Calling anyone who lives on/near South Downs Way
Hey all, im determined to do the South Downs way in a day and have it currently planned for this Saturday (22nd May)
The weather however, is threatening to change that plan…
I plan to leave it until literally 11th hour before going ahead or calling it off
Couple of things for anyone nearby…
Is the weather as bad as the reports are saying or is it more light showers at the minute?
I know people are saying don’t do it in the rain but I’m wondering if it can really be THAT bad if it’s light showers?! I don’t mind getting a bit wet but if it’s gonna pour down the whole way then I figure it’s best to call it off
Michael Fish of the South Downs Way, I call on you for help and advice…What say you?!Posted 8 months ago
Do we still have to do this?!Posted 8 months ago
I live “near” the Winchester end. It’s pissed down today and overnight
That said, 2-3 dry days before, esp witha bit of sun & wind and it’ll be very rideable in my experience (of 1 ride; really windy day after overnight heavy rain. Grim to start at the Winch end but was fine after about QECP)Posted 8 months ago
@scaredypants Thankyou, weather in various places is saying various things for Friday and Saturday so far
Rain, light showers, sun, cloudy, difficult to know which one to believe ha ha
Not being anywhere Winchester (where I’m starting from) I’ve no idea what it’s actually like in comparison to the reports
Currently trying to gauge weather in Winchester, Chichester (mid point?!) and EastbournePosted 8 months ago
Winchester end is muddy; beyond half way it’s more chalky and that’s the bit that gets slippy in the wetPosted 8 months ago
Up on Bow Hill (just a couple of miles South of where the SDW passes Hooksway between South Harting and Cocking.Posted 8 months ago
It’s been raining on and off since yesterday, some heavy periods too.
Ground conditions still pretty firm though so as long as it doesn’t persist all week you should still be ok next weekend.
I live about 10km from Firle Beacon at the Eastbourne end and I’ll be commuting to work over it at least twice next week so happy to give you updates on condition. At the moment it’s been ok and we have had rain but not torrential, just a few moderate showers.Posted 8 months ago
I’m ~12 miles of tarmac south west of Warnford’s Beacon Hill, it’s been a mix of light rain, plus cats ‘n’ dogs rain from at least 0700ish until ~1400. Road outside at ~200 feet already starting to show dry patches, exposed up at ~600 feet on the ridge it dries quickly, especially in a bit of breeze.
Hard to believe we are in mid May, weather here has been mingin’ since early March when I did my only outdoor 100Km so far this year, time off work almost always spent indoors out of the cold/wind/rain is making the flat feel like a life prison sentence.Posted 8 months ago
weather here has been mingin’ since early March
Really? It barely rained all April, was fabulous. OK, you needed an extra layer and tights but i’d much rather April than this crap outside?Posted 8 months ago
Typical 10-13C plus wind chill factor making it feel colder, with lots of days with winds gusting to approx 25-60mph, is not my definition of fabulous… Before we talk about the the added rain in recent weeks. 😆Posted 8 months ago
Been pretty crappy on and off since yesterday in Chichester. Not been up onto the downs but suspect it’s probably a bit slidy.Posted 8 months ago
Driest april for 20 years, also one of the coldest.Posted 8 months ago
Near winch end today and its intermittent downpours
Tbh you need to ask this thurs as 2 days of sun with breeze will dry it enough to make a huge difference. Especially with the ground being so dry amd absorbant
Hi @donslow,Posted 8 months ago
was out on the stretch from Clayton to the top of Kingston ridge this morning. It was pretty wet and was getting quite muddy in places already (not January muddy, but muddier than it has been for 8 weeks at least. Was pretty grubby when i got home. It depends on your comfort levels with mud, but I think it will be that that might cause you problems more that just riding through the rain. With more rain forecast this week it will be worth waiting and seeing how things develop and what folks are saying along the route. I am planning to be out agaun later in the week and can feedback on this stretch.
Would agree with singletrackmind. Have you seen the winds forecast for next weekend? The current forecast is F6-8 from the SouthWest which in theory should push you along from Winchester end but in practice will just batter you around on the tops.
I, however, am responsible for trying to find some ridable bits for Tuesday night. Not sure I fancy my chances of finding something that is not a grim slipfest much at the moment. It’s been filthy the last couple of days with some fairly yucky heavy showers.Posted 8 months ago
Thanks for all the comments/help, massively appreciated
Anyone that offered to update, that would be brilliant Thankyou again
Was going to check it all thoroughly on Thursday before making the journey on Friday (Winchester is a fair stretch from Essex) but interested to see how much a weeks worth of weather is treating the routePosted 8 months ago
I ride the Brighton to Eastbourne section all year round. Occasionally it turns into a sticky mess but normally I just mince down (and up) the fabled green chalk and get plastered in mud on the rest of it! Saying that, I’d wait for fair weather to do the whole lot as it’s such an effort to ride in poor conditions.Posted 8 months ago
Hi, I live just a few miles north of Harting Down, east of QECP, lots of heavy rain showers yesterday and today it’s been raining most of the day with some very heavy down pours. Not seen a forecast for the coming week but if it keeps raining then it’ll get quite muddy and more importantly the chalk will be VERY slippery, and most of the SDW is chalk. I’d wait for a drier spell of weather and a south westerly wind, you’ll enjoy it more. Cheers BobPosted 8 months ago
BBC are saying rain showers all week Winchester day at least, except Wednesday I think. Is that accurate? No idea.lol
Posted 8 months ago
@donslow, what sort of time are you aiming for? Just nosey, took me over 16 hours riding time last year. I’m not very fit as you might guess.😂
Had so much rain in Winchester this weekend. Many of the bridleways round here have turned to gloop again. Cant see it drying out much this week with all the rain forecast.Posted 8 months ago
I live a half mile south (and a couple of hundred meters lower) than the sdw near ditching. Pissed it down a few times today, but was mostly dry. If it doesnt rain too much the coming week i think it’ll dry out and drain quite quickly, it’s probably the 3 days before that are most critical.Posted 8 months ago
“I live a half mile south”
Half a mile north? Or are you in Standean Bottom?
Just under 3 miles south and it’s pretty wet here – however it was so dry for so long in early spring that if it stops raining it’ll dry out pretty fast. That does also mean that it could be rather slippery, very sticky or perfectly fine depending on how this week goes…Posted 8 months ago
OP you might want to load up Yr.No on your phone for good hour by hour forecasting. (They are surprisingly accurate, probably due to investing Norwegian petrochemical earnings in useful stuff not paying their friends for useless equipment).Posted 8 months ago
Can I make an alternative suggestion? (That may or may not be irrelevant based on your availability.)
Wait until it’s sunny. I live here, the SDW doesn’t have any drama, it’s beauty is only revealed on a clear bright day. If you want to ride through a Mint Sauce cartoon strip you want the sun on your back.
It’s an epic ride and to me, really worth waiting for the right conditions, in the drizzle it’s just a bit ‘meh’.Posted 8 months ago
“I live a half mile south”
Half a mile north? Or are you in Standean Bottom?
durr yeah, brain fart there. And actually a mile, not half of one (just checked it on a map)Posted 8 months ago
I was going to do one last Thursday and pulled the plug cos of the slippys; its rained lots since then so my advice would be to postpone for now and go n do something to prepare for when the weather is better. Loads of good advice above for sure about how quickly the trail dries and where dries first. My guage is always the flat section of Heyshott down (just east of the Cocking tap) and if thats dry to ride, you are good to go.Posted 8 months ago
I live at Shoreham by Sea – so not far from Chanctonbury and Truleigh Hill. The SDW is riding okay at the moment – and it is absorbing most of the rain, as it hasn’t rained fro weeks. But that may well change this week …Posted 8 months ago
I live a third of the way along. Looking at the forecast this week and the rain we’ve had in the last few days, I wouldn’t be riding the SDW next week. The top surface can get quite claggy and slow you down a lot. But I am a fair-weather mtber so I’m sure you’d manage it.Posted 8 months ago
@donslow – what time are you looking at setting off? Me and 3 chums are looking at leaving Winchester at 7.
Having said all that, it does seem a mixed response with regards to doing it or not.
Is the biggest problem the slippy nature of the chalk? Or claggy mud slowing you down/making it hard going?Posted 8 months ago
I live on the sdw. In the proper mud I just wouldn’t bother. You will have literally no traction: either your wheel is spinning and going nowhere, or it will pick up enough mud to jam your back wheel. It will be slow, penitential going with no reward as you delicately slide your way down the only fun downhills because you can’t brake or lean the bike to turn. I’d prefer to do it in the snow and ice. Maybe on a fatbike with mud tyres? It’s that horrible cloggy chalk that just gloms to everything.
I’d run it if I was doing it wet. You’d need a cyclo-cross pit crew every 5k otherwise.Posted 8 months ago
I attempted it once from Winchester in damp conditions and the bikes were unrideable within an hour. Craggy sticky mud doubling the weight of them and eventually stopping the wheels turning.
Don’t bother this weekend.Posted 8 months ago
Got caked in mud this weekend. Another week of rain and it won’t be fun.Posted 8 months ago
Thanks again for all the updates / advice, will certainly be keeping a close eye on everything and then decide come Thursday night but certainly not looking promising at the minute
@v7fmp agreed, mixed responses / advice with a leaning toward don’t do it
Currently plan on leaving Winchester around 5 or 6am…note, PLAN to… ha ha I figure, somewhere between 12 & 16 hours from one end t’other, not a terrible time to get into EastbournePosted 8 months ago
Craggy sticky mud doubling the weight of them and eventually stopping the wheels turning.
This happened to me yesterday, riding up to Truleigh Hill on the SDW. Very sticky and slidy.
The actual SDW at that point was fine though.Posted 8 months ago
(Am trying to include an image – but I singularly fail to manage to load any to the forum for some reason)
So this was after 40k on the downs yesterday, some of it on the Clayton to Kingston Ridge section. I’ve come back muddier, but this was more type 2 fun than than type 1. Tracks were pretty muddy and standing water in places. Passable but a bit sketchy and i still have Nobby Nics on rather than faster XC rubber. Looking at the forecast for the Ditchling ridge and beyond this week I doubt it will have much chance to dry out much.
I guess it depends on how comfortable you are with 160 k of those kinds of conditions, what wet weather gear you’re wearing, and what your bail out options are if you get too cold and wet. I know I’d wait for better conditions.
Mudguards rule.😁Posted 8 months ago
@poopscoop Front yes, Back no. Haven’t found a back one that works properly so don’t bother.Posted 8 months ago
^^What bike is it mate out of curiosity?Posted 8 months ago
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