Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 50 total)
  • Cycling the Wessex Way was the hardest ride I have ever done.
  • flanagaj
    Member

    If anyone out there fancies a 4 day (3 or 2 for the uber fit people amongst you) bike packing challenge then I would recommend the Wessex Way route from Weston Super Mare -> Eastbourne.

    I mapped the GPS route out last year and did the ride over 4 days. 2 days last week and 2 days this week. Plan originally was to do it in 3 days, but the 83 miles on day one over the Mendips and then over Salisbury Plain, took it’s toll, and I decided to cut it in half and do it over 4 days. Still it was a great ride and with the weather we have currently been having I could count the number of muddy patches for the whole 250 mile route on one hand.

    The route is here if you fancy it.

    http://my.viewranger.com/route/details/MTk5MzM=

    slugwash
    Member

    Cheers for the route πŸ™‚ I’m considering doing this later in the year if I get pressed for time and so can’t get abroad for my annual bike tour (and it stays dry!) How did the navigating and trails in the western section compare with the South Downs? Oh, and any photos to follow?

    allthepies
    Member

    I’ve done it in six days, superb route and very quiet πŸ™‚ (apart from the SDW at the end of course)

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    good job – last bit is the SDW presumably?

    I like these routes that link up different parts of the country in unexpected ways, the major arteries of an earlier time. The Ridgeway is like that.

    flanagaj
    Member

    14000ft of climbing over the 250 miles. The Mendips tops out at 1000ft, but I think the last 50 miles of the SDW to Eastbourne was the toughest. The climbs were steep and they just kept coming.

    If you have the time, then go for it. Although I found it brutal and was riding for ~ 9 hours a day it was spectacular and the scenery along the whole route was stunning.

    One from the Mendips

    Here is one from Pewsey Vale

    South Downs Way

    DanW
    Member

    Another big thank you for the route. A quality effort!

    The Mountain Bike Routes UK website says “It is a ride of epic statistics – the longest off-road, coast-to-coast ride in England,comprising a week’s trail-blazing that traverses the breadth of the ancient kingdom to which it is dedicated. Yet it is far from being tough. Although one of our longer routes it’s also one of the easiest.”

    Looks tough enough to me! Chapeau πŸ˜€

    flanagaj
    Member

    I found that comment quite funny, as I did not find it one of the easiest 8-0 Carrying all of your own gear also made it slightly tougher.

    I think that if you want to bikepack the route and want to enjoy it and take it all in, I would opt for ~ 50 miles / day

    If anyone wants anymore information, the just message me and I will see if I can help.

    I did forget one key picture

    One word.

    LIFESAVER!

    DanW
    Member

    Even not carrying you own gear, 50 off road miles a day (assuming 5 days overall) is still 50 off road miles a day! No getting around that simple fact, let alone an average of ~550ft per 10 miles climbing- not the hilliest but not exactly flat either!

    Premier Icon Straightliner
    Subscriber

    I had an attempt at it last year, planning for three days bikepacking. Unfortunately given the somewhat soggy summer I struggled horribly with some muddy sections and lots of massively overgrown bridleways that were unrideable. I pulled out on day 2 having not covered the distance I wanted to and with a massive storm coming in, but it’s definitely one I will go back to.

    flanagaj
    Member

    but it’s definitely one I will go back to

    All I can say is if you could squeeze the time off soon, then it was bone dry along the whole route and only a handful of over grown sections. In fact, I received more mosquito bites camping than stings from the stingers.

    DrP
    Member

    Ooh….
    Cheers for the route – might spend the next few days plotting this into memory map, and start twiddling my moustache whilst thinking about a mental two day attempt…..!

    DrP

    flanagaj
    Member

    Even not carrying you own gear, 50 off road miles a day (assuming 5 days overall) is still 50 off road miles a day! No getting around that simple fact, let alone an average of ~550ft per 10 miles climbing- not the hilliest but not exactly flat either!

    Fair point, and towards the end of today I was pushing the bike up the hills. Will they revoke my username for such an admission?

    flanagaj
    Member

    might spend the next few days plotting this into memory map

    There is an export to GPX link on the page. Not sure if that saves you the job

    Lazgoat
    Member

    Were you bivvying or camping in a tent? How did you carry all your gear, find water etc?

    DrP
    Member

    Thanks – was viewing on the iPad…will log onto the big pooter!

    DrP

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    I have that book, and keep meaning to do it being ads I live about 1/2 mile off the middle of the route. Can’t say I ever thought it’d be easy having ridden most of it at one point or another, but a glorious ride in this weather (apart from the nettles, horseflies, wasps etc). Got me thinking again now, going to dig the book out πŸ˜€

    The SDW is the real sting in the tail.. at least on the Mendips once you’re up, you’re up. Mainly.

    thinking about a mental two day attempt…..!

    That would indeed class as certifiable. I’ll hand up a bottle or two if you ever go for it.

    flanagaj
    Member

    Were you bivvying or camping in a tent? How did you carry all your gear, find water etc?

    I was camping. The tent and inflatable roll matt on the bars

    Sleeping bag / next days cycling clothes and evening clothes in seatpack.

    Tools etc in the frame bag and I had a Topeak feed bag on the top by the stem.

    Plus I used a Vaude 25 + 5 backpack which contained camelbak / toiletries and jetboil.

    Sourcing water was not too tricky as I did go close enough to civilization so that I could take a short detour if I wanted water or something to eat.

    I did not want to wild camp and located a couple of sites along the route.

    One near devizes called ‘Seven Acres’ and one on the South Downs Way in Washington.

    Both of them were great and meant a shower could be had at the end of a days riding

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    *likes*

    Premier Icon senor j
    Subscriber

    quality adventure. πŸ™‚
    did the saddle bag not chafe? 😯

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    epic!
    what seatpost & undertube bag are those?

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Member

    Brilliant!!!!

    scandalous
    Member

    nice set up.

    what frame bag is that btw?

    Dibbs
    Member

    That book was first published quite a while ago (mid nineties), and planned on bikes with little or no suspension, canti brakes and probably 21 or 24 speed transmission. I know because I used to help Tim (the author) with some of his route planning.
    If you think it’s hard now imagine what it must have been like back then, alternatively it could be that modern mountain bikers are wimps πŸ™‚

    flanagaj
    Member

    The rear bag is an Alpkit 13 litre dry bag and the holster was one that I knocked up myself. Same with the front bar roll bag.

    Got the inspiration for doing so off the BikePacking web site.

    The rear pack does touch the bag of the legs lightly when peddling, but it is hardly noticeable and did not chafe.

    The bag under the top tube is a Deuter frame bag and fits just nicely on the Zesty.

    flanagaj
    Member

    If you think it’s hard now imagine what it must have been like back then, alternatively it could be that modern mountain bikers are wimps

    You might be correct, but then again didn’t the original author do it over 6/7 days not 4 and didn’t carry their own camping gear ? πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon brassneck
    Subscriber

    You might be correct, but then again didn’t the original author do it over 6/7 days not 4 and didn’t carry their own camping gear ?

    Correct, pubs as overnight stops were definitely highlighted, no bad thing that though – a credit card bike pack might make the 2-3 dayer doable for mortals. I do like the fully self sufficient approach though, even more impressed with that pack, it’s neat as.

    flanagaj
    Member

    I think to really appreciate the route, the self sufficient route is the way to go. Having breakfast on the top of the South Downs.

    Porridge, proper Lavazza coffee. Amazed how quickly the JetBoil boils the water!

    Premier Icon singletrackmind
    Subscriber

    I would pay to do this semi- supported .
    Start area with overnight kit transported 80 miles to overnight rest stop . Food stop at 30 and 60 miles for water /cake refuel.
    Then next day overnight kit taken the next 80 miles for another stop , with 2 food stops en route.
    All kit taken to End of route for last day, with another 2 food stops.
    No need to carry tent / sleeping bag , No need to carry 3kilos of food and water . Able to pack 3 changes of clothes and full wet kit plus off the bike clothes too.

    Be great , long days out if your not so fast , or 7hrs if your quick, its dry and there is tailwind.

    All you have to do is get to the overnight stop , erect tentage and cook a dried pasta based meal. Superb.

    Big respect to Flanagaj . way beyond what alot of people could do . Its the rise and fall of elevation thats the killer i guess

    flanagaj
    Member

    I would pay to do this semi- supported

    You could be onto something there πŸ’‘

    Its the rise and fall of elevation thats the killer i guess

    The South Downs Way was where this really did hurt.

    The whole route was like that. You would take a turn and think ‘a nice respite’ only for the GPS to beep and make you aware you were off route and the correct route was up the climb.

    DrP
    Member

    I would pay to do this semi- supported .

    Rob – I’ll charge you Β£6000 to ride along side you and be your mule…. πŸ˜‰

    DrP

    allthepies
    Member

    I’ll do it for free beer πŸ˜‰

    flanagaj
    Member

    I’ll do it for free beer

    Now I would find it very amusing if someone takes you up on that offer, especially, if said free beer is given during the ride

    DrP
    Member

    πŸ™‚

    Flanagaj – I can’t see how to DL a .gpx file from viewranger.
    I’ve signed up and everything…

    If you have it, or even the track of the route, could you email it to me? Email in profile, many thanks

    DrP

    Premier Icon Straightliner
    Subscriber

    Singletrackmind – If you are doing it over three days, I’d suggest trying to do more than 80/90 miles on the first two days to make the final day on the SDW a bit shorter. The cumulative efforts combined with the larger hills at that end mean you’ll be glad of a ‘shorter’ day.

    Flanagaj – I certainly had a few issues with the GPX trace when I rode some of it, some of the bridleways just seemed to be missing or next to a perfectly good alternative path or road. One that still haunts me is trying to find my way across a fully grown cornfield just outside Fyfield near Pewsey. I spent ages looking for a viable route through or across.

    As for the original guide being based on old style MTBs, I opted for the sensible option of a fully rigid singlespeed 29er which compromised the flats, made the ups tough and the downs sometimes a little jarring. The only thing I might change in future is the use of a 1×9/1×10 set up πŸ™‚

    m1kea
    Member

    Good effort sir.

    I never have and never will bike camp so props for doing that all self supported.

    Like STM I do like the idea of a semi supported ride over 3ish days.

    flanagaj
    Member

    Flanagaj – I certainly had a few issues with the GPX trace when I rode some of it, some of the bridleways just seemed to be missing or next to a perfectly good alternative path or road. One that still haunts me is trying to find my way across a fully grown cornfield just outside Fyfield near Pewsey. I spent ages looking for a viable route through or across.

    Agreed. I am going to correct a couple of parts of the route, but apart from a couple I found the route ok. It did help having my phone to hand with ViewRanger and full OS Explorer map coverage just to check things. The navigation was done with route on Garmin Edge 305, but I did have to consult phone when way forward looked a bit iffy

    DrP – Will get route corrections done and then either email or put route onto Garmin Connect web site for download

    DrP
    Member

    ^^
    Much appreciated πŸ™‚

    DrP

    Pawsy_Bear
    Member

    +1 for a GPX file or link to one please

    thanks

    flanagaj
    Member

    Here you go fellas. Tweaked it a little to take in the slight changes I had to make. I would have uploaded the route from the Garmin, but I had sections where I was riding around for a short while looking for the trail. This link has corrected the original errors in the route.

    Go and enjoy, and make sure you report back!

    Wessex Way Cycle route GPX file

    DrP
    Member

    Brill, cheers for that!
    Now to plan my life around it!

    DrP

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 50 total)

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