A weekend cycling on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a cyclists dream destination. Miles of dramatic coastline to explore, rolling hills to trundle over and plenty of pubs on route to quench that thirst for beer.  But the Isle of Wight is often well off the radar of the London cyclist – it’s all the way on an island, after all.

But we say get on that train heading out of the city, arrive in Southampton under 90 minutes later and then hop on a Red Funnel ferry to the glorious island just 5 miles across the Solent. Not convinced? Here are our top three cycle routes on the island (as well as images to stir the microadventurer within).

1. Brighstone circular

Cottages in Brighstone, including a National Trust museum and shop.

Start your 12 mile round-route from the pretty little thatched village of Brighstone. From here, you’ve got miles of country lanes and sea views ahead before finding yourself at the bottom of what has been locally dubbed as Chale Mountain. Chale is the perfect place to stop for a pub lunch or a meander along the beach to get battered by the sea breeze. After hopping back on your bike, head north-west towards Chillerton and along the country roads back to Brighstone.  Remember to pack a loaf of bread to feed the ducks at Yafford Duck Pond!

2. Round the island

Military Road

Not one for the day-trippers, but a route for the weekend warriors out there. The 62-mile cycle route that traverses around the whole island should take 2-3 days at a leisurely pace. Taking in the sights and sounds of island life, you’ll speed through small villages and over breath-taking cliff-tops, all with rewarding views and plenty of places to stop and indulge in delicious local food.

3.Totland, Alum Bay, Freshwater and Yarmouth Loop

Beach cycle

A great cycle route if you’ve got the family in tow, this 10 mile circular is easy and takes you over surfaced lanes, concrete paths and well-trodden cycle paths. The going is a little tough as you head out of Totland, but you’re soon rewarded with spectacular views, chocolate-box villages and an easy and enjoyable ride from thereon (oh, and plenty of pubs along the way!)

Bicycles are carried across the Solent free of charge on the Red Funnel vehicle ferry, and there are plenty of cycle stands available at both sides of the crossing, so you can head off to get a coffee knowing your bike is safe!

Image sources:

1. © Copyright Andrew McDonald and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
2. © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
3. © Copyright Jim Champion and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.

Join 9,241 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

7 Responses to A weekend cycling on the Isle of Wight

  1. Tim 16/01/2014 at 1:53 pm #

    Andreas – am I missing something or are there no links to specific routes? If you are going to mention lengths of routes, don’t leave us hanging without being able to view those routes online somewhere :-)

    • David 17/01/2014 at 3:06 pm #

      The Brighstone circular is a route you would have to cycle to and fro the start of the route.The round the island is easy.just ride off the ferry and head up York avenue.
      the Totland and yarmouth loop can be reached by the Lymington to Yarmouth ferry.You can catch a train from London to brockenhurst and then change for Lymington Pier.
      another great ride is From east cowes ferry terminal down to Newport on the route of the old railway.Then through Newport and cycle on more old railway tracks to Sandown.Then it’s either cycle on the roads back to East cowes or train from Sandown to Ryde and then ride to East Cowes from there!

      • Andreas 17/01/2014 at 8:51 pm #

        Sorry Tim, no routes to link to in this one, but I did get a helpful email from one of our readers about a ride that takes place there:

        “Can I also recommend, for those with reasonable legs, the annual IOW Randonnee. It’s held on the Sunday of the first May Bank Holiday and is organised by Wayfarers CTC (Website http://www.cycleisland.co.uk) and follows the Round the Island route. There are usually a couple of thousand riders, of all abilities. You don’t have to do the whole lot if you don’t want to. There is also a shorter route of only 32 miles, much of that on an old railway line that is now a cycle path – so it’s flat, which the rest of the Island certainly isn’t. The best thing of all is that it’s free to enter. They do ask for a contribution towards costs/club funds when you’ve finished, but there is no pressure.”

  2. Fr3d 17/01/2014 at 9:29 am #

    #2 is manageable in a day as long as you start in the morning and can average a
    reasonable speed on the flats ;-)

  3. harvey t lyon 17/01/2014 at 3:47 pm #

    my nephew, my wife and i cycled the isle some years ago. great place-but th hedges are right up to the road, and they have very sharp thorns. we had more flats in a few days than we’d had in years of touring. we stayed in a charming hotel near the ferry-and stayed free one night when the owner saw my wife painting, and offered the free night in exchange for a painting of the hotel. lynn took the offer

    • John H 18/01/2014 at 4:27 pm #

      That was a” barter” service or goods in exchange. So your accommodation was not “free” but provided in exchange.
      Things like that used to happen all the time before we all became so dependant on “coin of the Realm” or plastic cards.

  4. Alan Bennett 14/02/2014 at 12:04 am #

    Hi there
    I run the local IOW website. We can supply you with gps files, maps and anything you need

Leave a Reply