Arriving at Ryde Pier Head via the Wightlink Fastcat on Friday afternoon, attendees of the Wight Prestige were welcomed by event organiser Tim Wiggins and the Garlic Farm’s Barnes Edwards.
Shown the way by local cycling experts, the attendees were led in groups back to the Garlic Farm, taking in a number of quiet lanes and bridleways to give them a preview of the gravel riding to come. Luggage was transported by Island-based People Powered CIC electric cargo bikes – making for a completely car-free event, something the Isle of Wight is increasingly known for thanks to the ‘Drive Less See More’ campaign.
Welcome drinks from Yates’ Brewery, which borders the Garlic Farm, awaited the arrivals before they settled into their accommodation for the weekend: luxury yurts.
With a preview of the cycling ticked off, it was time for a look at the amazing food the attendees would be treated to for the duration of their time on the Island. A special menu was laid on by the fantastic team in the Garlic Farm Restaurant, with beef burgers from the resident highland herd alongside wonderful vegetarian and vegan choices.
Over the next 2 days the riders – split into 2 groups and shown the way by local cycling experts – rode the bridleways, byways and pristine tarmac roads of the Isle of Wight, covering distances of between 70km and 100km on Saturday, with a more relaxed ride of either 30km or 50km on Sunday.
Tim Wiggins, found of Wight Prestige, has said:
“This weekend was all about great company, amazing riding and fantastic food. I wanted to showcase what the Island has to offer for a gravel cyclist. You don’t need to get on a plane to experience that feeling of escape and adventure; the Isle of Wight can offer an amazing cycling holiday”.
Barnes Edwards, director of The Garlic Farm, adds:
“Gravel cycling on the Island is fantastic, in large part because there are 827 kilometres of public rights of way here. This is the most concentrated network of any county in England. Our guests were overjoyed by this access to nature, the beautiful views and varied terrain. They were also delighted to experience the whole weekend without getting in a car.
“The warm generosity of locals was fantastic; David and Jane Isaac provided a perfect cake stop and Island riders Tim, Joe, James, Matt and Jack made our visitors feel very welcome… No-one went home hungry!”
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Linking the event up with other cycling-focused Isle of Wight businesses, the Wight Prestige groups were treated to a great lunch at Chessell Pottery Cafe during Saturday’s longer rides, which was timed perfectly with the morning’s rain clearing for a sunny afternoon’s riding.
The Wight Prestige will be back in 2022, with plans for several events throughout the year, as part of a wider push to showcase the Island as a ‘Drive Less See More’ car-free holiday destination.
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