Enjoy your ride, weather will be fine – never rains here " So said Lee Matthews, recreation and open spaces manager at Isle of Wight Council, the day before Velocity's ride around the island.
Assistant director of regeneration Reniera O’Donnell was a little more realistic. "I have seen the forecast – not ideal cycling weather! I don’t blame you for sticking to the route."
The next day, rain and wind (and a long lunch in the excellent Smoking Lobster, Ventnor) meant that we weren't able to take up the council's kind invitation to detour through Newport Harbour to sniff around the flagship development site, for which a masterplan is due next April. That's one more reason to return to the island.
Plans include pedestrianisation of the whole site to encourage more walking and cycling. "The site links to the cycle path that goes to Cowes on the west side and East Cowes on the east side," said O'Donnell. "We hope to be able to include a foot and cycle bridge across the Medina. There is currently a bike hub on the site and the Council has ambitious plans to extend our cycle ways and encourage far more cycling across the whole island."
"We are developing lots of new initiatives around cycling," Matthews added. "A new walking and cycling strategy, expansion of cycle route network across the island, working with Ryde and Newport communities of cycling and working closely with schools, businesses and tourist partners on expanding the cycle offer. All supported by the Department for Transport."
Meanwhile the Island Roads PFI is retarmacing all the island’s roads. Starting in 2013, over 300km have been improved, including 100km in 2018. Military Road was resurfaced in October, just in time for Velocity's circuit on 9 November, when the roads were an absolute pleasure to cycle on.