Cycling the South Downs Way double: how hard is it really?

At over 320 kilometers long and with 7,000 metres of climbing (200 miles and 23,000 feet), it was never going to be a walk in the park...

Stefan Abram
(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

You’ve probably heard of the South Downs Way. It’s one of the UK’s most famous National Trails and covers for 100 miles of chalky bridleway, all the way from Winchester – that ancient seat of Saxon power – to Eastbourne, on the Sussex coast.

The much travelled path bears a special significance for me, as the setting of my first forays into cycling. Without a head unit, or any real form of mapping, my weekends consisted of quickly cruising down the road to get to the ridgeline, and then once on the hilltops I could just follow the signposts until I felt it was time to head back.

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