Author Topic: Night Ride Around The Coast (Isle of Wight) 2020 (May 22- likely to be moved)  (Read 765 times)


  • Folding not boring
Yes, it's back. No, I hadn't forgotten- it was a case of finding a suitable weekend, and this one was a way off- but given what's going on with Covid-19, I thought you might like something to actually look forward to, that probably isn't going to get cancelled. Unless Wightlink decide to suspend sailings…Social isolation? Practically guaranteed on this ride.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the hardest night ride in the south of England is back again, for the seventh time.
Previous attempts at finding a refreshment stop were unsuccessful, and the peloton for this one has for some reason remained compact and bijou. Oh, I remember: It's because there are hills. Lots of hills. Whatever type of hills you really don't like, it's got them. More climbing than you can shake a stick at. Therefore, as per previous editions, the halfway will be self-catered and in a car park, unless LOTS of people suddenly sign up. Sorry. And if you think I'm joking about the amount of climbing...around 4500ft in 67 miles. When I rode Pompey-London-Brighton-Pompey, that was 8219ft. In 190 miles....We're also going round in a loop, so a headwind, tailwind and crosswinds at various points are certain. Strength thereof can be highly variable. You may get get very wet indeed.

So: If you'd like to do lots and lots of climbing on an island in the Solent with no convenient bail-out points, please express an interest.

As per the previous editions, this will not be a formal FNRttC (at least not without that halfway stop), but run very much in the same vein. Route will be thoroughly recced, waymarkers if needed, TECs, no-one left behind, and so on. Rather than write a whole new blurb, I'll (mostly) quote that from previous years:

Meet at the Portsmouth car ferry terminal (a short ride from Portsmouth Harbour station) in time for the 2359 sailing- you'll need to be checked in by 2345 at the absolute latest. And yes, after last year's timetable change, I have checked, the midnight sailing is on there…Anyone going via an alternative route or an earlier sailing will need to be at the Fishbourne terminal to meet us at quarter to one or so. After the safety talk and letting The Traffic get on its way (there will be more vehicles on the ferry than we'll see the rest of the night), we will head south and then east, picking up the IOW Randonnee route for a while, thus avoiding the exciting nightlife of Ryde. Round to The Only Shop That Is Open On The Entire Island, Ryde Tesco, for all your retail and rest stop needs. Then on clockwise to Bembridge, Sandown, and Shanklin. Undercliff Drive will still still be off the menu, it's been reopened and very nicely too. What isn't nice is the steep multiple-hairpin descent to get down there, and (you'll never guess) a steep climb up at the other end.

There is a further rest stop opportunity at Bonchurch (community toilets, open all night) before our half-way stop. Blackgang picnic site, al-fresco, but plenty of benches, and fantastic views. Unlike the roundabout at the bottom....

After that, the coastal road all the way to Freshwater- even if I say so myself, an absolutely glorious stretch. Then back north Yarmouth and on to Ryde, either via Cowes and the chain ferry to East Cowes, or through Ryde. It might well be the latter, as it worked out quite well last year & the chain ferry is a real faff even when running. Breakfast in Ryde (Wetherspoons were very helpful and did an excellent job for previous rides, many other options available). Return to the mainland either from Ryde (catamaran to Portsmouth Harbour station- ideal for trains but you'll need to buy two singles, and cat tickets are more expensive as well) or four miles back west to Fishbourne (others may prefer to leave us at Yarmouth or East Cowes if it suits better).

This is not a ride for those who are hill-phobic. There are flat sections of road, some visible without the aid of an electron microscope, but it never really settles over the 65 miles or so. Nothing really nasty, there are no Ditchling Beacons, but it's a lot of ups and downs. Compact or triple chainsets and sensible cassettes strongly recommended. I have seen people doing the Randonnee on fixed. Suffice to say, on your head be it....You will need good lights- large sections of the route are well-lit, but as much isn't. In view of the very limited bail-out opportunities (there are ferries during the night, but you might have a bit of a wait both to get back to the port and for the boat), please take extra care to check over your bike and kit, and make sure you have spare tubes, tools for non-quick release wheels (been there, done that....), and so on.
EDIT March 18: Due to the ongoing issues with, well, everything, 99.999% likely to be rescheduled. Although this is only an organised ride in a very loose sense (it's more 'I'm doing this, would anyone like to join me?') but nonetheless I'm very concious of my duty of care. Cycling UK's guidance is that all group rides should be suspended. IMHO, this would be very very low risk indeed, assuming no-one comes along when they should be self-isolating, but there is a risk nonetheless. Making that call for myself and making it for others are very, very different. And whatever Wightlink might do to services in the next few weeks will have a big impact- if they decide to suspend passenger services overnight or put restrictions on vehicle types, we're done…it might all blow over by May 22, I hope it does, but I'm very doubtful. It will happen, sooner or later, even if it's just me on my tod, but I strongly suspect it'll be later…As it is, Ryde Tesco is now shutting at 10pm to allow for restocking so that's a further spanner in the works.