Explore – Le Tour de Wight – Isle of Wight Road Cycling Tour

Last year I published a post on '7 Essential Ingredients for an Isle of Wight Bike Ride' — they included highlights such as historical landmarks, beaches, café stops, and quiet country lanes. In this post, I have put together the 'Tour de Wight' — a custom made route that links together elements of all these highlights, and creates a road cycling tour that will show you the best of the Isle of Wight.


The route is 100 miles long, starting and finishing at the Wightlink car ferry terminal at Fishbourne. This is a convenient starting point, but you could also begin from East Cowes, Cowes, Yarmouth, or Ryde Esplanade without needing to ride too much extra distance to join the route.

From Fishbourne, the route heads south over the Downs towards Newchurch. Here you turn onto the Sustrans bike path towards Newport and continue through to the crossing at Horringford — a great piece of bike path that demonstrates the efforts made to reuse old railway line routes as bike paths on the Island.

The section between Horringford and Merstone can become a little muddy at times, but is only a short diversion to go up Arreton Main Road, and then back down Merstone Lane to re-join the route if you would prefer an all-tarmac based profile.

From Merstone you head through to Rookley, and then onwards to Shorwell — one of the prettiest villages on the Isle of Wight. It is a steep climb out of Shorwell Shute as the route turns northwards, but then a long downhill through Bowcombe and onto Carisbrooke, where you are rewarded with a fabulous view of the historic Carisbrooke Castle.

After ticking off 'Historical Highlights', 'Quiet Bike Paths', and 'Lung Busting Climbs' already on the route, it is now time to head to Cowes and Gurnard — to experience the 'Beaches and Boats' element of the '7 Ingredients'.

Consider stopping off for an ice cream on The Green at Cowes; looking out watching the racing boats in the Solent as you paddle on the beach is a real joy. The Island is famous for its sailing, and it is worth experiencing the canons firing and flags streaming during the summer regattas.

Next up is Newtown. This beautiful little hamlet is a haven for wildlife lovers and has one of the most impressive RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) bases in the UK. If you are lucky you will spot seals, rare birds, and even dolphins… this certainly ticks off the 'Wildlife and Nature' highlight.

From Newtown, you head onto Yarmouth. This town is the ideal place to stop for a break, and there are some great cafes and bakeries to choose from — check out my '7 Best Cycling Cafes on the Isle of Wight' post for some ideas.

After Yarmouth it is onto The Needles… a landmark attraction of the Isle of Wight and a Historic Highlight. The route takes you right out to the coastguard cottages at the end of the headland; from where you can see the iconic lighthouse and the rocket launching site below — the Cold War and World Wars etched in the white cliffs.

After riding back past Freshwater Bay, the ride takes you out onto the famous Military Road. This is the 'Coastal Views' highlight of the route — the Military Road delivers those in abundance all the way down to Blackgang Road pass and onwards through Niton Undercliff.

'Lung Busting Climbs' rear their heads again on the latter part of the route. Namely, the climb up Seven Sisters Road is a real leg killer, especially after the miles already accumulated to this point. Luckily, there is some respite as you roll down through Whitwell and the Olde Village of Godshill.

The route then takes you back into the hills of Ventnor; through to Shanklin, and onwards towards the harbourside villages of Bembridge and St Helens. If you are looking for café stops around this area then check out my '7 Best Cycling Cafes on the Isle of Wight'.

The final stretch back from St Helens to Fishbourne is thankfully flatter and more forgiving; so hopefully you will arrive back at the ferry terminal feeling enthused and elated, having experienced the '7 Wonders of the Isle of Wight'.

Of course, this route could easily be split into two of even three days of riding. Look out for a blog post coming soon on accommodation ideas for cyclists on the Isle of Wight, so you can devise an itinerary with a suitable mid-way stopping point.

Escape. Explore. Experience. Ride the Isle of Wight…



For more ideas for an Isle of Wight bike ride, check out:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

12 From 2019 – A Year in Review – One Life. Many Roads.

Review – TRP Spyre SLC Cable Disc Brakes

Review: Tate Labs Rain Fly Rear Mudguard

Review – Santini Adapt Winter Cycling Bib Tights