Isle of Man: Best family bike rides

The Isle of Man has some great outdoor space for bike rides, especially for the family.

 

We have made Tuesdays our Summer Family Bike Ride night.  It’s a chance for us to get out, explore the island and spend time with the kids.  Keith and I tend to venture much further on a social ride but the kids have their limitations, especially after a full day in school.

 

We are based in Douglas, Isle of Man and with timing limited we don’t go too far with them in the evenings.  Here is a list of the places that we enjoy with the kids (currently aged 8 & 6):

  1. Archallaghan Plantation – 15 minutes from Douglas and our favourite by far with lots of variety (Dragonfly Lake, Blue dots, full laps, Zurich legacy trail etc..). There is a mix of firetrack, defined paths and off road adventures.  We tend to stick to the main route with snippets off the sides and not venture too far into the middle.  There are plenty of challenges (and a park) to keep your little ones entertained.
  2. Railway Lines (TT access road) – 5 minutes from Douglas centre. We mainly choose to ride the Railway line from Douglas to visit the Strang skateboard park & small BMX track.  The boys like to have speed along the railway lines (please be aware there are lots of dogs/walkers/runners though) and then complete laps around the park.  It’s not a huge riding but a great play area.  You can extend this option to ride further along the railway lines as Crosby has a small pump track and play area.
  3. Marine Drive to Port Soderick – 5 minutes from Douglas. This is a road ride, although a section is car free due to subsiding, but it’s perfectly safe.  There are hills on this ride too (some steep) which are manageable. There is also a section which is on a quiet B road, but this allows us to get the boys more road-savvy.  At the end of the downhill there is a glen and beach at Port Soderick so a quick stop and stretch of legs before the big hill back up.
  4. South Barrule Planation – 20 minutes from Douglas.  There are some nice firetrack routes and a super quick little blue run which our boys enjoy looping onto.  For the more adventurous there is a nice red run that’s recently been upgraded, bit of a climb but well worth the downhill! A skills centre is opening this weekend too (July 2017).
  5. Silverburn River – 20 minutes south; this route is part of the Millenium Way.  The distance we travel isn’t very far but it’s beautiful and takes you right next to the Silverburn river (mainly off road).  We start at ‘The Abbey’ in Ballasalla and cross the road heading towards Cross four ways/ballabeg.  You’ll see a cottage on the first corner with a path to the right of it.  Follow this route and the millenium way signs.  The route leads right through to Poulsom Park.  If you want to extend your journey there is the option to cycle out to Derbyhaven or Langness. Warning: The silverburn path can get overgrown in summer so you might want to wear long trousers to avoid nettles & briars (my kids are the worst if they get scratched or stung!). 
  6. Cohnrehnny plantation – 5 minutes from Douglas (near Creg Ny Baa).  It’s not my favourite plantation as doesn’t offer much variety but there are simple boards and drops to try out.  Although recent storm damage and felling of trees has left it quite exposed, there are hidden treasures to be found.
  7. Ramsey BMX track & Mooragh Park – 25 minutes from Douglas. When time allows this is an option that the boys love.  It’s also more of a leisurely play, rather than a ride.  The boys really enjoy doing loops on the islands biggest BMX track (that I know of).  We tend to let them ride until they’ve had enough and then head around the lake too. Great fun and topped off with a play at Mooragh Park before home time.

For more information regarding cycling on the island check out https://www.visitisleofman.com/things-to-do/activities/cycling

When we find more little gems, we’ll add them onto here!  Happy cycling.

 

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