Thanks for the tip @Alex_B and good to hear from you! I am looking forward to finally getting that one done : )
Having followed for some time, some lovely inspiration just dropped through my letterbox just in time for some autumnal “walking with bikes”. Thanks Max!
Is the Hot Chilee off-road London -> Brighton the best route? Anyone have any experience of it? Planning on doing it next Friday
That looks like the Downs Link with a bit added from SW London to get you to Guildford, right? I've done that a few times - it's pretty flat and straight (and drama free, though there's a potential hike-a-bike short section somewhere south of Horsham IIRC) and you'll end up in Shoreham-by-Sea. The extra distance to Brighton runs through the port and along the seafront.
By the sounds of it, I've done it on two different rides.
The first bit out to Guildford is decent, but spends a bit much time on tow paths for me.
The Downs Link is great, but fairly one dimensional - pan flat and on an old railway almost all the way. It's good fun if you want to just smash out 40 miles of actual gravel and rack up some miles.
Can't speak for the bit along the coast to Brighton, but I'm sure someone else can comment on that.
I did the Stayer route earlier in the summer and it was very overgrown with nettles in places. Challenging but fun with a good mix of surface types. Haven't tried the chili one yet.
Ah great cheers folks, maybe I’ll take a look at the Stayer one. The 40 miles of railway path could be fun to bash out but yeah, maybe not the most exciting. Maybe mud will have replaced the nettles by now. I’ll let ya know what state whatever route I decide on is like at the mo
I'd be tempted to follow a route down to Shoreham, but the join the SDW to climb Ditchling Beacon. There's an off road descent into Brighton as well. I'll see if I can mock up the route. The Stayer routes miss some lovely off road connecting routes.
Ah that sounds really interesting, where would you divert off to make the climb to Ditchling Beacon? Would be a good way to end an otherwise pretty flat route. Would love to see the rough mock up
Have been combing through LND>BTN gravel routes to try and do the same thing, was planning on riding whatever emerges as the most interesting route on the 24th, would love to know which you end up doing (and if you fancy a repeat ride on the 24th come join!)
At the bridge over the river you'll see the option to join the South Downs Way heading east. Follow that and it leads to Ditchling Beacon. It's basically on your left if you're following the Downs link trail.
I did the Hot Chillee downs link one with a minor diversion around Henfield to go up Devil’s Dyke.
The downs link old railway path was super fun and fast, smoothish old tarmac to start but goes to crushed gravel and some mud in not too much time. We figured kinda last minute that it would be fun to end with a climb rather than continue the easy fast pace down to Shoreham and across the seafront. But some of the paths Komoot took us on to get us from Henfield to the Dyke were not exactly dreamy.
Before you reach the downs link it’s mostly just canal side riding but is pretty fun still. Not tarmac tow paths but worn in dirt and stone kinda thing. Definitely would recommend if you’re not looking to have a hard, testing ride, but for fun it’s great
The Downs Link is a good route for a social ride. You can cover a lot of ground quickly, but it is kind of boring. What astonished me is that no cafes have sprung up to serve all those cyclists passing by.
If you take the equivalent kind of route in France, there's a cafe with toilets every mile or two.
Even the South Downs has cafes on the route.
Yeah man it does go on, glad we ditched early.
We were actually flagged down in a lane shortly after we ditched the trail (I’ll have to check with who I was riding with) by a kinda frantic lady trying to tell us about a cafe (hers or someone she knows) that’s trying to cater for cyclists around there. Can’t remember the name. Probably around Henfield though I think
Thanks! Good to know, in the end we did London to Portsmouth (GPX here if anyone fancies it, the second half is the Shipwrights Way which is super nice although unequally untechnical) but will try it in a few weeks
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