Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
  • South Downs Way in winter
  • mjsmke
    Full Member

    Any parts of the south downs way worth riding over winter? I’ll have some time off over Christmas. Looking at photos some parts like gravel so assuming it doesn’t get too muddy?

    Happy to do bits of road to link up the better parts. Or just ride one way the the same way bac.

    winston
    Free Member

    Hmmm

    I commute 2 or 3 times a week over parts of the SDW (mainly between Alfriston and Southease)

    Mud is rarely a problem, green chalk is.

    Green chalk is where the white chalky path gets soaked in water day in and day out until it gets a green algae type sheen on it. It is then completely unrideable, like ice.

    If you ride the SDW a lot you get to know where these sections are and ride round them or get off and walk. If you don’t you WILL fall off.

    The SDW is definitely a lot more fun in the summer

    convert
    Full Member

    It’s also mildly amusing on a proper cold spell when the moisture in he chalk freezes, expands and comes up as nodules – like a Belgium pave section only instead of cobbles its blocks of ice.

    But sludgy mud is also an issue in other sections.

    cyclistm
    Full Member

    Theres plenty of riding around and off the south downs in the winter.

    The way itself is really quite nice in places and on the right day I reckon the whole route would be a blast in winter. But the right days are few and far between, I guess after a reasonably warmish dry patch would be best.

    mrmoofo
    Full Member

    TBH – the high bits are chalk/ green chalk … the low bits are well walked muddy troughs. I would have thought there are more enjoyable places to try and bag over Christmas. Green chalk causes impressive damage – I know …

    richardthird
    Full Member

    Exposed bits dry nicely in the wind. The steep green chalk needs to be avoided as has been mentioned!

    malgrey
    Free Member

    This might give you an idea of the western half. Pretty much as described above:

    https://www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk/bikepacking-the-south-downs-way

    Enjoyed it though!

    garage-dweller
    Full Member

    The green chalk is already making an appearance – saw plenty while out with my son on Monday but it’s not yet reached the super treacherous stage. It cannot be far off by now in some places.

    I’ve never really found the eastern end to be not rideable (Winchester to a bit East of Chichester) but you have to be prepared to tolerate some stick and slide! Honestly if it wasn’t my local riding I’d not make a special trip to experience the green chalk of certain but not imminent death!

    When it gets really bad I head for the sandier stuff north of Petersfield.

    Poopscoop
    Full Member


    @malgrey

    Free Member
    This might give you an idea of the western half. Pretty much as described above:

    https://www.wildernessisastateofmind.co.uk/bikepacking-the-south-downs-way

    Enjoyed it though!

    Enjoyed reading that, thanks for sharing.

    Was that last December? It’s almost tempting*…

    *Nah, sod that, not this time of year but more power to you for doing it, great stuff!👍

    mccraque
    Full Member

    West to east is generally better due to the wind. Can be a right slog into the wind. Last winter I wheel spun on a flat section due to a headwind!

    Green chalk has been mentioned. It’s claimed me once this autumn. It’s like an ice rink if you hit it!

    I’m still up there about 3x per week around the Brighton area though. Holding up ok at the moment. Only takes a day or so of no rain amd a bit of wind and the surface is firm again.

    garage-dweller
    Full Member

    @malgrey – that looks like a nice little adventure 🙂

    muggomagic
    Full Member

    I rode from just West of QECP to Steyning along the SDW on Monday and overall it was really good. IME the ridgeway generally holds up pretty well through winter, it’s usually the lower sections or where there is a lot of farm traffic where it can get bad.
    There was green chalk in places but so long as you aren’t making any sudden changes in direction or tense up and start braking hard then it’s generally ok. Then I was on 2.5 3C tyres front and rear so that definitely helps.

    singletrackmind
    Full Member

    Green death chalk. Near Blackcap i managed to pirorette a complete 360′ whilst try to ride up a gentle rise. Might be ok after a dry spell , but the whole 100 in winter would be proper tough

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