King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

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whitestone
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King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by whitestone »

The south is a foreign country, they do things differently there.

Given the choice of going up to Scotland or going abroad we decided on the latter for a change. Take a map of the UK and draw a line from the Humber to the Severn estuaries, say Hull to Gloucester and we've done basically SFA riding below that line. So ...

That's nice
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Cath decided to get a move on.
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Which eventually led to lots of this:
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And this:
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But also some of this:
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Cath wanted better radio reception and deployed her secret aerial
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Whilst waiting for our meal at a pub Cath decided to perfect her three colour daguerrotype technique with me modelling a some BB produce. The cyclist in the background now has a certificate from Guiness for the longest trackstand in a racing position.
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After a top up at another pub we bivvied for the night. The morning brought the only "bad" weather of the trip. The mist cleared within an hour or so.
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A nice long descent included some sunken lanes
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Some beech woods, I like beech woods, they have a nice calm light.
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Irish sign writer at work!
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Big hill
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Looking down big hill
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Ah Winchester! We went a bit wrong here and followed the SDW into town rather than the KAW
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Some bloke being celebrated for showing the locals how to open a tin of spam
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Country lanes
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Our second bivy. The track is running along the right edge of the shot but there's a bank between it and the tent so we couldn't be seen by someone walking along it.
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What have the Romans ever done for us?
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Our steeds
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Old Sarum hill fort just outside Salisbury
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On Salisbury Plain working our way around the firing ranges.
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On the long descent to Avebury, it's just hidden behind the trees above Cath's head. The Ridgeway begins on the hills in the distance
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Early versions of the tarp poles weren't as portable
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Typical Ridgeway track
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A long grassy descent
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Early morning on the Ridgeway
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So home counties
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Finished off with some wandering around Reading trying to find our underground car park. It was actually only about 200m off-route.
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redefined_cycles
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by redefined_cycles »

Thanks Bob... is this well drained trails/graveltype stuff or is it potentially boggy when wet (just like the South I remembrr from a few weeks ago)...
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whitestone
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by whitestone »

redefined_cycles wrote: Thu Jun 03, 2021 12:03 pm Thanks Bob... is this well drained trails/graveltype stuff or is it potentially boggy when wet (just like the South I remembrr from a few weeks ago)...
A complete mixture Shaf. It's fairly obvious that a lot of the tracks have deep puddles/mud baths if things have been wet as there's lots of "avoidance" loops around the sides. The soil seems to have a high clay content so it looks like it goes from being slop to soft and taking tracks then baked solid like concrete within a couple of days. Having only been there the once it's hard to say for certain, James might know better since he lives in the area. By all accounts the chalk becomes very slippery when wet so riding outside those periods would seem advised.
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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

I have to say, this picture puts me right off the idea.

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Lazarus
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by Lazarus »

the hill looks way to easy to push up ,not a tussock in sight and that path is way to defined ?
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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by Bearbonesnorm »

the hill looks way to easy to push up ,not a tussock in sight and that path is way to defined ?
There are those things obviously but it just looks so busy and I probably don't want to be riding anywhere my view is of a motorway ... I understand that possibly isn't actually a motorway and might simply be a normal road in the south but it looks like one to me :wink:
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whitestone
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by whitestone »

It's not far off a motorway TBH, it actually becomes a designated motorway a few km south. At the top right of the shot just to the left of the road is QE Country Park which is a complete honey pot and Butser Hill which this shot is taken from is the highest point around. That section was probably the busiest bit of the ride outside towns like Reading, Winchester and to a lesser extent Avebury.

I think those of us like Stu and myself who are fortunate to live in nice places forget just how busy and packed the SE really is. But between Winchester and Goring we probably saw fewer people in total than we did in that one short bit. Really a ride of contrasts.

What is missing from that shot is the steep bit just behind Cath, steep enough that keeping front wheel on the ground and maintaining traction with the rear took some doing.
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sean_iow
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by sean_iow »

I last rode up Buster Hill in November 2017 on the return leg of a SDW double I did over 3 days, it had been raining for the last 2 days and I was on a heavily loaded singlespeed.

I would have got off and pushed sooner but I had an audience and didn't want to appear soft so had to keep going as far as I could.

The 'audience' was a junior cross-country race and in the time it took me to get to the top I'd been overtaken by well over a hundred 12 to 16 year old runners :lol:
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Moff
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by Moff »

Quite a bit of traffic going around the way at the moment, seeing people pass through King's Somborne virtually every day on my commute.
Group of 6 'Gravelists' this morning, looked pretty lightly packed.
jameso
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by jameso »

Nice. Mint Sauce world.
James might know better since he lives in the area.
On a dry summer's day imho there's not much that beats these open hardpack byways for bikepacking weekenders. The tracks are flowing, fast and the climbs are rarely very hard, the woods and fields are as homely as my living room and I could camp there for days on end. In the wet it's a boggy splash-fest with slippy chalk or sticky clay clag and between November and April I ride either a rigid SS while cursing all the horses that churn the trails or just get on the road bike. Love/just about put up with sort of relationship.

The traffic noise is rubbish though, Stu's right. So many areas blighted by fast/busy roads. Then again the most terrifying road I've been on in recent years was the A470 at the end of the TINAT, it's rare I get off the bike and think about walking across a field to find a lane. They're all sub standard though aren't they. Around here I just make sure I never end up on an A-road :-bd
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faustus
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by faustus »

Nice photos and ride! :-bd

It's kinda my home territory too as I used to live on the edge or Reading and the Thames path/South Chilterns where my local trails. now it's Newbury which is very well connected to the Ridgeway and lots more...

I totally get why an impression of busyness would be off-putting, but views of busy roads are (or feel) few and far between. On the bike it's so easy to get away from crowds and feel calm and away from it all. There are inevitable busy bits and honeypots but they don't have to make up much of a ride at all. I think that because this route takes in a lot of central Reading and Winchester, it's going through more bustle than I would choose, but obviously for the sake of services/accommodation.

Lots of riding in the South is worth a try and really nice indeed. As mentioned though, trail surface can be tricky and changeable; but also varied, interesting, and fun. Yes, mostly road riding in winter though!
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htrider
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by htrider »

Looks a good trip Bob. After last week, the thought of doing some nice smooth, grassy trails (with lots of beer stops) sounds perfect. Bit of trek for me to get down there though....
Leerowe76
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by Leerowe76 »

Looks good tbf :-bd
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rollindoughnut
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Re: King Alfred Way (picture heavy)

Post by rollindoughnut »

It's the only road of any significance that crosses the entire 100 miles of the SDW. Whilst it is busy down here, it's not all bad.
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