Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Riding the South Downs Way

By Alpkit
20, Jul, 2018

100 miles, 13,000 feet of climbing... Sonder's Liam takes the Broken Road to ride the South Down's Way in a day

The South Down’s Way is a 100 mile trail that runs from Winchester to Eastbourne along the South Downs National Park.

I actually attempted the South Downs Way back in 1992 on a Rigid 26” wheeled MTB over 2 days with a mate, but mechanical and equipment failures meant we never made it to Eastbourne – instead ending up at a service station on the A27 awaiting rescue from my mate’s dad. At 100 miles with 13,000 feet of climbing, it’s definitely a challenging ride, and one that I have unfinished business with.

Roll on 26 years: it’s 4:30am, the sun is yet to rise and somehow I find myself on the start line for the British Heart Foundation South Downs in a Day ride. We set off in waves of 25 or so riders, so at about 4:45am I clipped in and was off. The sun still hadn’t risen, the clouds were clinging to the valley floor, the atmosphere was great. Getting up out riding early is certainly satisfying, and by 9am I’d covered 38 miles of mostly fast and undulating terrain.

Reaping the rewards of those early starts!

As this was an organised event, with feed stations every 10 miles or so, I quickly settled into a steady pace between short stops to refuel. But as the temperature increased, so did the hills. By early afternoon we were at 31.5 degrees Celsius and staying hydrated and fuelled between stations became an ongoing battle. Slowly and steadily I ticked off each hill and ridge, and soon I could see Eastbourne and the sea in the distance. The final descent was a welcome sight and one that I savoured as I freewheeled down to the finish line on the seafront, where my support crew (wife and daughter) were waiting. After a short recovery, I made my way down to the beach for a swim in the sea, followed by some well-deserved fish and chips.

What a day to remember! 100 miles in 13.5 hours, by far the toughest ride and longest distance I have ridden in a day and I have finally tied up the loose ends from back in 92! I chose the Sonder Broken Road to take on this challenge (my old favourite) and as always it ate up the miles, letting me complete a long-held personal challenge and raise money for a good cause whilst I was at it!

  • Google+

In pictures

1 Comment

Share your thoughts about this article.

Unfinished business also!

I tested the Broken Road and attempted the South Downs Way (over a two-day bikepacking weekend) back in 2016. As you can see from the attached photo the trail conditions weren't as favourable as yours and, unfortunately, due to a technical issue I had to abandon the ride at Devil's Dyke – so I too have unfinished business with the Downs. Out of interest what did you carry on your bike to complete the course?

Daring Deeds

No Sleep Till Sunday
Throwback to Strathpuffer 2018
Testing New Frontiers
Join us for a spin in the Peak District
Second City Divide Part 2
Did they make it to Glasgow?
Second City Divide Part 1
Alpkiteer Steve Bate takes on the Second City Divide
Adventure Training at Alpkit
Proper training in the outdoors
Rich and Tom Siepp Pre-Tour Divide ride
Rich and Tom's kit list and pre-amble for their Tour Divide route ride
Body, Bike, Mind and Me: Part 2
Exploring mindfulness on the Highland Trail 550
Body, Bike, Mind and Me
Exploring mindfulness on the Highland Trail 550

More from Deeds


Sonder Winter Gravel Series
Keep your legs moving over winter with Sonder
Sonder Storybook 2019 Comp Now Open
Release your inner Dervla Murphy
Alpkit Keswick Official Opening
Yippee! It's officially official... We're open!
10 Welsh Ride Things
multi day biking in Wales
May Day Madness!
Join us for an action packed weekend
The London Bike Show 2018
Alpkit hit the big city
Cold. Brutal. Epic.
Braving the ice to take on the ‘Puffer
Hathersage School of Adventure Courses
Join us for Adventures in Hathersage

More from News


New Sonder Transmitter: Q&A with Neil Sutton
We catch Sonder Bike Guru Neil to quiz him about the new Transmitter
The Squalline Story
Developing our new run/ride showerproof shell
Bags more packs in our range
New packs for you to put your kit in
Sonder Evol: Q&A with Bike Guru Neil
Sonder's new 140mm trail bike
2 new Sonder bikes
2 new bikes set to join Sonder
Sonder Camino Alloy prototypes have arrived
Dropped bar alloy travel bike proto
Gravitas Lightweight Activity Waterproof
New activity shell coming soon
Love Mud 650b+ wheels bars stems
Introducing Love Mud Bike Components

More from Develop


The Highland Trail 550 2019
Stu Taylor returns to the Highland Trail
Dirty Reiver 2019
Our staff rides for the 2019 Reiver 200
Layering up for Cycling
Our new Rhythm range, and how to layer for a ride
Supporting the Silk Road Race
Watching dots on the Silk Road
The Who’s Who of Alpkit Backpacks
Navigating our new range of packs
A Lake District Guide to Hike-A-Biking
How and why to hike-a-bike
‘Testing’ the Argonaut
A run up that hill, ride to work, climb a tree, nip out for milk kinda jacket.
What a Difference a Day Makes
What can you fit into the Bank Holiday?

More from Spotlight


More from Kudos

Be the first to hear about our newest products and promotions

Join AlpCol's Espresso newsletter for that hit of Go Nice Places, Do Good Things Greatness


By adding your email you consent to our terms and conditions