They might not move quite as fast as the TT stars who have made the Isle of Man famous, but Manx cycling aces Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh have done more than anyone in recent years to raise the Island’s global profile.
Cycling is on such a roll around the British Isles, with back-to-back Tour de France winners and medals galore at the London Olympic Games, and leading the charge are Cavendish, former World Road Race Champion and winner of 25 Tour de France stages (third in the all-time list), and Kennaugh, Olympic and current British Road Race champion and most recently Tour of Austria winner, who plied their trade as youngsters on the Island’s roads.
The Isle of Man has a long tradition of producing fine cyclists, and you only need to look at the beautiful Manx countryside to see how that has happened. On the road, the diverse terrain ranges from the flat north to the spectacular TT Mountain Circuit which not only tests motorcyclists each year but is the ideal training ground for our cyclists, providing a thrilling mix of winding country lanes, steep climbs, and breathtaking descents.
If you prefer going off-road on your mountain bike, the options are equally exciting – coastal paths, forest trails, old railway tracks and trails purpose-built for mountain biking – all showcasing the Manx countryside in all its splendour.
Whatever your preference, one thing is for sure – the Isle of Man is a dream destination for anyone who loves cycling.
But you don’t have to be an Olympic champion or Tour de France green jersey winner to enjoy what the Isle of Man has to offer. The Island is a perfect destination for cyclists of all abilities, and what’s more there are plenty of other sights and attractions, not to mention fine dining and entertainment, to make it an ideal place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
If you are looking to pack up your car and bring your bicycle, you can travel with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, with a variety of short-break offers available throughout the year. Or, you can pack up a rucksack and travel as a foot passenger, and bring your bicycle free of charge.
For full details about Isle of Man Steam Packet Company ferry offers, visit www.steam-packet.com/Offers
If you would prefer a ferry and accommodation package deal then Steam Packet Holidays have a range of accommodation to suit all budgets. For more information visit www.steampacketholidays.com
If you’re coming for a short break and would prefer to have your rides structured, there are six ‘cycle routes’ around the Island, graded for difficulty from easy to difficult, and taking in the north, south, east and west.
These are featured in the Isle of Man Cycling Guide, which can be downloaded at http://www.gov.im/lib/docs/tourism/guides/cycle_guide_web.pdf.
There’s also a guide specifically for mountain bike trails:
Both guides also include information on specialised cycling challenges which take place in the Island each year, including:
• End 2 End Challenge (mountain bikes) – a 75-kilometre route from north to south, a mix of moorland paths and forest tracks (www.manxe2e.org)
• Isle of Man Cycle Challenge – start and finish in the pit lane of the famous TT course, tackling one, two or three laps of the 37.7-mile circuit (www.isleofmancc.com)
• The Lighthouses Challenge – take in the entire coastline of the Isle of Man in just one day, a 100-mile course visiting as many lighthouses as the route allows (www.manxtreme.com)
The guide also includes information about bike hire, servicing and repair shops, accommodation and eating out.