Our tour of the South Downs


In sweltering 30 degrees of sunshine, and with the mid-way challenge of a 17 degree (Okay, percent for the purists!) ascent in prospect, the “Twenty Four” rode off to the South Downs.  

After a fortifying bacon roll, copious coffee and lashings of sun lotion, we rolled out from the picturesque Mannings Heath Golf Club and Wine Estate in West Sussex on what was a fantastically scenic route for the third formal networking BDOVELO ride of the season (we’re not counting Yorkshire! J). Early on, a couple of cheeky hidden inclines led to some crunching of gears for those paying more attention to the chat than the tarmac, before the route opened up, providing some superb flat cruising miles through the lanes towards the sea.  A brief water stop heralded the spectacular vista of the coastal ridge as we rode parallel to and below it, knowing that at some stage it would have to be tackled if that promised view of the sea, as billed in the pre-ride comms, was to be had! 

And so, after a few easy miles, taking in the sights including Bamber Castle, Bostall Hill loomed ahead. Less crunching of gears but more heaving of lungs up that 17 percenter followed, to be rewarded by a feed stop with commanding views along the South Coast.  OK, so the view of the sea was a tad hazy but after that ascent... in that heat, no-one was about to pick hairs!  Re-hydrated and re-fuelled we had the pleasure of descending what had just been climbed and save a little kicker or two towards the end of the ride to provide a little “sting in the tail”, as is good BDOVELO practice, what followed was an easy route home.

After one or six cooling drinks, we were treated to a hugely compelling talk by Philip Bigland and Jason Kerr, two of the four man 'Team Elijah's Star' rowing team who will be rowing the Atlantic later this year to raise funds for Action Medical Research's work into the prevention of deaths resulting from premature births.  A major challenge for a very laudable cause. Questions were many, such is the importance and nature of what they are undertaking.  We wish them the very best of luck in their conquest and of course, their fundraising goal of £200,000.  And so, duly recovered and with good memories of the day's 'two degrees', we dispersed into the sultry evening. 

We look forward to welcoming riders on the next two riding events in the BDOVELO calendar; an "Introduction to BDOVELO" ride on 20 August out of the Denbies Wine Estate in Surrey - to celebrate women in cycling and encourage more people to get on their bikes and join our networking rides - and the next BDOVELO networking ride on 23 September in Buckinghamshire. Do keep an eye on the BDOVELO website for more details on both events.



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