“Tall enough to be interesting but small enough to be manageable”
Wowed by Wiggins and encouraged by the Olympics?
You’d like to cycle, but for whatever reason you don’t want to try it in your own backyard?
Well, come and immerse yourself in a leisure cyclists’ paradise in Jersey in the Channel Islands. Here is an island that is very cycle-friendly nine miles by five with a highest point is only 400 feet away from sea level. It has a ninety six mile Cycle Network, half of which is speed-restricted Green Lanes; that passes historic sites, beaches, cafes and other points of interest. In fact, so great was the success of the Green Lane scheme that The British Guild of Travel Writers awarded Jersey a Silver Unicorn for promoting sustainable transport.
It is a refreshingly different destination: it is part of the British Isles but not part of the European Union; it has its own money, makes its own laws and is self-governing. Here, French road names mix with a multi-cultured cosmopolitan capital, fields of Jersey cows give way to Napoleonic fortifications, and within minutes you’re off the beaten track.
Famous for its cattle, early potatoes and seafood, Jersey is a place where you’re unlikely to starve, and with all that cycling you can refuel at any opportunity. Pubs, cafes and restaurants are around every corner, and at present the island can boast three Michelin-starred restaurants with its forty five square miles.
Like a huge solar panel, the island faces due south. It enjoys a Gulf Stream climate; the average temperature is 12° centigrade, rainfall is just over 800 millimetres a year and the sun usually shines for five hours a day. Considered the ‘warmest place in the British Isles’, it has the perfect climate for gentle cycling.
Here is an island surrounded on three sides by smooth sandy beaches, and tall dramatic cliffs on the north coast. The interior is divided by five verdant valleys that run north south. Everywhere is minutes away by car, and very much within cycling and even walking distance. The Cycle Network is extremely easy to use; over six hundred roadside blue plaques mark the ten routes than go around, through the middle or up and down the island, and there is a comprehensive map available too.
Don’t forget, most of the population speak English, they drive on the left and there is no exchange rate. Tempted to visit? It’s easy to get here: Jersey is just under an hour away by plane from London, and is accessible from twenty five other UK regional airports. By sea, fast catamarans from Poole and Weymouth will get you to the island in four hours.