The Isle of Wight seems to be a bit schizophrenic. It’s a snooty yacht club type hangout. It’s a refuge for the tackiest carnival rides and souvenirs even imagined by man. It’s a walker/biker/rider paradise. These extremes can be jarring- the wind swept Tennyson Walk portion of the ‘Heritage Coast’ walk includes The Needles and Alum Bay… And also includes The Needles Park at Alum Bay, an amusement park that gleefully feeds on the bottom of the gene pool. It’s an odd mix, but it works and certainly makes for an interesting visit.
Riding, ah, the riding! The roads on the Channel side are fairly quiet and offer dramatic views along with the kind of swooping curves that would make Marylin Monroe jealous. From open grassland to tight hedgerows to narrow tracks through old forests; over the next hill you’ll always find a new feel to the road- The UK in miniature. The english side of the island is, well, it sucks for riding. Lots of traffic, little towns that blend into each other and lead to countless roundabouts. It’s still a good visit with good sights, but unless you enjoy feathering your clutch, you won’t get much out of the riding.
I ended up staying two nights at a great little campsite. One day was spent taking part of the coastal walk and the other just enjoying the roads without having to think about actually going anywhere. Ryde was having a regatta during my stay, so that made for fun couple of hours of viewing. Something about sitting at a waterside pub watching sailboats glide past makes the world seem to be as it should. Or maybe it was pint(s) and sun…
Now, to the name of this post. Why do The White Cliffs of Dover get all the attention?! The IOW has great white cliffs AND it’s The Isle of WIGHT! Come on guys, if anyone should enjoy a bad pun it’s a Brit!