The Isle of Wight has a lot to offer road cyclists: from a good mixture of terrain and beautiful coastal scenery to a lack of traffic lights and plenty of sunshine. So if you’ve been tempted by its charms, here are some things to know before you go.
For route suggestions, downloads and everything else you might want to know about Isle of Wight cycling, read our comprehensive ultimate guide to cycling Isle of Wight!
- Choose the right gearing. Though the Isle of Wight is hilly, you’ll probably be happy with a semi-compact 52-36.
- Bring spares and know how to use them. The Isle of Wight isn’t huge, and there are bike shops in many towns, but it’s still a pain if you have a mechanical and can’t fix it. Check your bike before you head out and, as on any ride, pack spare tubes, tyre levers, and a pump or CO2 canisters, plus a puncture repair kit and versatile multi-tool.
- Fuelling: if you’re planning to do the round Isle of Wight cycle route or are on a long ride, fuel before you start and keep a gel or high-energy snack in your back pocket. The Isle of Wight also has some fantastic country pubs, old smuggler inns and cafés, so schedule in a pit-stop at one of the places we suggest in our ride guides.
Isle Of Wight cycling routes
- Explore. Our ultimate guide to cycling the Isle of Wight contains lots of route ideas (complete with GPX downloads and maps), but you could also follow the Isle of Wight Randonnee course, which is permanently signposted. Or you could just explore. There’s an extensive network of lanes, paths and quiet roads. If you get lost, you can’t go too far wrong as the coast is never far away (and from there you should be able to work out which way to head!).
- Cars. Probably your biggest risk is other traffic. In the UK, many collisions occur when a cyclist is on the inside of a vehicle which is turning left. Unfortunately, you can’t assume it’s going straight ahead just because it isn’t indicating left. This advice is particularly important when the vehicle is a lorry.
- Backroads. Much of the Isle of Wight’s charm lies in its meandering backroads. Just because these are often traffic free, don’t assume they will be. Many of the bends are blind bends, and there may well be no room to pass.
- The Island has a reputation for being the sunniest place in Britain, but don’t assume it’s always that way! Some of the coastline is very exposed and windy; it’s always worth having a jacket in your back pocket in case the weather suddenly turns.
- Follow the Highway Code. In particular, there aren’t many traffic lights on the Isle of Wight, but don’t jump them and don’t cycle on the pavement unless it’s a designated cycle path.
- Ride with a friend. It’s more fun, and if something goes wrong, there’s someone there to help you out.
- Remember lights. At a minimum, keep a small rear light fitted to your bike in cause you get caught out by the light or bad weather. As ever, money, ID and your phone are also essential.
Been cycling on the Isle of Wight and got some additional tips? Please comment below!
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