This is not the first and certainly not the last post about cycling on Islay. Earlier I wrote about cycling and posted a nice poem accompanied with pictures from Mark Unsworth, a photographer who lives on Islay and runs Islay Studios in Bruichladdich. Cycling is a very healthy and environmental friendly way of discovering the island. The roads are quiet, relatively flat with the occasional exception, and the single track roads are extremely quiet making cycling a pleasant way to enjoy Islay's magnificent scenery and wildlife. Yes there is a lot of wildlife to be seen and heard when you discover the island by bike. And is there another place in Scotland, or even the world, where you get a friendly wave from people passing in the opposite direction? Also called the Islay wave by the way. But what about the climate? Although Islay's climate can produce some high winds and downpoors, mostly in the wintertime by the way, the weather is often very pleasant in spring and summer.
So if you are travelling to Islay consider to take bikes with you or hire bikes on the island. The bike hires are located in several villages on the island and you can hire them for a couple of pounds a day on the following locations: Port Charlotte, Port Ellen, Port Askaig (Persabus Farm) and at the Bowmore Post Office. If you want to make reservations, here are the phone numbers: Bowmore Post Office +44 (0) 1496 810 366, Port Charlotte +44 (0) 1496 850 488, Port Askaig Persabus +44 (0)1496 840 753 and Port Ellen +44 (0) 1496 302 349.
There are a few persons on Islay who are really fanatic about cycling on the island and most of them are members of the Velo Club D'Ardbeg, formerly known as the Islay Cycling club. One of the most fanatic members is Brian Palmer who works for the Ileach newspaper. Brian will also join the London to Paris charity cycle tour from 29 june to 2 July, more about that later. If you want to sponsor Brian you can contact him through the Ileach website or the washingmachinepost, a web and blog about cycling and the homepage of the Velo Club D'Ardbeg. Brian was kind enough to send me a very nice cycling route covering the Rhinns of Islay. The tour starts in Bruichladdich at Debbies Minimarket for an espresso and carrot cake (the best on Islay, trust me for it) and takes you to Port Charlotte, Kilchiaran Bay, Portnahaven and back to Bruichladdich (Debbies). If you still have doubts about cycling on Islay or are curious about this magnificent tour you'd better read the updated Cycling page on Islayinfo. The picture shows the fine view from the terrace of Debbies Minimarket, starting place of the cycling tour.