Updated: May 15
It's going to be awesome!
An epic two-day bikepacking adventure along one of the UK's most spectacular and iconic off-road rides. Traversing the stunning South Downs National park from West to East - the route and scenery makes for a wild and unforgettable experience. We've teamed up with the lovely folk at Mason Cycles who will be hosting us at their bike barn for a midway (well 2/3rd's way) overnighter. We'll be kicking off the ride at the fabulous South Downs Social - Winchester's very own cool bike caff where you'll register and be able to enjoy the great coffee and eats at specially discounted prices. Refuel and re-caffeinate at one of a number of Cadence Clubhouses along the route - offering a delicious assortment of refreshments, meals and barista coffee - to keep you fully fuelled on your way - also at specially discounted prices.
Cadence is also kindly sponsoring a bunch of goodies and a selection of really cool prizes.
Here is all the info you’ll need to prepare and join in the fun:
Wild Mason South Downs Way is a non-competitive event. Rides are self-guided (routes provided) and although representatives from Wild Cycles may participate, you are responsible for your own safety and decision-making during throughout the event and the rides.
Know your capabilities and limits and adapt the routes to suit your ability and preferences. Be prepared - so please make sure you’re familiar with the guidance, the routes & profiles, the safety briefing and checklist below. As part of the ride is through remote areas you should effectively be self-sufficient.
Before 20 May
Make sure you familiarise yourself with the routes, features and profiles
As this is a self-guided event you need to download route GPX's from komoot onto your GPS - this will be the only means of navigating your way around the routes (below)
Check out the guide and checklist below to make sure you know - and have all you need to make it your best and safest cycling weekend ever
Study the safety briefing below - we’ll ask you to sign the waiver and confirmation you have read and understood ride features, risks and safety aspects when you sign on
Add the mobile numbers below to your contacts
If you haven't already when booking - please let us know by Friday 12 May - if you have any dietary preferences so we can prepare the right pizza for you!
The bicycling, brewing bros at stohk have crafted a wild range of brews to compliment your mountain-top experience - pre-order your stohks to ensure you remain refreshed throughout the weekend (15% discount code W1LD_W33K3ND.
For those wanting to camp on Friday night pre-event at Holden Farm just outside Winchester you need to book direct by emailing email@example.com. Arrangements have been made to book for one night only (not avail to book online) @ £15.00 per person. The Camping Office m. 07599553740
For parking try: https://www.justpark.com/ or https://www.parkonmydrive.com/
saturday 20 may
08:30 Arrive at Winchester by train (under an hour from London) on Saturday and make your way to the start at the fab South Downs Social Café. 3-4 Kings Walk Winchester, S023 8AF.
Register and grab a delicious (discounted) coffee n bun.
09:00-09:30 Roll out on to day 1 route (below).
Enjoy your day out on the spectacular South Downs Way before arriving at basecamp at the Mason barn. You need to aim to check in by 6pm latest.
Spend the rest of the evening soaking up the fireside vibes, sharing your tales of the day's epic.
Oh... and dont forget to pitch your tent before you enjoy the evening too much.
Sundowner brews - courtesy of the brewing biking bros at stohk make for the perfect compliment to a day out on the dusty trails!
Dinner is served from 6:30pm onwards - a delicious home-cooked veggie chilli, pre-empted by savoury corn fritters and rounded off with a fab chocolate brownie.
As if it couldn't get any better....we are super excited to announce the latest addition to the fireside programme...
Naomi Freireich, one of Mason's super-heroes and ambassadors - 3 time British and 2018 European 24 hour mountain bike champion - will be hosting a once-in-a-lifetime fireside chat!
Naomi will be treating us to tales of her experiences competing in ultra-endurance races including the epic Highland Trail 550, Further East and the Lakeland 200.
Sunday 21 may
07:30 - 08:30 Enjoy a delicious hand-cooked breakfast including a Bircher muesli or granola and a quesadilla portion and fresh coffee.
Pack-up and roll-out by 09:30
Make sure you have the best day ever out on one of the spectacular routes, soak up the fabulous views and stay safe!
Aim to arrive at Cadence, Beachy Head by 4pm to join in the celebrations and to enjoy a finishing brew thanks to the stohk brewing bros.
You should head for the finish by 4pm. If you decide to stop riding at any point you must phone or txt one of the mobile numbers (below).
You must clock in at the end of your ride.
Planning and preparation is key!
With that in mind we have prepared a SAFETY BRIEFING 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.
Saturday and Sunday routes are all challenging as far as terrain, gradient, surface and profile is concerned. It’s your responsibility to ensure that you have the fitness, skill and capability to complete your chosen distances and profiles.
All rides are self-guided and although representatives from Wild Cycles may participate, as a rider - you 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.
Routes feature 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 – they include gravel, woodland trails, sand, grassy fields, bridleways, public roads and lanes. It is therefore essential that you have experience of riding on public roads and off-road on varied terrain. Routes use and cross public roads used by motorists (light, medium and heavy vehicles) where extra care and vigilance is required. Conditions, degree of difficulty and speed will be significantly impacted by weather conditions. Check the weather forecast beforehand.
Conditions, degree of difficulty and speed will be significantly impacted by weather conditions. Check the weather forecast beforehand.
Download the routes from komoot - following links and instructions below.
Wild Cycles gifts you a komoot lifetime access region bundle’s for Hampshire and Surrey-Sussex worth £8.99 for free.
What you get at a glance:
Komoot is an app that lets you find, plan, and share adventures with the easy route planner. Driven by a desire to explore, and powered by the outdoor community’s recommendations, it’s komoot’s mission to inspire great adventures, making them accessible to all.
Offline functionality: Save individual Tours or entire regions offline for reliable navigation when you’ve got no phone signal.
Turn-by-turn voice navigation:
Whether trail running, hiking, cycling or mtb, just listen to the instructions or follow them on screen to keep your adventure on track.
Available on all your devices: Use komoot on all your favourite devices, such as your phone, Garmins, Wahoos, smartwatches, or practically any GPS computer.
Automatically follow Wild Cycles komoot profile and have access to the event routes.
Redeem your komoot voucher now by going to komoot.com/g and entering:
Hampshire voucher code- WILDCYCLESMSD
Surrey-Sussex voucher code- WILDCYCLESMSD1
Offer valid until 31/5/2023
100km with 1710m climbing
From Winchester - the first day on the South Downs way starts as it means to carry on: glorious gravel, rolling countryside, excellent views - heading west towards Chilcombe before climbing Telegraph Hill and meandering gently southwards to Exton - past Winchester Hill Fort and then on to the Queen Elizabeth Country Park. En-route you’ll find South Harting - complete with post office, a handful of shops and pubs. Elevation (climbing!) is rewarded in the form of the spectacular views as the trail leads you eastwards along the ridge up to the fort at Beacon Hill. At Burton Down you’ll start a long descent down to the banks of the River Arun. The undulations follow the ridge-line crossing a number of main roads (take extra care) before the final gradual descent ending up at camp.
64km with 1310m climbing
Day 2 on the South Downs Way is slightly shorter. The trail rides high above Brighton offering breath taking scenery across the Downs and the ocean beyond. Ditchling Beacon is the highpoint and the highlight of this section with 360 views. The roller coaster drops you down to the River Ouse - up to Firle Beacon - down to Alfriston (careful here!). The trail then skirts the cliffs - which are truly awesome to behold and signal a welcome end to the trail at Cadence Clubhouse, Beachy Head.
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, brake pads and tyres which are new or nearly new.
There is no formal mechanical support ono the event so 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 strongly 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 also recommended.
Nutrition and hydration
Please note distances and route profiles. Parts of the route passes through remote areas which is great and part of the magic of the ride. 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 opportunities to top up in remote areas.
Camp is in a stunning setting on Applesham Farm - which is home to Mason Cycles. Facilities are bike-packing basic and include water, loos & a spacious camping field with great views! Note there are no shower facilities available.
Catering & refueling
Meals included: Saturday evening (a delicious home-cooked veggi chilli, pre-empted by savoury fritters and rounded off with a fab chocolate tiffin thingy). Sunday breakfast is Quesadilla's and Bircher Museli) - Gluten free and veggie/ vegan options will be available.
Check out the maps for your lunch and refuelling stops en-route which are for your account.
Essentials which you should bring with you (we're going for min-waste so please remember your coffee mug)
Your bike! Ensure it's in perfect working order, safety-checked, serviced beforehand and is therefore safe and suitable to complete the full distance
Your own quality cycle helmet which conforms to the latest safety standards must be worn whilst riding
Multi-tool, tyre levers, spare inner tubes and/or tubeless repair kit, tyre boots
Quick chain links
Spare cables & brake pads
Water bottles/hydration pack (also see nutrition/hydration guidance above)
1st aid kit
Bike lock recommended
Suitable clothing + extra/spare sets of clothing
Footwear & eye-wear
Gloves & waterproofs
Warm clothing for evenings
Tent/bivvy, sleeping mat, pillow
(for those who have hired a bell tent space - camp beds are provided)
Sleeping bag suitable for weather conditions (check the weather forecast and your sleeping bag’s temperature rating)
Mug for coffee
safety briefing and waiver
All routes listed in this guide feature 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 – they include gravel, woodland trails, sand, grassy fields, bridleways, public roads and lanes. It is therefore essential that you have experience of riding on public roads and off-road on varied terrain. Routes use and cross public roads used by motorists (light, medium and heavy vehicles) where extra care and vigilance is required. Conditions, degree of difficulty and speed will be significantly impacted by weather conditions. Check the weather forecast beforehand.
Familiarise yourself with the route distances, profiles and conditions and make yourself aware of the risks and hazards associated with undertaking your chosen activity. All rides are self-guided and although representatives from Wild Cycles may participate, as a rider you are responsible for your own safety and decision-making during the ride. Know your capabilities and limits and adapt the routes to suit your ability and your preferences.
Please note the following aspects and Actions for your safety applies to all routes
1. Bike condition
See BIKE & EQUIPMENT below
Do a thorough bike safety check before the ride
Check and make sure your brake pads have more than sufficient life to complete the distance NB route profiles
Carry pump, spare tube/repair kit (see checklist)
2. Overhanging branches and fallen trees
Keep a look out and warn following riders
Adjust route if cannot be avoided
Wear a quality helmet and eye protection
Maintain awareness, be vigilant and exercise caution
3. Wet weather and terrain
Ensure correct tyre pressure and tread
Beware of livestock waste protect and/or clean water bottles & equipment
Wear appropriate clothing suited to weather
Know your abilities and limitations, ride and make decisions accordingly
4. Terrain - uneven, rocky, ruts, flint, roots mud & loose surfaces
Be vigilant and take extra care on these surfaces, watch your speed and ride within your abilities
Identify hazards and difficult, technical terrain
Ride within your ability
Warn following riders when approaching
5. Steep gradients - descents and ascents
Approach with caution
Use appropriate speed for the terrain
Know your abilities and limitations, ride and make decisions accordingly
6. Other users: Walkers, dogs, horse riders
Be respectful, give priority to walkers and horse riders
Leave plenty of space when passing
7. Warm, hot weather
Apply sun cream
Wear appropriate clothing
Stay hydrated and top up with fluids constantly
See NUTRITION & HYDRATION in the guide
8. Darkness and poor visibility
Unless you have the appropriate lighting - front and rear - should darkness fall or visibility fades you must call Wild Cycles for recovery
Monitor distance, average speed, progress in relation to time of day and sunset
9. Traffic and public roads
Obey the rules of the road and ride with the utmost care on public roads
Be vigilant and maintain high awareness of traffic on public and farm roads incl. cars, HGVs, farm machinery and implements
Maintain a steady line whilst riding on roads
Wear reflective/bright clothing
Be super vigilant and extra cautious when crossing roads and at junctions
10. Fatigue, accidents, injury
Carry a 1st aid kit with you to attend to minor injuries
Call 999 in the case of a serious injury to yourself or another rider
Monitor your performance and judgement and ride within your limits
If you feel exhausted and need to cut your ride short call us for recovery if required
Carry the spares and tools listed below as there is no official mechanical support
See BIKE and EQUIPMENT in the guide
If unable to continue call us for recovery if required
12. Call us on one of the numbers below if you decide to stop riding at any point
13. Know your abilities and limitations, ride and make decisions accordingly
I hereby confirm that, with the exception of any liability which cannot be excluded by law, Wild Cycles Limited shall have no liability for any loss or damage I may suffer as a result of my participation in this event. Furthermore, I will indemnify and hold Wild Cycles Limited, its officers, agents and employees harmless from and against any and all expenses, losses, liabilities, damages and costs of any type incurred or suffered and any claims or legal proceedings which are brought or threatened, in each case, arising from my participation in this event.
To be signed online https://www.wildcycles.co.uk/south-downs-form
or at registration:
Mobile contact number (for the weekend):
Emergency contact name and number:
Emergency services 999
Paramedic 07917 191095
John 07501 006366
Jonathan 07305 973508
Ensure you have adequate insurance cover for your property and equipment including bicycles intended for your use as well as medical expenses.
If you have any questions - please ask.