- South Downs Way conditions
A little advanced notice, but how are the conditions on the SDW at the moment? It looks chilly and dry for the last few days and for the next few days, but I’m reading this from a computer screen in Edinburgh.
Aiming to ride it East to West (allowing for the wind) on Tue or Wed next week. Conditions likely to be dry enough?Posted 5 years ago
You doing the whole hog??
The thing is, on a nice dry day you can sail along.
But…. At the moment it’s ‘dry’ but a bit claggy on some parts (was up on the Sussex stretch last night).
Blasting out 20miles in a bit of mud is fine, but mile after muddy mile for 100 of them can be abit ‘much’.
I was on the Winchester section a few weeks back, and TBH if it was like it was then, when i did my SDW, I’d have packed it in and been in a massive grump! (however, it was lovely when I did it!)
DrPPosted 5 years ago
Brighton to Eastbourne shouldn’t be too bad, generally the eastern end is better in rubbish conditions. I ride on the downs every day to work around Brighton and in comparison to the rest of the winter it’s actually pretty good at the moment. I might even go a longer way home tonight and even get out for a bit over the weekend if it stays this dry.Posted 5 years agobartimaeusMember
On Sunday the section around Graffham Down and Cocking was wet with some huge pudddles (as in 20m)… and they have partially resurfaced the track down to the A286 at Manorfarm Down and it is closed with a diversion through a field. OK downhill – but a struggle uphill!Posted 5 years agojhuwjonesMember
I rode the Wiggle route around Amberley on Monday and again this morning and the difference was huge.
On Monday it was very muddy and hard work. I had to walk one field and even then my bike doubled in weight. This morning I rode that same field and the mud on the SDW had almost dried up. I was amazed by the difference in 48 hours.
There will be some mud and puddles at the bottom of hills but I think a fair amount of it will be rideable as long as there is no more rain.
RegardsPosted 5 years ago
Wow, lots of replies – thanks folks.
Sounds do-able if the current weather holds until early next week when I am hoping to ride. I had always intended to ride West to East, but I’m now intending to get a 6am train (well two really) from Winchester to Eastbourne, and finish in the holiday house we are staying in at Winchester.
The South Downs trains website doesn’t seem to suggest any issues with hopping on the relevant trains with a bike. Can anyone confirm if that is possible at 6.15am on a weekday (without a booking for me or the bike?)Posted 5 years agosingletrackmindMember
@Kimbers PM me if you like. I am local ish and might be around whe you get a ‘pass’. Cant do Sunday though as doing the family thing. Supposed to be car shopping as well , but can work around that.
Next week is half term so train will be alot less busy , although a 0800 start in Eastbourne isnt the best really, unless your actually Josh Ibbet ( sub 8hr )Posted 5 years ago
I think east to west is better if you can get a day when the prevailing winds are not prevailing. And just now they are not. Starting at Eastbourne means you haven’t got 3 nasty climbs in the last 15 miles. My impression of riding from around Southease to Winchester was that the climbs are longer heading east but not as steep which suited me just fine.Posted 5 years ago
as noted above, bikes on peak time trains out of Brighton are a no-no.
Maybe get a train the night before and stay in Eastbourne overnight? I realise you won’t have anything bar your riding kit with you but you could take a pair of trainers and post them to yourself 😉
You could get an earlier start and make the most of the daylight if you stayed in Eastbourne too.Posted 5 years agodantsw13Member
Take your bike – if they kick you off at Brighton, head up to Stanmer park for a blast, then climb up to the SDW and complete from there. If you can get into Eastbourne before Rush Hr, you will miss the local rush hr traffic. Earlier its all busy heading to London, not out. Back carriage is normally quietest too.Posted 5 years agoPacemanSubscriber
Does anyone have any ideas for rides in the Brighton area?-staying quite close to town but don’t know this part of the downs very well.
Check out these guys… http://brightonmtb.org/
They’re a really friendly bunch and super-knowledgeable on the best local trails.
If you just want to explore the the Downs are good for getting some miles in with great views, but if you want more technical singletrack head for Stanmer Park Woods, Steyning Woods, or Whiteways.
Singletrack also have some recommended routes:-Posted 5 years ago
Thanks for all the follow up responses. Will call the train company to see if it is do-able.
I’m planning East to West based on the wind forecast (as also suggested above). 5.20am train from Winchester gets me to Eastbourne after 8am. That fits within the rules for going in and out of Clapham Junction, but I wasn’t aware of the Brighton restrictions. Ugh!
With the clocks changing this weekend, I’m hoping that I’ll have just about enough daylight. If I can start in Eastbourne at 8.30am, that would give me 11 hours until sunset, and hopefully I could just then use a light for the last section if I’m taking longer.
Now if only I can get these darned trains to work out. Otherwise I’ll be in serious brownie point debt to my pregnant wife if I ask her for a lift from Winchester to Eastbourne at 6am!Posted 5 years agoClongMember
Conditions around Winchester last night were fine, couple of places were very bad where horse’s have been through. As others have said, exposed sections will be dry, wooded sections not so although its improved alot in the last week. The lower areas will be wet i imagine, there was still some snow patches around Harting down last Wednesday, but thats probably gone now.
The rain fall and subsequent run off has cut new channels in some trials, which has exposed lots of lovely new flint, which is cutting up my tyres a treat.Posted 5 years agotallieSubscriber
Your best bet may be to get the last train to Eastbourne which gets you to the start of the SDW for 0230-0300 IIRC. We did this for logistical reasons and apart from riding into the teeth of a howling Westerly gale it wasn’t too bad…obviously the first couple of hours are night riding and you have to carry lights but it ensures you finish in daylight and has minimal impact on the rest of the family.
You’ll need to ensure your nav is good though – a gps or gps enabled smartphone with a gpx of the route is a useful nav aid.
The sections of the SDW I rode yesterday were fine – QECP had some puddles and claggy sections lower down but was fine higher up.Posted 5 years agoabattySubscriber
I preferred going east-west on the South Downs Maxx (albeit it is only Eastbourne to QECP, but at night) than west-east on the BHF SDW Randonnee because I got the tougher climbs over with earlier on my lumbering 140mm Stumpy full-suss. You should have a tail-ish wind to your advantage, but it’ll still be pretty brutal at this time of year – rather you than me!Posted 5 years agoKojaklollipopMember
Just done a couple of hours around the Friston area and back along the SDW, the chalky bits are all broken up and claggy now – Windover Hill, we had a bit of a frost yesterday that’s made it a mess, couple of days ago it was solid, so my bike and myself ended up covered in wet chalk that then turned solid and stopped my mechs working, wind seems to be changing from a north to an east wind so it should be behind you but it’s still bitter. So, warm clothes and a brush to unclog the bike at the water stops.Posted 5 years ago
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