South Downs Way – how flinty / hilly?
Tyres seem fine but then I stick some tires on my bike and change them when they wear out. I’ve done the SDW on small blocks in the snow, rubber queens in the wet and rocket rons in the dry haven’t really ever noticed the difference or cared. It’s double track or Tarmac or mud or chalk.
Yes it’s hilly and it’s relentless, growing up in the dales I didn’t think they did hills down sarth but 1st time I did it I realised how wrong I was. It’s just up and down with very little flat.
It’s s great route, it’s not technical although some of the down hills are very quick but it’s pretty physically demanding.Posted 6 years agoedoverheelsMember
I live locally and have done SDW quite a few times over the years. Punctures not a problem, most of it is broad motorway but last time I did it we had four punctures between the two of us in the first two hours and so you can never tell. Most climbs are long tedious slogs with the odd sharp bit thrown in to dampen your spirits still furtherPosted 6 years ago
Thinking of doing the South Downs Way (possibly double) in the summer, just wondering whether Racing Ralphs would be any good, or would they get cut to ribbons? Also, there’s about 4000m of climbing, but are these short sharp hills or long flowing hills? Just want to get some idea of what I might (or might not) be letting myself in for.
Thanks allPosted 6 years agospacemonkeyMember
Very few people even contemplate doing the double, even the seriously fit. Getting the miles in isn’t the problem – it’s the hills. As others have said, they’re a mix – and they can easily catch you out.
An army mate attempted the double about 6-7 years, but gave up about 3-4 hours into the return leg. It ain’t easy.
Check out this.Posted 6 years ago
Depends on the weather, if it’s been lashing down then the chalky mud can be like riding through sloppy pizza dough with sharp rocks in it, I ride it with tubeless Mud x’s in the winter months and mountain king front and race king rear in the dry months. The hills are pretty constant, some long climbs Eastbourne end. Pretty hilly, chalky and flinty from Alfriston > Wilmington > Jevington > Eastbourne. It’s fun not tech hard though. It’s also well worth dropping into Friston Forest too.Posted 6 years agowwaswasSubscriber
It’s also well worth dropping into Friston Forest too.
now as a part of a double attempt that would make you hard as nails.
Have a look at the Intense System 1 or 2 – they have tough cases but are fairly light and great on the SDW in the summer.
Given the condition of the ground at the moment I think now is a great time to do the SDW – it’s ridign really well.Posted 6 years ago
Was out yesterday on the SDW, Eastbourne end, and Friston Forest, conditions at the moment are superb, dry and fast, if you get rain it will be sloppy in low lying areas and the chalk will be slippery, but it tends to dry up quick on the top of the downs, I’ve yet to shred tyres up on flints in 20 odd years or riding here, most of the flinty chalk tracks are smooth with large bits of worn flint – they hurt if you slip and land on them, I get more problems on the tracks going off the downs where the farmers cut the hedges. Did the BHF Randonee thing last year on Michelin XC Dry’s with one puncture from a large bent rusty nail.
Did a test video in the forest yesterday with my cam on the seatpost (better half following me and first time she’s been on the bike since last summer), it’s long and not ‘sick to the power of rad’ but you’ll get an idea of what it’s like at the mo …
[video]http://vimeo.com/22101513[/video]Posted 6 years agonukeSubscriber
Hats off if you do the double
@large418 – Have you completed the SDW one way in a day?
Was out yesterday on the SDW, Eastbourne end, and Friston Forest,
I was out that way yesterday…Dorking to Eastbourne offroad.
Very hot day and the one thing I regretted was leaving the suntan lotion at home. Very dry and fast though…lovely day.
With regard tyres, I ran a Mud-X on the front and a faster rolling tyre on the back…Kenda Karma. Ran with tubes…no punctures.Posted 6 years ago
I regretted was leaving the suntan lotion at home
Yeah, I’ve even got tan lines on my arms!
This is Windover Hill, exposed chalk and flint all the way from the top of the SDW down to the gate, or from the bottom to the top if your climbing up it ….
[video]http://vimeo.com/22116485[/video]Posted 6 years ago
I always try to work my routes out so I go down Windover Hill, and if you do the SDW Winchester to Eastbourne you’ll go up it right near the end, and just after this there’s another one to go up, Bourne Hill, just after you go all the way back down again to Jevington. That’s the thing with the downs, you spend 20 mins climbing, 5 mins descending, then 20 mins climbing, 5 mins descending, and repeat … it’s all up and down.Posted 6 years agooldgitMember
I did it from the Winchester end.It caught me out, the hills were relemtless ups and downs with little rest inbeteeen.Posted 6 years ago
And though its a bit of a highway you can and we did go off course a few times.
That was ten years ago though and I’d only had my bike a month.
Tioga XC’s BTW.nukeSubscriber
Cheers. Left at 8:30, finished at 17:00 so 8 and half hours including stops which I was happy with as it came in at about 85 miles. The 25 miles of the Downs Link that’s disused railway is useful for getting the average speed up but good to keep some back for the big hills on the SDW. 6275ft of ascent which is a good amount imo but still only about half that of the full SDWPosted 6 years ago
@large418 – Have you completed the SDW one way in a day?
No, never ridden any of it, just doing the thinking bit at the moment. Did the TransCambrian Way in a day last year in about 13 hours, carrying full overnight kit (and rode back the next day). That was hard but not impossible.
If I did go for a double attempt, it wouldn’t be with a time limit, just non stop (I am not under any delusion that I could do it in 18 hours! Probably more than 24 hours).
Everyone should have a goal – just considering mine for this year…..Posted 6 years agosimons_nicolai-ukMember
First time I did it (years ago) one of us wrote off a brand new Bonty tyre with a 4 inch sidewall rip in the first few hundred metres of the SDW after leaving the road in Winchester.
Flint CAN be super sharp but I reckon it’s down to luck. I always carry a few toothpaste tube tyre boots.Posted 6 years agoAnna BMember
Everyone should have a goal
Too right! One of mine this year is to do the SDW again (1st time last year) a bit quicker and without getting lost.
As for hilly – very, as above. Flinty – didn’t even have one puncture, was using Kenda Nevegals. I took as much as I could to fix mechanicals, inc good old tooth paste tube. Didn’t need any of it, but will take the same again this year, but not Nevegals cos they’ve worn out.Posted 6 years agotomasoSubscriberwrote:
The hills are pretty constant, some long climbs Eastbourne end. Pretty hilly, chalky and flinty from Alfriston > Wilmington > Jevington > Eastbourne. It’s fun not tech hard though. It’s also well worth dropping into Friston Forest too.
Thats the bit at the end of my parents back garden and although I have the regular pleasure of riding in the Lakes now I do still miss the South Downs. One thing to bear in mind, although the trails aren’t too technical and some are essentially chalk double tracks the speed you can achieve on them is serious and up to 40mph is possible (although chainrings are smaller these days!)and if you do hit a square edge it is easy to pinch flats.
On the drop down to Jevington from the trig point above Eastbourne there is a patch where the farmer has chucked a load of bricks down that used to cause some upset back in the fully rigid days.Posted 6 years agosuperfliMember
Double, christ I love my long endurance stuff, but doubling the SDW takes some beating. It is pretty relentless, constantly up and down, although after Old Winchester Hill (west end), it levels out.Posted 6 years ago
Every year I try to sort out a SDW in a day ride, but I’m always let down and I dont want to do it on my own 🙁 Maybe this year. Have ridden from Worthing back to Butser a number of times though.superfliMember
flebby, sorry I cant help you there.
large418Posted 6 years ago
Its the loneliness/not having someone to chat to that would do my head in! I know I’m fit enough to complete it and am well used to 100mile+ road rides, 60mile+ offroad. Yes it will be tough, but much much more fun with someone else! Unfortunately a lot of my mates have gone down the AM bike route, leaving me with only 2 people that could join me. Hopefully July time…
superfli, you must be able to spend a day on your own? For me, it is part of the enjoyment of biking, but maybe I am unique in that respect. You can always take an ipod, or talk to yourself – works for me (talking to myself also means I get to spend more time on my own!).
Just do it – you never know, you might enjoy it – certainly gives a lot of thinking time (or brain in neutral, just looking at nature, time).Posted 6 years agospacemonkeyMember
Yep, I find solo riding very therapeutic in a “just thinking stuff over” kind of way.
Have just spent the last 2 weekends along the SDW and reminded myself of how hot it gets when the sun’s in full effect. I remember spending loads of weekends down there in the 2003 heatwave. That was a bonkers year for riding. So for anyone thinking it’ll be a breeze on a hot day – think again. You’re in the open most of the time, and the reflecting of the sun/heat can really catch you out.Posted 6 years agop7richSubscriber
Here you go…
I’ve done Brighton-Eastbourne and loved it. Can’t say i never got off the bike though 😉Posted 6 years agoamt27Member
nice vids, brings back some memories of living in brighton and doing brighton to eastbourne and back many times,
attempted the whole sdw, but bailed out at brighton after 75 miles,
i used to get lots of impact puncture, hand one on windover hill, also damaged quite a few sidewalls, including one massive blow out coming down from chantonbury ring,
i’m deffo doing the sdw this year, probably the bhf event,Posted 6 years ago
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