Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • South Downs Way- which way?
  • stanley
    Full Member

    East to West or West to East?

    Also, does it really need to be done on a mtb.?
    Or would a touring bike be ok?

    Cheers

    thomthumb
    Free Member

    saw some people on touring bikes on saturday. they were making progress – just quite slowly. I wouldn’t fancy trying it in a day on a touring bike.

    either way there are pros and cons. wind is said to blow west more often than not. climbing is roughly equal although the steeper slopes do seem to be in the eastern end.

    29erKeith
    Free Member

    imo finish near home if possible, after a long day/2/3’s riding a long journey home’s not what you want.

    there will be a few bits on a touring bike which won’t be nice, all depends what sort of time your hoping to do it in really

    fourbanger
    Free Member

    Had a go on cyclocross bike, which isn’t that different to a touring bike. Not too bad.

    avdave2
    Full Member

    If you live close enough and can be flexible on timing I’d say east to west is better. You need to wait for a day when there isn’t a south westerly blowing, I ride on the Downs every day to get to work and it’s more common than you might imagine. The advantages as I see it are that the last 15 miles after Buster Hill are a lot easier than the last 15 after Southease. I did 80 miles of it recently from above Kingston to Winchester and it seemed to me that although I must have climbed more than I descended the climbs were longer but less steep heading west. It might just be my imagination but I kept riding down things thinking I’m glad I’m not riding up this whereas nothing I went up seemed too bad. Finally if you make it you’ll feel fantastic and do you want to take a picture of yourself at the end with a statue of Alfred the Great, King of the Anglo Saxons , defeater of the Vikings and burner of cakes or a wooden board. Tough choice eh.
    As for the bike I used to ride a 10 speed Coventry Eagle over the downs, doable, but it wasn’t exactly comfortable. I think a light as possible hardtail is the best option if your going to do it in a day.

    rewski
    Free Member

    Easy, go with the wind

    The wind was stopping me on the steep descents the other week, Devil’s Dyke to Eastbourne took me over five hours.

    Tiger6791
    Full Member

    Normally….

    Up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down, up then down.

    Touring bike should be fine if you go steady on the downs and pick the right lines

    rewski
    Free Member

    @ avdave2 – wow, nice commute.

    chiefgrooveguru
    Full Member

    Definitely don’t do it North to South. Or indeed South to North. Though it is quicker like that…

    m1kea
    Free Member

    My two attempts at the double started in Ebo as it was closer to home and I preferred to get the bulk of the worst climbs done earlier in the night whilst I was still fresh.

    I know a couple of folk who bike camped it over 3 days, taking all their kit plus having some grim weather on the last day.

    I’m doing it all again on Sat and we’ll be starting in Winch because of the (fingers crossed) prevailing wind.

    If you’re talking a laden 700c tourer there WILL be hills you won’t be able ride up and a couple that I’d not be too happy about riding down. If you’re happy to potentially push for a few miles then I can’t see why a tourer would be a prob.

    corroded
    Free Member

    Winch to Eastbourne is the most usual direction, largely due to the prevailing wind. Check the forecast! It makes a huge difference as you’re very exposed along the ridge. I think your biggest problem on a tourer will be if the chalk is damp and slippery in places. Apart from that, there’s nothing that would put me off, though riding over fist-sized flints for a few hours might tenderise certain parts.

    monksie
    Free Member

    I’ve done it twice. Both times Winchester to Eastbourne. It’s very cyclocross bikeable.

    stanley
    Full Member

    Hhmm, interesting.

    Maybe I do the “double” as it will make logistics easier.

    Drive/train to Winchester then:
    Day 1 ride to Eastbourne
    Day 2 recover for a day
    Day 3 ride back again.

    Could do it on the mtb with minimal back-pack then

    shedfull
    Free Member

    I’d go Winchester to Eastbourne. Winchester is well above sea level and the route is undulating – never flat at the top – and the scenery is poor compared to the Eastbourne end. When you get across the A3, the climbs and descents get bigger but in between there are long stretches of flat bits with stunning views. And the sight of the sea as you approach Eastbourne is the reward for all your hard work.

    I’ve done East to West and the ride starts brilliantly but the last 1/4 is then a slog with poor views, relentless up and down stuff through farmland, a scabby bit of track by the A31 and over the M3 then a miserable bit of housing before you get to Winchester High Street.

    Ian

    monksie
    Free Member

    It’s a nightmare to get to and from from Manchester. Horrible train journey to Winchester, excellent day to Eastbourne B&B and then ride and/or train(s) to Euston for the horrible train journey back.
    They don’t much like having bikes on trains down there.

    rewski
    Free Member

    Day 2 recover for a day

    Or explore the local singletrack at Friston Forest.

    avdave2
    Full Member

    And the sight of the sea as you approach Eastbourne is the reward for all your hard work

    The views are better at the Eastern end but as I’ve ridden that bit many times over the years I guess it’s not so important to me. The western end is not so nice to look at but when you get to the top of the last hill and see Winchester you won’t give a dam. Actually that view of Eastbourne features in Quadrophenia where it stands in for Brighton when all the mods first arrive.

    Taff
    Free Member

    Contemplating having a go at this before the winter is here but as I live near Queen Liz I’m thinkin about not going the rest of the way to Winchester due to logistics. Takes 2hours to train from Havant to Eastbourne and costs £15… also costs £15 to travel an hour from Winchester to Havant… Will feel a bit robbed at that so is leaving it at QE a bit gash? Potentially could get the mrs to pick me up if the needs arose but think that may be more hassle than the ride itself!

    thomthumb
    Free Member

    it’s worth finishing for the winchester kebab house under the station 🙂

    from qe to winch is the least interesting bit imo.

    S_J
    Free Member

    I’ve done it twice in a day both times west to east and I’d say the best descents are coming the other way, given that I’ve not actually done them this is based purely on perception from going up them! However, wind direction really needs to be the primary issue as a head wind for a 100 miles is no fun!

    Taff
    Free Member

    Is it all fully signposted. I have a SDW book from a colleague and it looks as though there are some random routes in some areas? I’ll be taking a map/book just in case but would like to know if I can just ride pretty much most of it without pulling the map out every 10mins

    dobo
    Free Member

    people will tell you its fully sign posted and easy to follow but if you are not familiar with the route its possible to take a wrong turn, follow a gps might be best if youve never been on it. slowing down to check your going the right way at every turn would be a real ball ache in its self let alone pulling a map out..
    imo its very cx able but there are bits that would be tricky on a cx, mtb for the comfort would be better imo.

    Taff
    Free Member

    I know what you mean. I will take a SDW booklet. Not got a gps. Will be doing it on the hardtail! Won’t be seeing me on a cx bike in this lifetime!

    avdave2
    Full Member

    Is it all fully signposted.

    Yes but pretty easy to miss some or them. I used the Harveys map and signposts and only went wrong at Buster Hill (east to west) where I stupidly headed for the highest point instead of veering left. Another bit where I’ve gone wrong is the drop into Jevington where you should arrive at the church and the Hungry Monk – home of of Banoffee Pie where it’s easy to end up to far north in Jevington (west to east)

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