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The Cycling Itinerary

The Cycling Itinerary

Anna Christian has been a professional cyclist for the past seven years, living and cycling on the Isle of Man when she's not away riding around the world with her 'Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur' team. Here she tells us about her favourite riding routes that she thinks feature some of the best the island has to offer...

"I have been a professional cyclist for the past 7 years, and I am currently riding for the 'Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur' team. I race and ride all over the world within the Women's World Tour and I have proudly represented Great Britain at World and European Championships, as well as for the Isle of Man at the Commonwealth Games. As much as I love to travel to new places, I do always love returning home to the Island. Whether that's to spend my time training on some of my favourite roads, or enjoying some downtime exploring the Island in a different way! These are some of my favourite routes that I've picked out that I think feature some of the best the Island has to offer for bike riding."

RIDE ONE - 36km / 22m

The Heritage Railway AKA ‘the old railway lines’ is probably the most familiar route on the Isle of Man. I think it’s great that it’s had a little spruce up over these last few years, as access to off-road cycling and walking is definitely needed, suiting everyone of all ages and abilities.

For me, this route starts at the Quarter Bridge in Douglas, heading west out to Peel. The out and back loop is a total of 36 km / 22 miles on a pancake flat terrain, but with the delightful backdrop of the rolling countryside. It has the option for a pit stop at picnic bench areas at 4.5 miles and 9.3 miles along from this direction, making for a very ideal spring/summer day out!

However, if you fancy the full coast to coast ride to Peel and back to Douglas, then you’ve definitely got to mark the mid way point with a stop at ‘Roots’ cafe. I can very confidently recommend the ‘bagel-beetch’, (a strong 10/10 in the bagel game), as well as a billionaire brownie alongside your coffee. Then maybe even go for the full Peel promenade experience and treat yourself to a Davison’s ice cream too.

And while I’m here plugging the great Manx food choices, then riding out on this route to catch the sunset by the castle with fish’n’chips (cheese and gravy optional) is also a top Manx summer evening out.

RIDE TWO - 50km / 30m

The southern roads of the Island are where I find myself on most of my training rides, as I have certain loops that suit my certain training sessions. And the one day of the training week I always look forward to is the ‘easy day’, which is planned as a 1- 2 hour cafe spin - a steady ride with a cake stop being the only objective structured in, lovely!

This loop heads to the wholesome The Sugarloaf Cafe in Port St Mary. Where its dreamy selection of bakes, including THE best scones that you’ll ever eat, has made it a favourite cafe stop for many.

This loop is pretty straightforward, around 50 km / 30 miles in total. Starting along Marine Drive with its beautiful coastal views, and heading south in a near direct route to Port St Mary, keeping the coast on your left and in sight near enough the entire way to the cafe. After probably my two rounds of coffee and bakes, I’d then take a more inland ride home through the southern villages. However, there is a choice of roads you can take on the way back, suiting whatever terrain you fancy that day. I just hope the route home decision isn’t as hard as it is deciding at the Sugarloaf’s cake counter!

RIDE THREE - 108km / 67m

I’ve always found some of the best days on the bike are the ones you talk about afterwards. You’ve taken on a certain brutal climb or route and it’s given you a strong sense of pride, which it should! It may be even better when ridden with friends so you’ve achieved it together. It’s a great idea to tick off that weekend challenge and endorphin boost with a brutal, but fun, day out on the bike on the Manx climbs; as it’s fair to say we’re spoilt with a fair share on our doorstep.

I know I’m lucky to call the roads of the Isle of Man my training ground, the testing terrain means I can really push myself through a good route plan. I’ve done this the last few lockdowns, by planning my endurance rides on the roads I’d never normally ride.

This last loop has been one of my favourites I’ve done, finishing with 108 km and over 2300 m elevation. I started from the east in Douglas, heading towards Baldwin with a detour off some ‘warm up' climbs before taking on the infamous, Injebreck climb. It then takes in a lap of Peel coast road, before heading back up the Sartfield climb, to head across to the mountain, then dropping into the ‘loop-de-loop’ lanes of Glen Roy on the way to Laxey and on to a final lap around Maughold’s leg burning punchy climbs. And if you haven’t been able to appreciate the picturesque views throughout the 90km so far ridden, then you definitely will when you’re finishing up the loop back on the east coast road knowing the cafe is now in sight…and taste.

The Shed at the Dhoon is the first cafe you’ll come across and further on, The Shed at Laxey beach is also another great option. Ballacregga Tea Rooms by the Laxey Wheel serve up the perfect ride refuel (cake) too! Although if you’re heading home in the north direction, then an end-of-ride stop at Conrod’s Coffee Shop is a must – as the brownies are always a must!

RIDE FOUR

Although I spend 99% of my two wheel time on a road bike, I do also enjoy the odd mountain bike ride to keep things fun and different. However, as I’ve already implied, I am a MTB rookie and think my usual go-to route may show that. But this means it can be enjoyed by all abilities and speeds, depending which tracks you pick within the plantations. I like to head along the railway lines before heading up to the plantations.

Going from Archallangan- South Barrule- Cringle, trying to stay as off road as possible in between each, which is easily done.

The coffee cottage based at South Barrule plantation is a great cafe to tie into this loop as it is very bike and mud friendly. An additional bonus being that depending on the season, you can either enjoy your food and drink indoors sat cosy by the fire or outdoors (cosy-ish) in the Manx sunshine!

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Product Information

  1. Heritage Trail (Old Railway Line)

    Douglas

    Grading: Easy
    Distance: 10 miles
    Start & Finish: Douglas or Peel

    Please note: Some sections of the route are currently closed for on-going maintenance during the weekdays.

  2. Peel Cycle Route

    Peel

    Grading: Easy/Moderate
    Distance: 6 - 10 miles
    Start & Finish: House of Manannan

  3. Davison's Ice Cream Parlour

    Peel

    Davison's Ice Cream Parlour is a small family run ice cream outlet overlooking the historic seafront and beautiful sandy beach of Peel and the west coast of the Island. We have been producing ice cream on the Isle of Man since 1995 using only the finest locally sourced double cream and butter and…

  4. Laxey Cycle Route

    Laxey

    Grade: Difficult/Strenuous
    Distance: 6 miles
    Start & Finish: Laxey Manx Electric Railway Station

  5. The Shed

    Laxey

    Quirky, cosy, artisan beachside eatery on the far end of Laxey Promenade. Open all year round, you can be sure of a warm and friendly welcome. We pride ourselves in serving fresh local food, great coffee, a range of homemade cakes and treats and our popular homemade natural, raw cold pressed…

  6. Archallagan Forest

    Foxdale

    Archallagan, also known by some as the Forest of a Thousand Trails, is popular among mountain bikers, walkers and horse riders.

  7. South Barrule Mountain Bike Trails

    A great introduction to mountain biking for first time visitors, new riders and children. Each trail goes through the forest at the foot of South Barrule and are fully sign posted and feature hand built single-track sections. 

  8. 1: Raad Daawheeyl

    Douglas

    Grade: Difficult/Strenuous
    Distance: 91.3 miles
    Start & Finish: Old Market Hall, Douglas

  9. 2. Raad Daawheeyl

    Isle of Man

    Grade: Strenuous
    Distance: 52.7 miles
    Start & Finish: Old Market Hall, Douglas

  10. 3. Raad Daawheeyl

    Isle of Man

    Grade: Moderate
    Distance: 30.3 miles
    Start & Finish: Old Market Hall, Douglas

  11. 4. Raad Daawheeyl

    Ramsey

    Grade: Moderate
    Distance: 40.5 miles
    Start & Finish: Ramsey Queens Pier

Itinerary Distances

FromToDistance * (metric)
Heritage Trail (Old Railway Line) (54.15409,-4.50321)Peel Cycle Route (54.22216,-4.6976)13.28
Peel Cycle Route (54.22216,-4.6976)Roots by The Sea (54.22391,-4.69266)0.34
Roots by The Sea (54.22391,-4.69266)Davison's Ice Cream Parlour (54.224,-4.69475)0.12
Davison's Ice Cream Parlour (54.224,-4.69475)Laxey Cycle Route (54.23202,-4.40513)16.98
Laxey Cycle Route (54.23202,-4.40513)The Shed (54.22362,-4.39386)1.07
The Shed (54.22362,-4.39386)Ballacregga Corn Mill (54.23748,-4.40876)1.64
Ballacregga Corn Mill (54.23748,-4.40876)Archallagan Forest (54.16708,-4.60189)13.34
Archallagan Forest (54.16708,-4.60189)South Barrule Mountain Bike Trails (54.15716,-4.64344)2.63
South Barrule Mountain Bike Trails (54.15716,-4.64344)1: Raad Daawheeyl (54.14812,-4.4788)9.7
1: Raad Daawheeyl (54.14812,-4.4788)2. Raad Daawheeyl (54.14812,-4.4788)0
2. Raad Daawheeyl (54.14812,-4.4788)3. Raad Daawheeyl (54.14812,-4.4788)0
3. Raad Daawheeyl (54.14812,-4.4788)4. Raad Daawheeyl (54.31844,-4.37524)18.11
Total Distance *77.21 miles
Estimated Journey Time2.49 hours

* Approximate distance by road

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