Isle of Wight bike company continues to pedal to success

Increased interest in sustainable travel has led to an Isle of Wight company officially opening a second location for its cycle hire business.

Routefifty7 has been operating successfully from Lower Hyde, welcoming cyclists from all over the world to explore the Isle of Wight, particularly the popular Red Squirrel Trail.

But now they’ve responded to demands for a less strenuous cycling route and set up a second base on Shanklin Esplanade.

It’s billed as the worlds first cycle hire in a car park, and was officially opened on during the Shanklin Regatta by Cllr Ian Ward.

The new development on Shanklin Esplanade is targeted at those less keen on cycling over hills or rough terrain.

Kevan Ansell is a director at Routefifty7 and explains the second location:

‘What we wanted to do is cater for those cyclists who are much more novice and just want to do a couple of miles or maybe just an hour up and down, so what we thought, the perfect place is the revetment.  And the revetment is a fantastic, safe, flat, smooth cycle path. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to carry on and you want to go up Culver Cliff, if you’re a bit stronger, you can. But for the novice it’s absolutely brilliant.’

Kevan continued:

‘Routefifty7 has been going for 5 years now, it’s been really good, year on year we’ve grown. The first year was quieter but we’ve built the website up and we’ve almost doubled every year in terms of bikes getting out.’

Sustainable travel is increasingly becoming a major factor in people’s holiday plans and the operation is funded in part thanks to funding from the Department of Transport’s sustainable travel access fund.

Kevan points out the Routefifty7 is ideally placed to be a part of that sustainable travel message:

‘I think that’s becoming a hot topic nowadays. A lot of people that do turn up, they turn up specifically without cars and I suppose the beauty of the Isle of Wight is that it is so easy to get down from London. You just jump on the train, the boat’s immediately there, you get on what I like to call the ‘old rattler train’ which brings you through to Shanklin and you come straight here. That’s perfect for people that don’t want to drive and the sustainable cycling and all that side of it is taking off.’

The Island has been recognised by popular tourism bible ‘Lonely Planet’ as the best place to go on a cycling holiday in the world. Kevan added that the support of Visit Isle of Wight has been vital to their success:

 ‘I genuinely don’t think we would have survived without Visit Isle of Wight, they’ve been absolutely brilliant for us, and I like to think that we help them. We’re all here to help each other out at the end of the day, we’re all trying to make this place a great place to be, so we’re all helping each other. They’ve been fantastic, we’ve done whatever we can to help them out so hopefully it’s a good and ongoing relationship.’

Nicola Rogers, Visitor Travel project manager said:

‘The new location is ideal for visitors who may not have considered getting on a bike and the revetment is perfect for taking a gentle ride along the seafront. We have a fantastic working partnership with Routefifty7 and we hope to work with them on some exciting new sustainable transport projects with them in the near future.’