For whatever reason, this was my first proper South Downs way ride, Id been out on a loop from Brighton before, but never started in Winchester with the aim to ride east to west along the famous route.
We jumped on the train from Bournemouth after work, heading for Winchester. After an excited discussion about how brilliant trains are, including the exclamation that we were both going to take the train to work everyday, a voice over the tannoy announced that our train would terminate in Southampton.. meaning we would have to ride to Winchester. We were out of light, low on time and now looking at the prospect of riding busy roads in the dark before even starting the route.
It turned out to be alright, good cycle lanes most of the way, and some bridleways.
We pedalled into the night, in the aim to tick off a few miles to make the next days ride a little more manageable, barn owls swooped, dogs barked, stinging nettles stung and tarps were erected, badly.
The morning revealed a beautiful bluebell wood, we made coffee, toasted Bens birthday and rode on.
The adjective that comes to mind when describing the South Downs way is… swoopy.. the climbs are long, regular and mostly rideable, the downs are also long, fast, and just. swoopy.. maybe the word came to mind after a recent brutal Dartmoor trip with Brother Cycles, which could not be any less… swoopy. More on that trip to come.. it was a killer!