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