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Wow.

That place is amazing.

It's been three or four years since I last cycled over there and I'm amazed by the quality of the roads in the west of the island now. Military Road has been resurfaced, but so have the back lanes just off it. Beautiful tarmac worthy of Majorca. Not a single close pass in a week of riding. Really challenging rolling terrain, and Ventnor must have some of the steepest short sections of road in the country (western exit to the prom in particular). Strongly recommend heading one road inland from the Military Road because it's better protected from the wind and much more engaging to ride - constant gradient changes.

Has the Tour of Britain ever visited? You could build a fantastic stage over there, and being September the massed hordes would have left. Possibly not enough miles available without disrupting the whole island I guess.

20 comments

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CXR94Di2 [2739 posts] 3 months ago
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I did enjoy my one time cycling around the whole island.  I and few mates did the loop in a day- fish and chips, the needle etc.  Shame for us there were a few close passes.  

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kil0ran [1697 posts] 3 months ago
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I was surprised. Did a fair bit of driving too, necessarily pootly with three bikes on the back (Atera Strada DL - whatarack laugh) and just seemed to be far less rubbish driving. The roads were teeming with cyclists at the weekends and people seemed to be fairly relaxed about getting around them. Heading up Niton Down I couldn't overtake a singled-out group for probably half a mile or so, no honking of horns or revving of engines or the like. There was a bloke in club kit doing the round the island on a Brompton  who was leaving people on expensive pro bikes for dead. Also saw my first Fairlight Strael in the wild, nice as a Faran owner.

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kookenhaken [22 posts] 3 months ago
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The climb up to the top of Down Lane from the Esplanade in Ventnor is great fun!  I had a similar experience to the joys of the Island in May on a family holiday and have been planning a return (solo) trip ever since.  

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mike the bike [1264 posts] 3 months ago
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kookenhaken wrote:

The climb up to the top of Down Lane from the Esplanade in Ventnor is great fun! .......  

 

You are so right Mr K, that is the toughest 2.5 km I've ridden on the island. But there are some supermen who laugh at it and one of them is Tim Wiggins (no relation) who repeated it thirty-eight times in a day for charity.  And also to pick up his 'Everesting' award, which he bloody deserved.

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kil0ran [1697 posts] 3 months ago
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kookenhaken wrote:

The climb up to the top of Down Lane from the Esplanade in Ventnor is great fun!  I had a similar experience to the joys of the Island in May on a family holiday and have been planning a return (solo) trip ever since.  

Likewise - going to try and get a cheeky weekender bikepacking and do the whole island.

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Awavey [649 posts] 3 months ago
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Im always surprised people say the road traffic is ok to cycle with around the Isle of Wight, as fair enough it was a very long time ago since I used to visit regularly on family holidays, but the roads always seemed fairly fraught to drive on, pretty much akin to being a newbie driving in London, let alone ride a bike on, as the way the locals used to drive it was like they were all secretly competing in an Isle of Wight TT race. Even now the Island has 2 roads in the top 10 worst rural roads for KSIs in the whole of the UK.

So whilst its absolutely something I want to do, one of these days, I am always slightly hesitant about commiting to do it, with that feeling the roads are still more how I remember it was.

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kil0ran [1697 posts] 3 months ago
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Awavey wrote:

Im always surprised people say the road traffic is ok to cycle with around the Isle of Wight, as fair enough it was a very long time ago since I used to visit regularly on family holidays, but the roads always seemed fairly fraught to drive on, pretty much akin to being a newbie driving in London, let alone ride a bike on, as the way the locals used to drive it was like they were all secretly competing in an Isle of Wight TT race. Even now the Island has 2 roads in the top 10 worst rural roads for KSIs in the whole of the UK.

So whilst its absolutely something I want to do, one of these days, I am always slightly hesitant about commiting to do it, with that feeling the roads are still more how I remember it was.

It's undoubtedly a bit crazier in the height of the season, and it's worth avoiding the Middle Road if you can (runs to the north side of Afton Down). For a tourer you can always ride the old railway route - dead flat shared use path, with just a few yards on the road

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bumble [27 posts] 2 months ago
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help requested please!

i've been talked into a couple of 'easy' days on the i-o-w, in a couple of weeks (mid August).

the idea is to go over as foot passengers, landing at Fishbourne, then head to Newport, then south to st Catherines point, then west - needlesish, and back round along the north coast.

(as a rough guide)

i'll be honest, it looks bloody dreadful!

the cycle map shows a cycle route beside the A3054 (?), on closer inspection, the cycle route *is* the A3054.

it seems there are a few crappy old train lines, which don't join up, and then it's fast sweeping roads rammed with cars.

What am i missing ?

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CXR94Di2 [2739 posts] 2 months ago
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There are lots of sections on main roads, but vast majority of drivers were considerate. If weather is fine, its a good ride to squeeze it in between ferries the whole loop

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mike the bike [1264 posts] 2 months ago
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bumble wrote:

 What am i not seeing?  

 

The easiest way to ride the whole island is to simply follow the permanent 'Round the Island' signs.

From Fishbourne ferry you should follow the lane to the traffic lights and turn right for Newport.  Half-a-mile later you should see the big blue and white sign and you turn left for Havenstreet.  You are now on the clockwise circuit, which will keep you away from traffic.  That's not to say it's deserted but it's a huge improvement on mixing with the local drivers.

There are many places worthy of a visit.  Some are actually on the route but others require a brief diversion and include Ventnor, with its superb chippie on the Esplanade, and Cowes, with its sea views and coffee shops in the pedestrianised High Street.

The route will take you across the chain ferry from Cowes to East Cowes and this will cost you a quid or so but avoids Newport, which is the den of the devil.

Have a good day ......

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bumble [27 posts] 1 month ago
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That was awful, will not be going back.

the 'round the island' loop may suit you if you like racing around between the ferries, but if you're looking for something a little more relaxed, then expect main roads and fast, agressive driving. On more than one occasion we saw drivers actually aiming at cyclists while screaming insults. Fortunately no-one was hit/hurt, but still, awful stuff.  it would have been fairly crap without *any* cars, unless you like A roads... ?

We tried to avoid the main loop, but the 'smaller' roads weren't much better, the cycle routes don't join up, and the map of bridleways contains numerous significant errors.

the model village at Godshill was good, i enjoyed that.

 

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fukawitribe [2903 posts] 1 month ago
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I might be missing something, I don't know the route, but if you were looking for "something a little more relaxed" why did you hit the main roads ? I thought the 'Round the Island' routes were designed, in part, to avoid the busy roads....

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bumble [27 posts] 1 month ago
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fukawitribe wrote:

I thought the 'Round the Island' routes were designed, in part, to avoid the busy roads....

those parts are very small...

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fukawitribe [2903 posts] 1 month ago
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bumble wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:

I thought the 'Round the Island' routes were designed, in part, to avoid the busy roads....

those parts are very small...

Not according to the GPX tracks for it, and as you apparantly avoided using it i'm  not sure how you know otherwise - have I mis-read what you said originally ?

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bumble [27 posts] 1 month ago
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not sure what to say.

we followed the signs, which inevetiably meant a busy main road.  so we tried finding alternative routes where the map indicated it was possible/convenient, with mixed success.

(the more we ignored this map : https://www.heritage-house.co.uk/isleofwightcyclingmaps - the better. arguably, it was worth buying the map to see where not to go)

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fukawitribe [2903 posts] 1 month ago
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bumble wrote:

not sure what to say.

we followed the signs, which inevetiably meant a busy main road.  so we tried finding alternative routes where the map indicated it was possible/convenient, with mixed success.

(the more we ignored this map : https://www.heritage-house.co.uk/isleofwightcyclingmaps - the better. arguably, it was worth buying the map to see where not to go)

I was looking at the routes which are similar to the Radonnee course from here

 

https://www.epicroadrides.com/cycling-uk/isle-of-wight/round-the-isle-of...

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Awavey [649 posts] 1 month ago
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fukawitribe wrote:

I was looking at the routes which are similar to the Radonnee course from here

 

https://www.epicroadrides.com/cycling-uk/isle-of-wight/round-the-isle-of...

yep thats the route I see most people use, and you just follow little island signs clockwise or anticlockwise. But I guess the point is they are still mostly A roads, and probably full of mainland visitors this time of year, its not a quietway route, or designed as a cyclist only route, you will be sharing the roads with traffic & certainly western side of the Island they run out of alternate options, but thats like I commented before, always been my view that it can be a bit intense/fraught on those roads and maybe the trick is go off season.

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fukawitribe [2903 posts] 1 month ago
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Awavey wrote:
fukawitribe wrote:

I was looking at the routes which are similar to the Radonnee course from here

 

https://www.epicroadrides.com/cycling-uk/isle-of-wight/round-the-isle-of...

yep thats the route I see most people use, and you just follow little island signs clockwise or anticlockwise. But I guess the point is they are still mostly A roads, and probably full of mainland visitors this time of year, its not a quietway route, or designed as a cyclist only route, you will be sharing the roads with traffic & certainly western side of the Island they run out of alternate options, but thats like I commented before, always been my view that it can be a bit intense/fraught on those roads and maybe the trick is go off season.

Aye, not going to be completely traffic free for sure, and it does get busy over there, but it is mostly non-main roads going by the GPX and map overlay. Only real sections on the A-roads I can see are out of Cowes to Wootton Bridge and Brook to Bouldnor (tiny bit around Chale too) - finger in the air, 20ish % ? Dunno, anyway the rest appears to be B-roads and smaller. I get there might be some interaction with grockles (and locals maybe) but that seems a different proposition than the horror described - i'll hopefully find out later in the year one way or another.

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mike the bike [1264 posts] 1 month ago
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bumble wrote:

 ..... the model village at Godshill was good, i enjoyed that......

Did you notice that the model village had a model of the model village?

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HoarseMann [294 posts] 1 month ago
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bumble wrote:

not sure what to say.

we followed the signs, which inevetiably meant a busy main road.  so we tried finding alternative routes where the map indicated it was possible/convenient, with mixed success.

(the more we ignored this map : https://www.heritage-house.co.uk/isleofwightcyclingmaps - the better. arguably, it was worth buying the map to see where not to go)

Yep, I’ve done the round island route on a hybrid and there was a fair number of busy roads. The bit round Blackgang Chine and onto Ventnor in particular.

The military road up from freshwater is at least fairly straight and wide with good visibility. I did do the Yarmouth to freshwater cycle path and the Ventnor to Shanklin cycle path and along the prom to Sandown, which were good (on a hybrid). There were some nice quiet lanes too (late May).

If you want an island ride with less worry about route choice, go for the Isle of Arran in May. Only three roads to worry about, so no route choice dilemmas! Plus traffic comes in bursts (when the ferry drops off). So when some cars approach, just pull over and have a drink and a snack whilst they pass. Then you’ve got the road to yourself for a while again...