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South Downs Way or Thames path ??

lastylasty Posts: 218
edited March 2010 in Routes
Got a few days holiday to take before the end of March so was thinking about escaping the frozen north and heading to the tropical south ......

Really like the idea of the SDW but being mostly chalk the word is it`ll be slippery as hell that early in the year ....

An alternative would be the Thames path but i HATE roadwork ....

Any advice much appreciated .....


  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    how long are you planning on taking? the s.d.w. is a great challenge done as a single dayer or multiple. It can get very slippery when wet though- I have a buckled front wheel somewhere to testify to it. if you're doing the whole thing I think you'd enjoy it more waiting for summer for the trails to dry out- it's gorgeous then! I can't comment on the Thames path, but if you're not set on long distance work but do fancy something down south, why not hit some of the north or south downs day rides?
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • lastylasty Posts: 218
    Cheers for the reply - was planning on taking a few days staying in pubs and `exploring`...
    I`m stuck with the end of March as i need to use the hols before April or lose `em . I usually take myself off and do some long distance hiking / backpacking this time of year but fancied a change ... Dont mind struggling a bit but wet chalk just aint fun - headbutted terra firma more that once racing (motorcycles) but it takes longer to heal these days ...

    open to suggestions - i really fancy a few days `dahn sarff`- all downhill and as off road as poss ... am i asking too much ?? :lol:
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    In which case you might prefer the north downs trials, its a lot more interesting and the ground dries out fairly quickly. there are plenty of travel lodges in the area also..

    e.g. leatherhead.., dorking..

    for me the SDW is a challenge, but not that enjoyable this time of year.
  • The Ridgeway? Kennett and Avon Canal?
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    In that case, try the North Downs. You've got plenty of places to stay, you could head into Guildford or London too in the evenings if you fancy, and stacks of good riding to be had. You could see if you could link up with the rides from Nirvana Bikes in Westcott. They're out pretty regularly, although I haven't done one myself- I stick with my home club, which is Redhill CC.
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • JamesBrckmnJamesBrckmn Posts: 1,360
    Try the Surrey Hills, a range off hills (Pitch, Holmbury and leith hill- in ascending order of size) with great purpose built trails on all of them, and there's a youth hostel on holmbury hill, as it will take more than one day to do them all. ... index.aspx
  • nickfrognickfrog Posts: 610
    The South Downs way is not THAT chalky/slippery. I live on it and ride twice a week all year round. It's been really good over the past 2 weeks already. Remember that the SDW is always quite "high" and the water drains away. There are the odd chalky short downhills like Cissbury ring, but even that is quite good fun with decent tyres.
    End of March will be absolutely fine. There is always an alternative grassy or rocky path anyway.
  • SplottboySplottboy Posts: 3,695
    Try the Keenet/Avon canal trip, Hungerford to Bath/Bristol.
    2 days, and book a B/B half way.
    Nice and quiet, some roads etc.
  • lastylasty Posts: 218
    Thanks for the replies and possible options -gonna look into `em all and if the SDW is rideable i`ll probably give it a shot - probably 3 or 4 days and maybe a night or two in the youth hostle .......
    Hmmmm lots to ponder - thanks again .
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Anybody know any good B&Bs or hotels on the kennet route?

    Going from Reading to Bristol so looking at stops in Devizes and Bath. I am sure I could find somewhere easily but obviously need to find somewhere the bikes will be safe.
  • SplottboySplottboy Posts: 3,695
    I stopped in a place about halfway, in a b and b, right on the canal.
    You can probably Google something. There was a nice country pub for food about 15 mins walk along the canal, in total darkness, by myself...
    Ok, it was a fast walk, jog, running...looking over my shoulder every 30 seconds.

    The last few minutes of "Don't look now" kept filling my head!

    ( Watch out for farmers cutting hedges, thorns etc.)
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