Look what Santa's brought the Isle of Wight!

Sandown cycle track 004

OK, I admit that as presents go this doesn't look too exciting, but this is the smoothest stretch of tarmac on the whole of the Isle of Wight and it has just been laid at the Sandown end of NCN23, the Newport to Cowes cycle track.

The path has been closed for several weeks now (it doesn't officially reopen until Friday) so that major remedial works could be carried out. I don't know how much it cost but I understand that it has been funded by other sources than the Isle of Wight council so island council tax payers have nothing to complain about. The previous surface was a lumpy hardcore that was most unpleasant to ride on a road bike. The river Yar runs alongside and frequent flooding worsened the already poor surface. Local cyclists knew to avoid the path after heavy rain as it was impossible to tell what was path and what was river! Wayfarer legend tells of a pair who were lucky to avoid drowning when returning that way slightly the worse for drink after the Xmas dinner!

Sandown cycle track 006

Not hard to see why it floods

I've previously posted this picture from the Daily Telegraph in a comment but, in case you missed it its here again to illustrate the extent of the problem.

Cycle path flood

Before

The surface of the track has now been raised and a new culvert constructed to divert the water away.

Sandown cycle track 002

After

I rode along this new stretch on my way to work on Tuesday and it was an absolute delight. Normally I would have taken a narrow lane that is currently covered in mud and hedge clippings. Its pleasant enough in summer but it's steep hills , blind bends and lousy surface make it no fun at all in the dark. The cycle path provided a beautiful smooth, flat ride. The Newport to Sandown cycle track is now excellent at both ends. I suppose it would be just being greedy to hope for something being done about the mud bath in the middle!

14 comments on “Look what Santa's brought the Isle of Wight!”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    I think I have cycled along this track Hilary – before it was resurfaced. Did we not go that way last year, from Cowes on our way to meet you and Dennis? If so, you cycle a long way to work!

  2. Hilary wrote:

    I celebrated too soon! I tried to cycle that way today only to find the bridge in the second photo completely submerged – maybe 18 inches of water over it! After heavy rain on Wednesday and Thursday the whole valley is completely flooded. I went round to the next road crossing and that looked to have a couple of feet of water over it. I tried to get pics with my phone but failed. Looks like that beautiful tarmac will have lasted a whole 3 days! :(

    Patrick wrote
    I think I have cycled along this track Hilary – before it was resurfaced. Did we not go that way last year, from Cowes on our way to meet you and Dennis?

    I would have thought you only cycled on the Newport end of it (it all looks fairly similar) or else you went a very long way round! Work is about 11 miles away.

  3. Patrick wrote:

    I now see where Sandown is, and we didn't go there. We cycled along the Cowes to Newport cycle track (River Medina). It's a pity you got no pics but the tarmac path might still be there when the water has gone.

  4. Garry wrote:

    It's a good start

  5. Hilary wrote:

    Patrick wrote
    It's a pity you got no pics

    Your wish is my command! Its rained heavily all day again today so I went for a little ride armed with my camera and had to pedal through 2 floods just to get there!

    Floods 002

    The bridge shown in my second picture

    Floods 004

    Where the track crosses the road

  6. Patrick wrote:

    Well done! I hope the upgrade wasn't damaged. Not much anyone can do about it either way (except wait).

  7. Hilary wrote:

    The flood waters have dropped a bit and the track is now passable again. There is a lot of mud on it by the bridge but that lovely new tarmac has survived unscathed – which is more than can be said about the surface on most of the islands roads!

  8. Patrick wrote:

    ... the track is now passable again.

    Have you been out on your bike Hilary? I've forgotten where mine is! Some sunshine tomorrow morning though...

  9. Hilary wrote:

    I've been out a few times but endless wind and rain hasn't been too conducive to cycling.
    I've just added up my annual mileage total – 8919. I'm quite pleased with that but I'll have to make 9000 next year! :)

  10. Patrick wrote:

    Well done Hilary. That is way more than me (probably less than 5,000 miles – must try harder in 2013).

  11. Kern wrote:

    Well done indeed – that's an incredible number. I blush to think what my own stats would look like. Fortunately I took my computer off my bike year before last :) .

    Happy new year everyone from the deep, dark, snowbound woods – may it be safe for all.

  12. Patrick wrote:

    Yes, happy New Year. Those woods sound like a place to be.

  13. Tony Baker wrote:

    I took the pic of the bloke in red on the bike and sent it to the Telegraph who have yet to pay me for it.

    It is in fact the road in to Grandborough in Warwickshire !

  14. Hilary wrote:

    Well I never! You can't trust anyone! I was assured that it was the cycle track! I did wonder about that post though!

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