A Two-Wheeled Guide to Portsmouth, Southsea and Beyond

Visiting a historic city like Portsmouth on your bike is an active way to let the scenery unfold at your own pace, and there’s certainly plenty to see. With 10 colour-coded cycle routes now in place, safe cycling in Portsmouth has never been easier.

This post, courtesy of cycle specialists Start Fitness, will run through some of the best bike spots in the city and the surrounding areas of natural beauty in Hampshire.

Hayling Island to the city

You’ll be surprised at how quiet Hayling Island is, considering it’s just a short ferry trip away from its neighbouring isle of Portsea. If you’re thinking about visiting this stretch, there’s ample space and time for families to cycle along the west coast of this quaint little isle before stopping off in the town of South Hayling for a seafront ice cream or two.

From then, it’s a ride past the island’s golf course to the ferry port, where the small, bike-welcoming boat Pride of Hayling will ferry you across the narrow strait to Southsea Marina. You’ll then ride on to Southsea promenade past the imposing 17th century Fort Cumberland.

At Southsea, you’ll be able to ride unimpeded by traffic along the promenade, taking in the views of the Isle of Wight and the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel. From here you can proceed into the city, to conclude your journey with a bit of history at the Mary Rose Museum or a trip up Spinnaker Tower.

Tour the city

Exploring Portsmouth’s heritage on your bike is a unique way to see the historic port’s best sights. Portsmouth Bike Tours is a well-established company offering an entertaining and history-filled tour of the city, taking advantage of local knowledge to provide paying customers with a swift and shortcut-filled sojourn through the best of Portsmouth.

There are frequent pauses and points of interest along the tour, so cyclists of all levels can enjoy this day out at a gentle pace. Tours are available as a three-hour Grand Tour or the hour and a half Sundown Bike Tour; either of which are easy to slot into your itinerary.

Conquer Portsdown Hill

If you fancy a bit of a challenge then riding up to the top of Portsdown Hill is just the tonic. The steep climb is Portsmouth’s very own small-scale Alpe D’Huez, and once you’ve conquered it you’ll be treated with a panoramic view of the city below, as well as the South Downs and Southampton in the distance. With the road reaching a 12% gradient at certain points, you’ll be forgiven if you get off and push through the steepest sections, as even the pros struggle on this stretch of road.

Once you’re at the top, snap a picture of the dramatic view and then give your legs a rest with a leisurely downhill ride back towards the city.

So, whether it’s a country-to-city long haul ride, a hill climb or a guided tour, there’s plenty to do when you explore our historic city by bike. So pump up your tyres, fill your water bottle and you’ll soon be ringing your bell to the tune of the Pompey Chimes!

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