Updated: May 22
Planning and preparation is key!
With that in mind we have prepared the following GUIDE and CHECKLIST to help you to prepare for your up-coming self-guided ride. The following is essential reading so please be sure to digest and familiarise yourself with the crucial information provided. Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or need any more information.
All rides are self-guided and although representatives from Wild Cycles may participate, all riders are responsible for their own safety and decision-making during the rides.
Know your capabilities and limits and adapt the routes to suit your ability and preferences.
An epic 4 day self-guided circular tour covering 220 miles around King Alfred The Great’s Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex. Starting and finishing in Winchester where the King is buried - this adventure is jam-packed with areas of outstanding natural beauty, spectacular vistas of the varied landscapes of Wiltshire, Wessex, Surrey and The South Downs. Travel along England’s oldest road - The Ridgeway.
Pass by countless historic sites including some of Europe’s oldest Neolithic Monuments: Stonehenge, Avebury Stones, Wayland’s Smithy, the prehistoric Uffington Horse and too many Iron Age Hill forts to mention.
King Alfred’s Way is a challenging 4 day self-guided tour requiring a good level of fitness and advanced riding skills. It’s your responsibility to ensure that you have the fitness, skill and capability to complete the daily distances and profiles. The route is based on Cycling UK’s route which is provided for guidance.
This challenging route has some very steep, technical climbs and descents, loose/slippery, uneven and rutted surfaces requiring a very good level of fitness and advanced riding skills. Featuring a mix of loose and hard surfaces, flint, roots and ruts - it includes gravel, woodland trails, sand, grassy bridleways, towpaths, public roads and lanes. It is therefore essential that you have experience of riding on public roads and off-road on varied terrain. The route uses and crosses public roads where extra care and vigilance is required.
Part of the route crosses Ministry of Defence land which is used as a live firing range. Pay attention to the signs and red flags and never stray off the routes.
Conditions, degree of difficulty and speed will be significantly impacted by weather conditions. Check the weather forecast beforehand.
For a detailed description of the route and features please see:
59 miles, 3,050 ft climbing, ~ 7 hrs riding
52 miles, 2,800 ft climbing, ~7 hrs riding
64 miles, 2,700 ft climbing, ~ 7-8 hrs riding
63 miles, 3,800 ft climbing, ~6-7 hrs riding
It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with the route distances, profiles and conditions and make yourself aware of the risks and hazards associated with undertaking your chosen activity.
Bike & equipment
It’s your responsibility to ensure that your bike and equipment is suited to the routes and conditions. Have your bike serviced beforehand and safety checked before the start. Ideally start with a new chain and tyres which are new or nearly new.
You must be capable of repairing punctures en-route and at least one member of your group should have a basic mechanical knowledge and capable of carrying out roadside repairs.
We'd recommend a gravel bike or mountain bike depending on your preference - with a minimum tyre width of 40mm and tread pattern suited to a wide variety of terrain. Tubeless tyres are recommended.
Nutrition and hydration
Please note distances and route profiles. A significant proportion of the route is in remote areas which is great and part of the magic of this exceptional tour. However in light of distances, terrain and conditions you must plan ahead. Ensure that you carry sufficient nutrition, sustenance (fuel!) and hydration with you and plan your refuelling stops accordingly.
You must carry sufficient nutrition, water/hydration with you which takes into account the sometimes infrequent opportunities to top up in remote areas.
Please see and consult the following usefilll resources/apps:
Luggage & transfers
Please pack your belongings to be transferred by Wild Cycles into one small-medium-sized bag. If you can strap your sleeping bag and pillow to your bag, making one bundle - that would be helpful and very much appreciated.
For parking options in Winchester please see:
You’ll be camping in official campsites along the route with toilets, washing facilities, hot water. There are showers at 2 of the 3 sites. Showers at campsite no. 1 were not yet connected when we visited in April. We do not have a definitive date for this however there is hot water in the basins for washing.
Catering at overnight stops
Ingredients, utensils, equipment and fuel for cooking evening meals and breakfast are provided by Wild Cycles.
You’ll be cooking/preparing your evening meals and breakfast using the equipment supplied. Evening meals are BBQ’s so you’ll need to be able to cook on the BBQ equipment provided! Please remember to wash up after meals.
Dinner after day 2 is at a local pub (included).
Essentials which you'll need to bring with you
Your bike! Ensure it's in perfect working order, safety-checked, serviced beforehand and is therefore safe and suitable to complete the full distance
Spare inner tubes and/or
Tubeless repair kit
Quick chain links
Spare brake pads
Water bottles/hydration pack (also see nutrition/hydration guidance above)
Min 1 x 1st aid kit per group. Recommend 1 person per group is 1st aid trained
Your own quality cycle helmet which conforms to the latest safety standards must be worn whilst riding
Suitable clothing + extra/spare sets of clothing
Warm clothing for evenings
Sleeping bag suitable for weather conditions (check the weather forecast and your sleeping bag’s temperature rating)
Ensure you have adequate insurance cover for your property and equipment including bicycles intended for your use as well as medical expenses.