Cycling and surfing round the Island.
In 2014, James Hickman cycled and surfed his way down 2,916 miles of stunning coastline, in Canada USA and Mexico. This time he wanted to try the equally stunning, but slightly easier 50-odd mile Jersey trip.
“The key to this trip is taking it slow, so stop, lock up your bike, grab your camera and start exploring the tidal pools and long sandy beaches.”
There’s something about the mesmerising repetitiveness of pedalling that lulls your mind into deep thought. The slower pace means you get to take in all your surroundings. And, then you get that addictive rush from reaching the top of a seemingly endless hill. Cycling trips have it all. Throw in the thrill of catching a wave, and you’re really onto an adventure.
Late last year, I loaded my bike with tools, camping gear, a wetsuit, surfboard and a few pairs of underwear – and set off to explore the Pacific Coast. The lakes of Canada, the dramatic coastline of Oregon, the giant Redwoods of Northern California and the perfect waves of Mexico, are all spectacular. However, I found Jersey to be not a bad imitation – okay the trees aren’t as big, and nor are the burgers – but with phenomenal year round surfing and beautiful scenery, it makes for a great voyage, for anybody who fancies something a little different.
Booking in advance with Condor Ferries from Poole, meant I could secure passage for my bike and board completely free of charge. Once on the mainland, I started heading east out of St Helier. Cycling counter clockwise, my route began pedalling past the beautiful tidal beaches of La Rocq. The key to this trip is taking it slow, so stop, lock up your bike, grab your camera and start exploring the tidal pools and long sandy beaches. Next, the East Coast winds through miles of tracks in the incredible woods of St Martins.
For cyclists, Jersey is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets – boasting 350 miles of roads, byways and lanes to explore and all with some spectacular scenery!
If you don’t fancy lugging all that gear around, there are several surf rental shops dotted around the island.
On any cycle trip, you need to keep up the calories, so for me it was a great excuse to sample the local food! Make sure you stop for a Jersey ice cream and a great view on St Catherine’s Pier. After this point, the scenery steps up a gear, but so do the hills – the amazing North coast needs to be savoured, but it isn’t easy on the legs – have a picnic on one of the many scenic outlooks or explore the amazing Plemont caves.
On the West coast, St Ouen’s Bay is exposed to the swells of the Atlantic Ocean - with world-class waves, and a spot with the perfect ride for beginners through to experts. Set up camp here for a few days, grab a board and a wetsuit and get stuck in. The summer usually sees lazy, mellow long rides that are great for long boarders and first timers. Winter, can see giant waves where Jersey professional Ben Skinner, learnt everything he knows. Check with the local surf shops for the latest forecasts.
On the South Coast you’ll find the stunning St Brelade’s Bay, where some of the best restaurants line the beach front, so treat yourself, you’ve earned it. This is the type of trip you’ll be dining off for months, so go on, get freewheelin’ round Jersey!
For cycle routes and maps www.jersey.com
For surf rental and information www.laneezericeira.com/