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Island cycling

Cycling on the Isle of Wight

Cycling is a fun, healthy and adventurous way to explore the Isle of Wight. With plenty of cycle paths varying in length and terrain, it’s no surprise that the IOW is often referred to as the Bicycle Island, and people regularly visit here for this reason alone.

It takes as little as 22 minutes from Portsmouth to get you and bike across the Solent and, what’s more, bikes comes free with Wightlink when you travel as a foot passenger.

Isle of Wight cycle routes

The Isle of Wight is tailor-made for great cycling, with over 200 miles of cycle routes through some of the most scenic countryside in the UK.

Cycle tracks across the Island cater for all abilities, with everything from short, road-based trails through to tough, hilly terrain on longer tracks.

A popular journey choice for experienced cyclists is to loop the entirety of the IOW. The full round the Island cycle route is about 65 miles long and cycling around the Isle of Wight would take a good cyclist around six hours, but of course your pace could be very different.

See some of our favourite routes below or explore the full range of Island cycle paths on our Explorer interactive map.

Explore IOW cycle routes
Three of our favourite bicycle routes

Sandown

A straightforward coastal route that is great for a short, family cycle ride.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: Five miles
  • Duration: 25 minutes
Sandown

Yarmouth to Freshwater

A beautifully scenic route that takes in some of the best views across West Wight.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: Nine miles
  • Duration: 45 minutes
Yarmouth to Freshwater

Wroxall to Freshwater Bay

A challenging ride with some fast road riding and steep ascents.

  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Distance: 18 miles
  • Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes
Wroxall to Freshwater Bay

Tour of Britain on the Isle of Wight

In September 2022, the biggest professional cycling event in the UK comes to the Isle of Wight. The Tour of Britain will feature 120 riders from 20 teams and the final stage, Stage Eight, will kick of on the Island in Ryde, only moments from our FastCat port.

Find out everything there is to know about the Tour, including the route it will take across the Island, its history and how to get there.

Discover the Tour of Britain
Traffic-free cycle routes on the Isle of Wight

Although the Island’s roads make for a fantastic place to cycle, you may want to avoid the hustle and bustle of traffic around you and those you’re cycling with.

Fortunately, there are an abundance of traffic-free cycle paths that you can tackle without having to miss out on some of the Isle of Wight’s stunning scenery and sights.

The Island has made particularly good use of disused railway lines, converting many stretches of track into dedicated cycleways that mean you rarely have to touch the roads. Some of our favourite routes with extended traffic-free sections include:

  • Newport to Merstone: This ride goes along a former railway line that’s now a dedicated cycleway.
  • Shanklin to Wroxall: This route, starting in the stunning seaside town of Shanklin, also makes use of a disused train track.
  • Cowes to Newport: You can travel from the northern tip of the Island, Cowes, down to its capital, Newport, along cycle paths that run adjacent to the River Medina.
Isle of Wight cycle path map

Plan your cycling getaway itinerary with our interactive Explorer map, perfect for picking out tracks and trails of all lengths and difficulty.

Explore all IOW cycle routes

Tim Wiggins - IOW cycling expert

What Tim Wiggins doesn’t know about cycling on the Isle of Wight isn’t worth knowing. We’ve been working with the endurance cyclist and Island resident to shed some light on the IOW’s biking scene – he’s written blogs on everything from the most challenging routes to take right through to the best places to stop for a bite to eat.

Challenging Isle of Wight rides

The Island has a unique geology and it can make for some cliff-like climbs and challenging terrain. Tim has ridden them all and has picked out his favourites for any expert cyclist to tackle.

Find some challenging IOW rides

Top IOW cycling cafés

Cycling, coffee and cake; they’re a magical trio. The great thing about riding on the Isle of Wight is that there is plenty of opportunity to indulge in all three.

See the best cycling cafes

Five things to take on your Island bike ride

No matter your cycling ability and regardless of which route you plan on taking, it’s always best to be prepared. With thousands of cycles behind him, Tim has rounded up five of the most important things for you to take on an IOW cycle ride.

See the five things to take on your Island cycle

Getting there

We can get you from the mainland to the Isle of Wight from just 22 minutes, sailing from one of three convenient ports in Hampshire.

If you choose to travel on our Portsmouth Harbour – Ryde Pier Head FastCat route, not only will you get there quickly, you can also make the most of our dedicated on board bicycle area to keep your equipment safe at sea.

Book your ferry

Hiring a bicycle

You don’t need to bring a bike with you to enjoy the wanders of the Bicycle Island. The Isle of Wight is dotted with bicycle and e-bike hire outlets, so you can rent out the equipment you need, only when you need it.

If you plan on touring West Wight or the centre of the Island, we highly recommend Wight Cycle Hire. Their two convenient locations can be found in Yarmouth – not far from our car ferry port – and Newport, the Island’s main town. With a huge selection of bikes and a passionate, knowledgeable team, they’re the go-to for your cycle hire needs.

Exploring the south east? Routefifty7 can be found in Shanklin, right at the heart of many of the Island’s best cycling routes. They have a wide-range of bicycles and e-bikes to choose from and a nifty app to make collecting your bicycle even easier.