous family. With its start in Ryde, you could easily link up with it from the catamaran terminal, or join it part-way at Fishbourne vehicle ferry terminal. Alternatively, Ryde is host to a whole selection of long-stay car parks, so you could park up and ride!

Download a map of the Ryde to Brading cycling route.

Some great sights, great traffic-free cycle paths and some fun off-road descents make these two routes varied, interesting and ideal for the whole family to enjoy!

Both these routes provide fantastic cycling at any time of the year, and with great views over the Island countryside, they are a pleasure to cycle. There’s a whole host of other routes you can try out too. Make the most of what the Island has to offer by getting out in the great outdoors with your family … go explore!

Picturesque Quarr Abbey that sits just outside of Ryde © Julian Winslow

Picturesque Quarr Abbey that sits just outside of Ryde © Julian Winslow


Thanks for reading! I really enjoyed getting out on two wheels and researching this article. If you’re looking for a spot of lunch whilst out on these rides then I suggest stopping off at Quarr Abbey tea shop – the cake comes highly recommended!

Tim Wiggins

...written by Tim

Tim is a keen road cyclist, mountain biker and tourer who's ridden nearly every road, trail and cycle track on the Island - he does live there after all! Whilst his bicycle racing and writing now takes him all over Europe, and further afield, he still fondly credits the Isle of Wight as his favourite place to ride a bike.

Read more of Tim's posts here...

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