Cycling in the Isle of Man

There's plenty of road and off-road cycling routes on the Isle of Man

Cycling in the Isle of Man

Looking for information about cycling in the Isle of Man? Cycling UK's guide to cycling in the Isle of Man gives you routes, events, clubs and advice to inspire you to cycle in the county. ​

No Sustrans National Cycle Routes here: the Isle of Man, however much it might visually resemble northern Britain, is a self-governed island with its own parliament and laws, not part of the UK.

Some roads have no speed limit, for instance – hence Man’s popularity with motorcyclists, and setting for the annual Tourist Trophy (TT) motorbike races. Its cycling culture is strong, though: multiple Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish was born, and first trained here.

For the visitor, there’s a lot to enjoy in a ‘country’ that’s only half a day’s ride from end to end, with climbs and mountain workouts, fine coastal roads, off-road trails for mountain bikes, quiet back lanes and car (and motorbike) free paths.

The capital Douglas, where the ferry unloads visitors, has a fine promenade that’s cyclable for the length of the bay, fine for families. South of Douglas along the coast, the scenic B80 cliffside road turns into a section closed to cars, and makes a good start to a trip down to handsome Castletown, the rugged coastal cliffs of the Calf, and seaside Port Erin.

Main roads over the mountainous heart of the island take you up the slopes of Snaefell – they can be busy with traffic (it’s the TT course, indeed) but are a thrilling road ride, with some solid climbs and descents. The roads round Laxey are very scenic, but can be busy. North of Ramsey though, the island is flat and villagey, with quiet back lanes ideal for trundling.

Two of the Isle’s great attractions – the historic Steam Railway (south from Douglas) and Electric Railway (north from Douglas) – take bikes, enabling splendidly scenic linear rides.

Cycling groups and clubs in the Isle of Man

Loaghtan Loaded MTB (Isle of Man)

Social riding MTB club that also maintains new trails and organises events

What to take with you on your ride 

The only thing you really need for cycling is a bike. And maybe a phone, and credit card: in Britain you’re only a call away from any service you might need.

But unless money is no object, it’s wise to take a few things with you on a day ride. A saddlebag or rear rack and panniers are best for carrying stuff. A front basket is second best. A rucksack is third best. Your sweaty back will soon tell you why.

Cycling short distances in jeans and t-shirt is fine, but on a long or strenuous ride – over ten miles say, or in hills – those jeans will rub and the t-shirt will get damp and clingy. Shorts or, yes, lycra leggings and padded shorts will be much comfier, and merino or polyester cycling tops wick away the sweat, keeping you dry and comfy. (They don’t have to be lurid colours.)

If rain’s in the air, pack a rainproof top. If it might turn chilly, take a fleece or warm top. But the thing you’re most likely to forget is the sunblock. 

It’s remarkable how often you enjoy being out on the bike so much that you suddenly realise it’s getting dark. So take lights (which are legally required at night). They’re price of a sandwich, take no space, are easy to put on thanks to tool-free plastic clips, and the batteries last for ever.

Take a puncture repair kit (with tyre levers) and pump. Make sure it fits your valves, which will be either ‘Presta’ or ‘Schraeder’ – realising they don’t match is a very common roadside discovery! Carrying a spare inner tube (make sure it matches your tyre size) makes puncture repair much easier: mend the old one back at home. If you do get in trouble, some kindly passing cyclist will probably stop to help.

Using a helmet is a personal choice – they’re not legally required.

Cycling makes you thirsty, so take lots of water. Long-distance riders talk about ‘the bonk’ – a sudden loss of energy rendering you almost stationary. It’s miraculously and instantly cured by eating something sweet. On short rides you’re unlikely to run out of energy, but just in case, take a snack like flapjack, banana, chocolate or jelly babies. 

Taking a packed lunch or picnic will save you money, though that hot drink and cake in a cosy cafe could yet prove very tempting!

Your phone GPS could be invaluable for showing where you are when lost; you can download free detailed UK maps and GPS software before your trip. 

Paper maps are still useful, though, so take one: no power source or wifi signal required, and they’re great for suggesting possibilities or changes of plan.

What have we missed? Let us know your favourite routes by leaving a comment below. 

Cycling routes in the Isle of Man

Day trails for all abilities, and mountain biking

Cycle A-way’s list of maps, routes and resources

Journey Planner

Six One-Day Cycle Trails

Manx Mountain Bike Club Routes

Cycling events in the Isle of Man

Check out our events calendar to find a ride that suits you

Make sure your bike is working
(From our partners, Halfords)

Creaking cranks, wobbly wheels or slipping saddles are the last thing you want, but Halfords' guide to basic bike maintenance will keep you rolling smoothly. Whether you’re a regular commuter, a leisurely weekend rider, or prefer to tear it up on a serious MTB trail, signs of wear and tear might keep you off the saddle from time to time. Whilst we can’t promise to banish those roadside mishaps, we can help keep your bike tip top with our top tips!

You’re heading out on your lovely bike, with a pannier packed with your essentials. A glorious route lies ahead, but then you run into a spot of bother! Most of the time there are handy hacks you can do to tide you over whilst out and about, and we’ve taken a look into the most common bike problems and solutions…

Clicking saddle? Check that the bolts connecting the saddle to the seat post are not loose. Tighten until the saddle is firmly secured using an allen key from your trusty toolbox!

Squealing brakes? This could be down to dirt or oil on the brake pads. Give it a quick wipe down, then when you get home take the brake pads off and readjust.

Squeaky derailleur? A little lube should help. Remove any excess.

Creaky pedals? Dry pedal bearings, loose crank arms or a worn bottom bracket could be the culprit. Once home, remove and lube the pedal bearings, tighten and lube the crank arms, or replace the bottom bracket if it’s still making a fuss.

Problem areas

Some of the problems you find with your bike might need a closer look, and here’s where we can help!

Wobbling disc rotors, spongy brakes and rattling bolts needn’t be as pesky as they sound for long enough to keep you off your bike! Call and see us with your two wheels at your local Halfords, or with any other bike bothers you might have.

From as little as £15 a year, Halfords will take the labour out of looking after your bike. Halfords offer a range of care packages, they provide free fitting on all parts and accessories bought from Halfords, and even include an annual service worth £50 as part of the plan!

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