Cowes is the most northernly town on the Island and is seperated from it's sister town of East Cowes by the River Medina. Cowes has an abundance of shops, cafe's and restaurants for your perusal. It is prodominately known for its yatching fraternity that frequent the various harbours.
Cycling in and around Cowes is fairly easy as the chain ferry offers a free connection to East Cowes. The former railway line that runs the length of the River Medina to Newport has been altered to accomodate cyclists. Furthermore part of the Round the Island route runs west around Gurnard bay.
A nice steady route that utilises another old railway line that used to run down the side of the River Medina. The route uses both side of the river via Newport and cross back via the Cowes to East Cowes chain ferry. The East Cowes side of the route is mainly on road (Mainly quieter roads) and has a few steady inclines and declines too. The Cowes side of the route is almost flat and well surfaced for cycling.
Distance: 15KM / 9 Miles
The more scenic route to leave Cowes, As you will see from the map it does have several permutations mid ride which can take you through Parkhurst Forest. The full route takes you mainly on road down to Newtown Creek and then back inland toward Newport. Personally my advice would be to cycle clockwise using the old railway line first and then decide if you would like to head through the forest or continue onwards to Newtown. The views coming back this way into Cowes are then left for you to savour at the end of your ride.
Distance: 28KM / 16 Miles or Approx 19KM / 12 Miles if cutting through Parkhurst Forest
This route can be combined with the Round the Island Route to meet Route 1
The Red Squirrel trail is a number of routes that have been combined to create a network, utilising National Route 23 as the spine that goes fom Cowes to Sandown on a converted railway line.
Distance: 19KM / 12 Miles