Tom and I had some new additions to Team Prust this year, for our usual spin around the Island (previously, and previously again). We joined the other 2000 riders for a day of perfect sunshine, dry roads, and spinning spokes. Riders arrive in their droves from the mainland to join in this relaxed cycling allsorts ride, and it’s always a treat to hear unfamiliar visitors raving about the beautiful and varied Island roads.
Our North coast route took us up and down (and up again) through damp shady woodland, before rounding the corner to a fabulous view of St Helen’s Bay, and a flat spin along Bembridge Harbour. After topping up on tea and cake we headed through the narrow lanes beyond Brading and out on to the South coast road above Ventnor. Bicycles littered the road at the Whitwell pit stop, where we grinned at the drivers in their hot tin boxes. A long steady climb up to St Catherine’s Point, a steep descent down to the breadbasket of Atherfield, and out on to the coast above Compton. Riders less fearful of a puncture than I took the gravelly trainline path past the estuary to Yarmouth, before the final eastward push back to Cowes, with the wind at their backs. We didn’t escape the puncture fate, and the four of us spread out at our different paces. But regardless of how closely your team sticks together, on this ride you’re rarely out of sight of another friendly rider.
With events like this, and next week’s Walk the Wight, we delight in showing off this fabulous dot in the Solent. I only wish every day the bikes would outnumber the cars so dramatically.