Saturday 22 November 2014

Buzz: Ever Wanted To

Go Cycling on the Isle of Wight

Published 14/11/2013 | 21:30

The Isle of Wight is England's biggest island. It is also famous for being the country's smallest county at high tide.

The island is located off the west coast, in the English Channel. It is host to beautiful scenery and is renowned for its boating and maritime exploits, as well as its festivals.

In recent years, it has gained special recognition for its beautiful and scenic cycling routes, as evidenced by its inclusion in Lonely Planet's top 10 cycling locations in 2010.

There is an array of routes to choose from, which generally encompass cycling along the island's most famous feature – its white chalk cliffs.

Routes also feature plenty of green rolling hills, striking green gullies and a variety of narrow lanes and pretty villages.

The beauty about cycling on the Isle of Wight is that there are routes available to suit everyone, varying from challenging off-road bridleways, to peaceful and serene byways, to level tracks purpose-built on former railway lines.

Within an area of just 147 miles, you will find more than 200 miles of cycle routes. These routes are either marked or sign-posted, while bikes are available for rent on the island.

There are plenty of tour options to choose from, including group-guided tours, non-guided tours and on-road or off-road route options.

When to go

The island is said to be at its best to visit during the months of finer weather, so between April and September.

The island has experienced the best weather over the past few years in May, while the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival takes place in September each year. Routes

Here are three of the many routes to choose from: Yarmouth: consists of both an easy route, mainly on roads, and a fairly easy longer route, which also encompasses country lanes and cycleways. Cowes: again consisting of two routes, the first of which is easy after the climb of the hill at East Cowes, and the other, which is a level, off-road route between Cowes and Newport, ideal for a quick cycle.

Ryde: there are once more two routes, where you can explore its hedgerows and woods with a short route, while the longer route combines both coast and countryside with the option of shorter or longer distance routes to Brading.

How to get there/Where to stay?

The Isle of Wight is linked to Britain by ferry ports in Southampton, Portsmouth and Lymington. Travellers from Ireland have to make their way to one of these ferry ports by plane or ferry. There are lots of accommodation options on the island, with something to suit everyone's taste and price range.

Contact

The following page on the Isle of Wight council website provides plenty of information on accommodation, events, where to visit etc.

Web: www.iwight.com/visitors/

Highs Cycling alongside a mix of beautiful countryside and coastline, with a route to suit your preferences easily accessible.

Lows Some of the adverse weather conditions that can show up unannounced.

Irish Independent

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