After a late night in the Leopold at our leaving do we managed to wake early on Sunday (my birthday!) and headed down to the Portsmouth ferry port with a hardcore bunch of Southsea Fixed Gear Cycling riders.
Our target for the day, the Isle of Wight, but unlike the Wiggle sportive, which turned out to be on at the same time, our ‘epic’ ride would take in a full 70 miles and the circumference of the island, O and of course we would be on our track bikes so no gears or coasting!
I have ridden around the IoW coastal route before (anti clockwise), but that was a few years ago now on a fully geared, slick tires mountain bike. This time we would be going clockwise and I was keen to see just how bad the hills I remembered were or if all those thousands of miles I have put in since have helped to flatten them out a bit.
We set out from Ryde and straight away were faced with a steep climb out the town. Once on the ‘Taste Round The Island Route‘ we headed through rolling countryside towards St Helen’s. After a couple of wrong turns, a few half pints and a diversion later we flew down a hill and into the archetypal seaside town of Sandown’s.
The early start and lack of breakfast for some started to show and after a fairly long climb that separated the energized from the hungry we made it to our lunch stop, the Wight Mouse Inn.
The road along the south west of the island is amazing and I would recommend it to anyone. It is however steep in parts with some long open climbs. We regrouped at the top of the biggest climb and took a moment to enjoy the view before pissing of the top of the cliff and jumping back on the bikes.
As we passed through Yarmouth the sun was beginning to set and we were treated to an stunning sunset. We pulled into another nice country pub which to our surprise was able to russle us up a few vegan friendly fruit pies, cups of tea and some local winter brews.
By the time we left the night was dark and our lights came out. We spent the next section of the ride as a group, skidding our way down to the Cowes chain link ferry, before negotiating the one way streets and country roads back to Ryde.
Another awesome birthday ride, good weather, good friends and a good route! Already looking forward to next years 🙂