Hundreds of cyclists took part in the Wight Wheels Challenge over the last few weeks, a scheme to encourage more Island residents to take to the saddle.
The council is keen to build on the momentum created by the Wight Wheels Challenge and hopes cyclists inspired by the scheme will sign up for one of the many rides on offer at this year’s Isle of Wight Cycling Festival (18 – 26 September).
With over 60 rides to choose from during the week-long festival, there is something to suit all ages and abilities. Last year, over 4500 people took part in the festival and organisers are hoping even more people will join in this year. The Island has over 200 miles of cycle track, making it the ideal place to take to the saddle.
The nine-day festival starts on Saturday 18 September with the launch event at Seaclose Park in Newport. It is the perfect place to gather information about the rides taking place during the week and brush up on cycling skills. The launch event also features the famous Sink-or-Swim event in which pedal powered water craft race across the River Medina.
As well as tough cycling challenges like the Hills Killer, West Wight Triathalon, Wight Challenge and Cycle the Wight, the festival offers many children’s rides which have a gentler pace.
Budding little cyclists can choose from a Teddy Bear’s Picnic at the Farm, Troll Trail, Sunday outing with ice cream and a number of family rides around the Island.
All rides are graded by difficulty and pace and the festival programme details approximately how long each ride will take and whether you need to bring along food or special equipment. Isle of Wight Cycling Festival programmes can be found at Tourist Information Centres across the Island as well as bike shops and libraries. The rides can also be viewed online at www.sunseaandcycling.com.
Cllr George Brown, Isle of Wight Council Cabinet Member with responsibility for Leisure and Tourism, said: “People travel to the Island from across the country to take part in our annual cycling festival. As well as welcoming these visitors, we hope to encourage more Island residents to get involved this year, especially those inspired to get back on a bike during the Wight Wheels Challenge.
“The cycling festival forms a key part of the Island’s varied events calendar, helping to extend the tourist season and boost the Island’s economy.”