Enjoying the summer and the South Down’s National park

Average speed and a blurred bit of chalky trail is my usual view of the South Downs. The view gets somewhat better when I repeat Chris’s mantra: look further ahead, look further ahead…. This is how to corner faster. Look ahead. At speed you tend to hit what you are looking. Try it next time that you are speeding through singletrack. I bet that you hit that try because you where looking at it. You should be looking several turns ahead to go quick and safely.

Old tank just off the South Downs Way
Old tank just off the South Downs Way

Back to my rides, since I have got my Dual sunglasses for reading the view of my average speed is now crystal clear. I do the same on the road. I have a speed that I expect to ride at off road and on road and if the average is below that I can almost get into a panic. Punctures play havoc with the group as I need to catch up to the average.

Despite, re setting the Garmin to show average again, on Sunday, we agreed a truce and rode for the pleasure of riding, and the view. And what a day for it! We stopped to chat with other riders. Stopped again for my puncture. Did a little off-piste to say hello to some campers and all in all had a fun ride. The route was very old school (for me) and local and exactly the sort of ride that I first started doing nearly 30 years ago. I got so into my memories that we finished with the Wiston Bostal climb, to me, still one of the prettiest that I have ridden anywhere.

And you know what. It was free. Can you believe it in this overcrowded isle of ours that

Freewheeling through the fields
Freewheeling through the fields

such beauty and tranquillity (we do set off early) isn’t chargeable? People pay big lumps of cash for worse, usually after hours of travelling. It was not without reason that this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty became South Downs national park.


Here’s the ride. At the time of writing the Strava site was down.  The Greyfriar’s downhill is in my opinion the best round here as it is fast and constantly changing (not for novices). It is even more challenging in the wet and to be recommended just as long as our four hoofed friends haven’t destroyed the bottom bit. The rewarding climb out afterwards is over 100m vertical and in the lowest gear most of the way (don’t do this if you have a heart condition). Alternatively you can follow the farm track into the edge of Storrington to join up with the off-road Chantry lane climb to the Dutch barn on the South Downs Way.

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