Tag Archives: Sustainable transport

Bicycle Island is “a cycling paradise”

The Isle of Wight launches major new cycling campaign for holiday-makers

The Isle of Wight has officially launched a new campaign to promote the Island as the top cycling destination in the UK.

Green, eco-friendly, and bang on-trend, “Bicycle Island” takes – as its starting point – all of the reasons why Lonely Planet guidechose to name it in its Top 10 listing of the world’s best cycling destinations, as well as why it received similar accolades from National Geographic Traveller and the London Evening Standard.

The Island could already offer its visitors more than 200 miles of bridleways and cycle ways, easy access to several bike hire companies, and an unbeatable backdrop of both coast and countryside.

But its cycling offer is now increasing by the day – with miles of freshly surfaced cycleway being created in key areas, and recent cycle-holiday innovations from baggage transfer options on multi-day routes, to several new “Bike-friendly Buses” with specially designed racks that can carry up to six bikes, at no extra charge.

Well funded through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), and well co-ordinated by Visit Isle of Wight, the scheme is set to grow dramatically over the next two years – and is aimed at helping the Isle of Wight become the recognised market-leader in terms of bicycling holidays in the UK.

Full details can now be found on the official tourist board’s website at http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/bicycle-island.

Visit Isle of Wight has already held workshops and meetings on the Island to encourage local businesses to get involved.

The Isle of Wight Council is working with Community Action Isle of Wight to provide a Bicycle Island Development Grant Scheme, which is aimed at helping local businesses invest in new products and services to benefit visitors and residents alike.

The funding is helping them turn their ideas into new products for holiday makers who choose to use two wheels rather than four to explore the Island, and could be in the form of new cycle-hire companies – or existing firms increasing the range of services on offer.

Tom Ransom, who previously helped promote cycle tourism in New Zealand, is co-ordinating “Bicycle Island” for Visit Isle of Wight.  He was taken-on through the Isle of Wight Council’s successful LSTF bid.

He says, “We now have many tourism operators and accommodation providers wanting to be involved in the campaign.  Whether it’s investing in hire bike services or becoming accredited as “Cyclist Welcome” accommodation, more and more businesses on the Island are becoming cycle aware.  And the Bicycle Island web pages provide a really valuable platform for us to promote the Island as a genuine cycling paradise”.

The site shows the key multi-day route themes, mapping and – crucially – all of the specialist back up services available to visitors wanting to tour Bicycle Island.

The most obvious innovation for visitors to the Island is the creation of a host of day rides and three new waymarked multi-day themed trails.  Routes cover most interests, and some are specifically aimed at helping couples and families who would never normally consider taking on a cycling holiday, to take to two wheels.

The Taste Around the Island Cycle Route, for example, is a relaxed 64-mile, four-day tour on quiet country lanes.  The route highlights the best food-and-drink experiences on the Island with luggage forwarding and accommodation in quality B&Bs also available.

The Red Squirrel Trail, mostly on traffic-free cycle ways and disused railway lines, is an especially family friendly overnight mini-tour.  This “rail trail” route, similar to the French “Voies Verts” provides a gentle gradient and outstanding backdoor views of specialist wildlife habitats including some key red squirrel spotting stops along the way.

Finally, The Chalk Ridge Extreme Route has been created for more adventurous off-road cyclists.  The 50-miles route offers some of the country’s most stunning chalk-ridge single tracks with panoramic views over the whole island.

For full details, visit http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/bicycle-island.-ENDS-

For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672

E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk

‘BIKE’ BUSES TO COME INTO SERVICE UNDER NEW SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT SCHEME

It is now easier for cyclists to take their bicycles to areas across the Island using public transport instead of their cars.

The Isle of Wight Council is working with Southern Vectis to provide bike storage facilities on four buses. The buses, which are the existing ‘Coaster’ route vehicles, have been converted to each store up to six bicycles at a time using money from the council’s sustainable transport access to tourism project, which is funded by the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF).

Four journeys will leave per day from either Ryde or Yarmouth, with some extended to include East Cowes and Newport, providing a round-the-Island connection for cyclists. It will mean cyclists can now visit local attractions or areas they would normally drive to using public transport instead with their bicycles.

Luisa Hillard is the council’s Executive Member for sustainability and welcomes the new buses. She said: “This project is part of the council’s commitment to promoting greener, car-free tourism on the Island. It will support cyclists getting from the ferries, to and from their accommodation and to the tourist attractions in more remote locations and will be particularly useful for those who may not feel able to cycle long distances but enjoy cycling locally.

“This is just one of many other exciting projects which are benefiting from government funding to improve the cycling infrastructure for visitors and locals and will strengthen the reputation of the Isle of Wight as one of the best places for a cycling holidays in the world.”

General manager of Southern Vectis, Matt Kitchin added: “The Coaster route has proven to be tremendously popular as it is a great way to see the Island and visit attractions without the hassle of driving. The addition of space for bikes on board gives more opportunities for cyclists to get out and about, enjoying the scenery without relying on a car.”

The Island’s destination management organisation Visit Isle of Wight has recently launched its ‘Bicycle Island’ scheme which is aimed at bringing more cycle tourists to the Island. Tom Ransom from Visit Wight is responsible for promoting cycle tourism and said: “Having the bike buses is a really valuable addition to our cycle friendly reputation. It makes cycle touring more accesible to all by providing a service to those of us who perhaps do not have thighs like those of Chris Hoy. Combining a bus trip with a bike ride allows people to be bolder and go further, without needing to use a car for transport”.

The newly converted Coaster buses will begin service from 5 April and will run daily until 28 September. There is no charge to carry bicycles on the buses other than the normal passenger fare.

The mechanism used for storing the bicycles has been designed by two local engineering students

Notes for editors

Please credit Isle of Wight Council if you use any this photo which shows bicycles in use on one of the storage racks.   Other photos are available on request.

The Isle of Wight Council’s Sustainable Transport Access to Tourism project is a £3.95 million project that is funded through the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Funding was won in the summer of 2012 and the programme continues until March 2015.

The Sustainable Transport Access to Tourism project involves improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure, public transport services and the provision of improved passenger transport information. In addition, the project is funding extensive marketing of the Island as a destination for “green” travel holidays. This element is being delivered by Visit Isle of Wight, the Island’s tourist board.

The overall aim of the project is to encourage more people to use sustainable travel as opposed the car while on holiday, as well as boosting the local economy by attracting increased numbers of visitors who come to the Island and travel sustainably.

Issued by:

Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer

Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254

Mob: 07976 347636

Email: simon.butler@iow.gov.uk