The weather was overcast with the promise of some sunshine. We headed out of Shanklin around 9:30, clockwise as the wind was light we had a rather steep climb out, which was a bit of a shock.
The first 10 miles were quite hilly and were a bit start stop as we regrouped after each climb. Once we hit the military Road it was much easier to stay together at a steady pace. We had decided not to visit the needles so headed up to Yarmouth using the roads rather than the official route. We stopped at The Gossips Cafe in Yarmouth for coffee and cake and sat outside in sunshine for a short rest.
Reaching Cowes we crossed on the chain ferry having missed it by less than a minute. We decided to go a bit further before stopping for some lunch, and headed out following the official route plotted on my Garmon 500. Up until then it had worked OK, but just as we were weaving out of Cowes the screen decided to go blank, never to return. Thgis proved a bit inconvenient as we had no map! We picked up te signs for the official route, but quickly lost them again, so just rode from memory.
We took a wrong turn and ended up in Brading, which had little open, at that point we decided rather than head out to Bembridge as planned we would head directly to Sandown where we stoped on the seafront for a sandwich, and a well earned beer.
The weather by now was overcast and chilly so we were quite pleased to be nearly home, we rode along the seafront to Shanklin where had an extemely steep climb up a footpath to Shanklin.
Overall, a nice day ride. The official route didn't seem particularly well signed, and as others have said, misses out a lot of the best places. I think we would have been better to follow the coast to Ryde. The condition of the roads was very poor in places.