The Isle of Wight boasts over 200 miles of cycle routes, mixing in smooth flats and plenty of rolling hills. If you’re into off-roading or spinning away on the tarmac you’re sure to be kept busy, even as an avid cyclist.
Red Squirrel Trail
The Red Squirrel Trail is a dedicated cycle track extending from Sandown, through to Newport and finishing in Cowes (unless you fancy going back the other way!)
Part gravel and tarmac, this route is built on top of the old railway lines which makes it great for beginners and families due to its consistently flat gradient. Spanning a good portion of the Island, you also have the added benefit of extending your kilometres while barely having to touch a road. If you get peckish, you can stop at Pedallers Café in Newchurch along this route, for a coffee and slice of cake.
Parkhurst is great for families, you’ll find plenty of man-made gravel paths leading you around, so whether you’re rocking a rigid frame or something with a bit of suspension, you’ll get along just fine; you’re also never more than 20 – 30 minutes from the car park so no issues of running out of gas halfway through. Do expect a few small climbs here and there, but nothing too severe. At the top of the forest are some user-built mud jumps – a great bit of fun – at your own risk!
Ryde – Bembridge
Starting off at Appley Beach, take your way through to Seaview and follow through to Bembridge, from here you can ride through to Sandown and onto the Red Squirrel Route, or keep exploring. The first portion of this ride is just sublime – smooth winding roads and rolling hills. It’s a super easy route to follow and not too physically demanding; just keep to the white and blue ‘round the Island’ cycle signs.
Isle of Wight Randonée
The Randonée is a yearly event that takes you on a lap of the Island’s roads, spanning 100km, or a shorter 55km route; both route-maps can be found and downloaded at cycleisland.co.uk but its also signposted all the way around, in both directions. Although an annual event, the route is cycled all year round and is a great way to take in all of the stunning vistas of the Island. While you’re at it, certainly to stop in the middle for a pub lunch and… you’ve probably earned another at the end as well!
If you’re into climbing, cycle this route. Starting in Carisbrooke and finishing in Alum Bay, this is one for the off-roaders among you; the hills are lengthy, steep and were seemingly put there to make you suffer. Tough yet rewarding, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of getting over the top of a hard climb and don’t forget, what goes up absolutely sends you down on this ride. In the middle is Brighstone Forest, where you’ll also find plenty of single track routes that have been built and ridden by generations of mountain bike riders, as well as Cheverton Farm’s Isle of Wight Mountain Bike Centre, where you could easily spend another whole day riding their trails.
Newport – Gurnard – Newport
A scenic, circular route to the north of the Island and back, across rolling hills with the benefit of avoiding many busy main roads. Starting along Forest Road, turn off at the crossroads onto Whitehouse Road and follow all the way through to Rew Street roundabout where you’ll turn left and carry on straight to Gurnard. From here its a short ride through Cowes back to the Red Squirrel Trail. The first half of this ride sees you through expansive countryside, along smooth and spacious roads, next you’re met with the seaside – ice cream anyone?
From there take in views of the River Medina, running parallel to the cycle track back to Newport.