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Isle of Wight on bikes

Here is Richard's report on a ride a few of us did earlier in the week, the track of our route was supplied by Kerry and photos by Simon and Steve.


On Monday the 13th May Andy Lacy, Kerry Hastings, Russ Canning, Simon Barker, Dave Gilchrist, Steve Fletcher and myself met at John’s house on Hayling Island for our annual bike ride round the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately John couldn’t come as he was having a cataract op but had time to join us for the first leg. We set off at 9am along the Billy Trail to the ferry which crosses from Hayling to Eastney, from where we took the cycle path all the way along the seafront to Portsmouth Harbour. We arrived just in time to board the ferry to Fishbourne, and after enjoying a coffee on the 45 minute crossing we landed on the island,. We then made our way along a lovely track past Quarr Abbey before reaching Ryde, then along the seafront to Nettlestone point and along a coastal path to Seaview. We then climbed a track that passed the quiet bays of Seagrove and St Helens, before dropping down to skirt the edge of Bembridge Harbour, with an array of houseboats lining its shore. On climbing up to the village we found all the cafes were closed on Mondays, so had to make do with a meal deal from the Co-op for lunch. From here we had our first road section to Sandown and our pre booked hotel for the night. Having kept an eye on the sky all day for the predicted rain showers we didn't hang around and arrived just after 3pm, earlier than expected, having covered 23.2 miles with an elevation gain of 868ft and a riding time of 2.40 hours from the start.

After checking in and storing our bikes in our hotel rooms we went to explore the town, and to our amazement half the hotels along the once grand seafront were either derelict or in ruins, anyway we cheered ourselves up with a walk to the end of the pier. We then enjoyed a very nice meal in the hotel followed by a nightcap in a local pub.

After a good nights rest and a hearty breakfast we set off again in bright sunshine heading inland along a disused railway track called the Red Squirrel trail towards Newport. This runs alongside the river Yar and is also a nature trail. The river Yar meets the river Medina in the centre of the Island, and we followed this through the busy town of Newport and onto another disused railway cycle path that follows the river to its estuary at Cowes. After a loop around the town to Gurnards Bay we paused for coffee on the waterfront then made our way through the pedestrianised section of town pushing our bikes. Thanks to Simon we got news that the chain ferry from East to West Cowes was out of service, but after a phone call we were assured there was a small replacement ferry that would take bikes.

There was then a slog uphill on road past Queen Victoria's former residence Osborne House, then quiet lanes back past Wootton Creek to the ferry at Fishbourne. We arrived there at 1.20 and decided to have lunch at a nearby pub and wait for the 2.20 ferry.

We landed back in Portsmouth at 3.00 and had a leisurely ride along the seafront to catch the 4.10 ferry to Hayling. The last few miles along the Billy Trail were also covered at a fairly leisurely pace. According to Kerry’s Strava track we had covered 32.8 miles on day 2 with an elevation gain of 926 ft and a riding time of 4.07 hours

. In total we had covered 56 miles, and gained 1,794 in elevation in 6 hours 47 mins, and despite a forecast of showers on day 1 no rain and no punctures or mechanicals.

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