Category: Off-roading

Epic Sunday ride

My mate J has recently bought a bike, along with a matching ladies version for his other half. They’ve done several flat rides, but not ridden on the Downs yet.
So J and I planned an introductory off-road ride, going from Shoreham to Devils Dyke and back.

The route was identical to my last ride.. up Mill Hill and then Truleigh Hill, and over to the Dyke. We had a short rest, and then came back, choosing to ride down to the Adur across the field and then down the singletrack, down to the Downs Link Trail.

From the Amsterdam / Red Lion, we parted company, J going home, and me still massively sitting on the fence as to where I’d go next.

I started riding east, towards Brighton, as I’d wanted to get to a Stamner for more Singletrack. I was on a bit of a tight schedule by this point, but decided to push on by road, which made it feasible time wise.. off road to the Beacon would definitely not have been doable.

Headed to Hove Park, then up Woodland Drive. Down past Withdean Stadium and along to Carden Avenue.

Up Carden to the top, and across a field, accessible from the roundabout, diagonally, on to the Beacon Road. It was further than I remembered to get to the entrance to the woods from this end, but to be fair, I’d never ridden from this end with the specific intention of riding Stamner.

Got to the entrance and had a stop for a Go Gel and to have a long swig from my Camelback.. I’d ridden 25 miles up to this point, and was concerned that slight fatigue would take the edge off of my reaction times, so didn’t want to distract myself with a camelback as I rode through the swoopy Singletrack.

Took pretty much the same route through as last week, not really having time to explore, but had great fun doing so, feeling just as exhilarated coming out the other side as last week. Rode down to the next section, where there was a notice indicating that there’d been a council-sanctioned bike event here earlier, and rode the rest of the Singletrack down to the Uni / Stamner Park fields.

From here it was an identical last leg to last week.. straight down Lewes Road to Brighton seafront, and back along to Shoreham, totalling 40.7 miles. 

It was great to note how much cleaner the bike was at the end of the ride.. it only took half an hour to get her spotless, a sure sign of the ground drying up.

I even had time to get her up in the stand and index the gears, as I’d been experiencing a frustrating amount of chain skipping throughout the latter part of the ride.

So, 55 miles in total this weekend, and 80 in total this week! 

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Downs followed by Stamner Singletrack

Booked a day’s holiday for today, so had planned to ride.

I wasn’t sure of the route right up to the last minute.. I’m not appreciating having to spend 1.5 hours washing the bike after each ride, hence having done a few road rides recently.. but I’m getting a bit bored of them.

I considered the Downs Link Trail as a compromise, but was pretty sure that would result in just as much washing of the bike as proper off roading.

So in for a penny, in for a pound – I decided on off-road. I rode up to Mill Hill, over to Devils Dyke, and followed the South Downs Way to Ditchling Beacon.

From there, I rode down the Beacon road, specifically looking for the entrance to the Stamner Woods, which the Trailforks app reliably informed me, was on this road.

It was my first venture on the Singletrack here, and I had an absolute hoot. It was pretty hairy going due to the mud, and I had a few near misses.. the day (and possibly my life, but at least my collarbone) was saved by my Rock Shox Reverb dropper post, which I purchased for my Kitsune as a Christmas pressie to myself last year. It’s just epic being able to get the saddle out of the way.. if you don’t have one, believe all of the ‘Top 10 ways to improve your riding’ posts / YouTube videos that are all over the web.

There were several points where I’ve regularly ridden past the Singletrack on the fire road, not even realising it was there.. needless to say, that won’t be happening again! Looking forward to taking some more-week days off in the Summer when it dries out, and discovering the rest of it!

After Stamner I rode down Lewes Road to the seafront and smashed it home from there.

Distance: 29.4m

Time: 3:03:00

Avg. Speed: 9.6mph

Strava Trophies: 28 including 7 PBs

Hit the Downs MTB

Another of the events I’m strongly considering this year (in addition to the SDW in a Day) – the ‘Hit the Downs MTB’ event, which is happening on the 7th May this year, and is organised by the Chestnut Tree House, a great cause to support. There is a choice of 20 and 40 mile routes (making it a great warm up for the SDW in a Day), although I haven’t been able to find the route map. Check it out: http://www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/events/hit-downs-mtb/

Shoreham to Amberley and back

Went out on the Kitsune on Saturday, originally planning to do a 40 miler. Ended up leaving later than planned, so went slightly shorter. Headed up the Downs Link Trail from Shoreham, turning left at the South Downs Way. Up past the pig farm to Chanctonbury Ring, and down to the A24. Back up the other side, and along to just before Amberley. Very slick conditions, quite sketchy in parts – the Rock Shox Reverb a godsend as always for getting the centre of gravity down on the hairy sections.

Total Distance: 31.9

Elevation Gain: 1,943ft

Time: 3:18:51

Average: 9.6

Max: 28.6

Strava Trophies: 20 (2 PBs)