Cycling as tourism

By | Category: Travel rumblings

enjoying cycling with no cars around

We are half way through the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival which has a number of different events taking place on the island. Taking place at the same time as the Tour de Britain, this is for the amateur and those that just like cycling.

The Isle of Wight has been voted one of the world’s best cycling destinations. With over 200 miles of well-maintained cycle tracks, byways and bridleways, stretching across rolling countryside, Heritage Coast, and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Isle of Wight offers a diverse terrain with routes to suit all abilities.

As an incentive for visitors from nearby counties to cross to the island the ferry company, Red Funnel, is giving a discount of 20% off return ferry crossings but here’s the catch. It is only valid if you book accommodation with them as well.

It isn’t the only catch that cyclists are running across. Criticism is growing – in Surrey at least – of the closure of roads and the disruption that this causes to residents and to the tourist economy. Twice in the last year roads have been closed virtually all day in that county and residents haven’t been able to get anywhere other than by train. This weekend during the Tour de Britain, the same won’t occur again because the road closures aren’t going to last anywhere as long but they will still inconvenience.

Some country roads aren’t geared for long weaves of cyclists as they are too narrow. In order to get past a snake of eight to ten cyclists I have seen car drivers take risks trying to overtake them having been stuck behind them for some miles. It is no good saying car drivers should be more thoughtful if the cyclists aren’t prepared to behave similarly. It isn’t uncommon to see cyclists two or three abreast and to see them sometimes swerve in the middle of the road to avoid a pothole or a manhole cover.

More cyclists on the roads mean there will have to be some give-and-take. That isn’t helped by irritating residents and tourists who feel they are the butt of the cycling boom.

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