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Autumn Jersey Cycle Tour

Cycling in Jesery

  • Island-wide cycling network makes cycling a pleasure
  • 100 miles of cross-island routes
  • Plenty of cycle shops and hire facilities
  • Explore 50-miles of ‘Green Lanes’ where pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders have priority over cars, and motorists must slow to 15 miles an hour.
  • Download the Jersey Cycle Guide & Map

The Channel Isle of Jersey may not spring to most cyclist’s minds as a touring destination (c’mon it is only a small island, isn’t it?) but there are 350 miles of quiet roads, byways and lanes to explore. Add to this the steep hills to and from the spectacular beaches and there are plenty of routes to satisfy a few days touring needs.

We set off from Poole in Dorset, leaving the car in the car park and cycling on-board the catamaran for the 4 hour journey past the other Channel Islands. Just for once the cyclists took priority over the car as we were ushered into the parking bays, tethered our bikes and made our way up the stairs to the passenger deck and our reserved seating. The weather was a bit rough and not many people took advantage of the cafe and bar on-board but once we arrived in St Helier and wheeled our bikes off the catamaran we felt fine.

We cycled the two miles to our hotel in the rush hour but Jersey has very well signposted cycle routes along the sea front, past the power station and only a short distance on the road. The drivers are courteous and considerate, waving us across the road and giving us right of way at junctions. It was a little nerve-wracking for the first day or two as our local Essex drivers are, shall we say, not usually so polite and we were not used to being made to feel so special!

We had chosen a 3 star hotel on the seafront, all the rooms were en-suite with a TV and tea maker, the hotel had a bar, games room with a pool table so we were happily entertained after the evening meal and a few drinks.

Our first days cycling commenced after an excellent cooked breakfast. The group of 7 club cyclists assembled outside the garage, where they were storing our bikes overnight, for the usual morning discussion about the weather, clothing and route. We chose to cycle along the sea front eastwards past the Napoleonic fortifications, Martello towers and the dramatic coast line towards Gorey. At the harbour we stopped to take photos of Mont Orgueil castle and of ourselves in various silly poses before heading northwards along the coast road.

Our morning coffee and doughnut stop was at the Breakwater café where we huddled inside discussing whether the drizzling rain was in fact, only a sea mist. Outside we picked up Cycle Route 1 past Rozel Bay through tiny country lanes until we came to the infamous hill that is Bouley Bay. Pete was at the front of the group and as he went round an extremely sharp hair pin bend, he was on the centre white line but unfortunately so was the one and only car ascending the hill. The rest of us managed to avoid running Pete over and he quickly picked himself up, checked nothing was broken and we carried on to the Black Dog pub in the Bay. The bar man kindly provided antiseptic spray and plasters and we all admired and took photos of the “street pizza” that was Pete’s buttock!

After an excellent lunch we climbed back out of Bouley Bay and zig-zagged through the lanes until we picked up another Cycle Route back to St Helier and a visit to the pharmacy for Pete. The rest of us visited a Cycle shop and negotiated a nice discount from the VAT-free prices.

Day two we cycled from the hotel westwards through St Helier on the cycle route along the sea front past Elizabeth Castle, then through the town northwards until we picked up Cycle Route 9, then Route 5 and Route 3. These Cycle Routes are fairly well sign posted and use a mixture of quiet roads and Green Lanes, a network of narrow lanes where cyclists, walkers, red squirrels and horse riders take precedence over cars and the speed limit is 15 mph.

We met a couple of local Jersey cyclists at the Living Legend for a coffee and they joined us for a meandering route to the north coast and our lunch stop at a converted watermill, now a pub in Greve de Lecq. Another excellent lunch and a photo opportunity before we climbed out of the bay and explored the north west coast for a while before we noticed that we had lost Colin and the last sighting of him was on a cliff top, camera in hand about 10 minutes earlier. Now when you bear in mind that the lanes have a bewildering number of junctions, we worried for a minute or two then remembered that the whole island is only 9 miles long, so how lost could he possibly be?

We caught up with him as we cycled down the west coast along Five Mile Road past the C.I. Military Museum and the nature reserve. Just before we got to Corbière lighthouse we rejoined Cycle Route 1 for an exhilarating downhill ride on the old railway track all the way to St Aubin’s Harbour (once the capital of Jersey where it gained riches from 18th century privateers). After afternoon tea we continued along the sea front on the cycle path all the way through St Helier and back to our hotel.

The third day most of us decided to take a day trip to St Malo on the catamaran, only £25 return with our bikes for the hour’s journey. We had planned this and brought our passports. The weather was a “heavy sea mist” but the road to Calconne was quiet with rolling hills and we arrived in time for lunch, the 3 course menu for only 12E included the obligatory Moules Marinière washed down with French beer in one of the many cafés in the harbour area. We got back to the old walled city of St Malo, round trip about 35 miles, in time for ice cream and a wander around the shops before boarding the catamaran back to St Helier.

On our last day we picked up Cycle Route 4 which was part track and lanes through the centre of the island past the Jersey War Tunnels to our lunch stop at Jersey Goldsmiths. Although the daily mileages were only about 30 miles, we explored the varied country and coastal routes of Jersey, criss-crossing the Cycle Routes and enjoying good food and very polite locals.

Travel on the catamaran and the hotel accommodation was booked with Condor Breaks who provided an excellent map and information. Jersey is suitable for all club cyclists and can be quite challenging around the north of the island or quite flat along the south coast with miles of an intricate network of cycle routes and Green Lanes. Spring and Autumn are ideal times to visit but the winters are mild too with lots to see and do.

Guest Blogger: Lynda George

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Posted by Vicky Warren