Explore – 5 Best Mountain Bike Routes on the Isle of Wight

The Lonely Planet rated the Isle of Wight as one of the best places in the world to explore by mountain bike; it might not have mountains, but it has hundreds of miles of fantastic natural trails with a wide variety of terrain, and spectacular views.

I have been riding a mountain bike on the Isle of Wight trails for as long as I have been walking, and I can safely say I have explored every bridleway and bike path the Island has to offer. These five routes link up my personal favourite sections and paths; with a range of lengths and intensities to cater to different rider abilities.

For routes for Gravel Bikes and Road Cycling, check out my other Explore-IOW posts.

Wight Mountain Bike Route #1 — Red Squirrel TrailDifficulty – EasyDistance – 22.5 kilometres (14 miles)Elevation Profile – Flat (170 metres elevation gain)
The Red Squirrel Trail is a signposted family friendly mountain biking route on the Isle of Wight. The below selection of the route is a circular loop starting and fini…

Review – Smith Optics Ruckus Cycling Sunglasses

As the darkness creeps in, a pair of cycling glasses with photochromic or light enhancing lenses is a real must; providing valuable protection from grit and spray, but not darkening or impairing your vision. The Smith Optics Ruckus glasses are an exceptional quality option from the Italian brand, featuring both lens options — for all riding conditions.

Cycling glasses do a lot more than just shield your eyes from the sun's glare — they also protect your eyes from wind, dirt, insects, and road/trail debris; making them an invaluable year-round accessory. For mountain biking in shaded forests, and when road cycling in low light conditions, you want either photochromic reactive lenses or amber tinted light-enhancing lenses.

The Smith Optics Ruckus Sunglasses are pitched as mountain biking sunglasses, but I have also found them to be a fantastic choice for road and gravel riding in all light conditions. They come with a photochromic reactive ChromoPop lens, and a high clarity amber t…

Review – NiteRider Lumina Micro 850 Front Bike Light

A good quality high-power compact front bike light is a real asset — it can stay on your handlebars throughout the year; providing 'Be Seen' visibility as a running light, as well as helping light the way when the visibility falls. The NiteRider Lumina Micro 850 bike light is a superb example of a miniature front light that packs an impressive punch.

The Lumina Micro 850 weighs only 130 grams, yet it will put out 850 lumens on maximum output for 1.5 hours. On the most economical fixed light mode it will deliver 200 lumens for 9 hours.

I am a great fan of the simplicity of the NiteRider lights. The mount for example is just one single clamp design, which fits all sizes of handlebars and is fast and secure to attach. The light unit itself is robust, weatherproof, and has just one button that also doubles as a charge level indicator. Bike lights do not need to be super stylish — they need to work; that is the focus that NiteRider has maintained with their mount and unit designs…

Review – Pro Bike Tool Shock Pump

A shock pump is an essential accessory for any modern mountain biker; allowing you to adjust the pressure in air-based suspension forks and rear shocks. The Pro Bike Tool Shock Pump is a smart, well-made, and affordable option.

I have been impressed by the quality of value of all the previous Pro Bike Tool products that I have tested to date: including their mini pumps, torque wrench, and Y-wrench workshop tool. Therefore, when I was on the lookout for a new shock pump to fine-tune the pressures on my Kona Hei Hei, the Pro Bike Tool offering looked like a great bet. I have not been disappointed.

The pump has a simple design; with a large analogue pressure dial, a flip-out T handle to allow for comfortable pumping, and a strong steel barrel that is capable of pumping up to 300 PSI.

The shock pump securely screws onto the Schrader valve core on a suspension fork or suspension shock, and then you simply pump to the recommended pressure for your weight. If you need to let pressure out …

Review – Giro Code Techlace Mountain Bike Cycling Shoes

Giro have always been pioneers of interesting cycling shoe designs. Giro Empire road shoes rekindled a passion for lace-up cycling shoes, and now the Giro Code Techlace MTB shoes take things one step further; with a tri-closure system of laces, Velcro, and a BOA dial. These off-road shoes were my choice for the #CelticCrossTrail tour because of their superb comfort and performance.

I have always liked Giro shoes. Look back on my previous long distance trans-continental tours, and you will spot that I wore Giro Privateer MTB Shoes for both the #CoastsandCols tour and the #7Countries7Passes. The Giro designs always seem to fit well, and most importantly they go the distance; providing comfort and durability. The new Giro Code Techlace MTB Shoes follow the trend.

The Giro Code Techlace is a mountain biking evolution of the Giro Techlace shoe, which was launched by Giro in 2018. The Techlace concept uses laces attached to a Velcro tab for the two front closures on the shoe; this system p…