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Has anyone done the Chilterns Ridgeway?  Is it doable on a Cross Bike??

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peted76 [1320 posts] 1 month ago
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ktache [1135 posts] 1 month ago
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It probably is, you might want knobblies though.  You may have to wait until it dries up a bit, there is potential for a great deal of mud.  The bare chalk was slippery in the dry and will be like ice if wet. 

  Wonderful ride, did it on my good ti mtb.  First one, rode from Caversham, along the Thames to Goring, and climbed up to it from Streatly, and rode to around Swindon, fox hil? when I bumped into some Swindon MTBers who were kind enough to escourt me to the towns station. 

Had to do it properly so got the train to Pewsey, rode road to Avebury, and climbed up to the ridgeway, lost a knobble off the front tyre, exposing canvas, fitted a tyre boot and was careful for a bit.  There's a farmer just past weyland smithers (excellent...) who pipes mains water out for drinking, so filled all of my bottles, it was hot.  It got cloudy and dark and I became surrounded by a massive electical storm, passed many photographers whenever it crossed roads.  I worried about being the tallest thing on the highest ridge around and rode like a man possessed until I started coming down into Streatly, when everything looked soaked, but it wasn't raining so I didn't get the train back to Reading, and rode back along the Thames to Caversham.

Became a bit obsessed, there was something about it, don't know if it was it's age.  Had to ride the last cycleble bit, towards Princes Risbourgh to where it became the Icnield way, and back.  Happy.

These boys did it in the wet https://www.cyclingplus.com/cycling-routes/cycle-route-the-ridgeway-44-m... on CX bikes.

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PRSboy [449 posts] 1 month ago
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I ride a local bit of the Ridgeway regularly, in South Oxfordshire.

I've seen Cross bikes on there in dry weather, agreed it could get a bit slippy in parts in the wet and some of it is very bumpy!

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kil0ran [1342 posts] 1 month ago
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It's a spectacular landscape, you really get a sense of history. Easy to imagine hill forts, drovers, and tribal battles. An underrated part of the world, long may it stay that way. I drive to Swindon fairly regularly and always try to take the long way through Upavon and Alton Barnes

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gmac101 [225 posts] 1 month ago
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I've done it on foot, camping en-route over 6 days.  Its a great long distance path with spectacular views over the countryside. We did it in summer when it was dry and it would be fine on a bike with sensible tyres but parts are used by off road cars and motorbikes and I imagine that in bad weather they could turn parts of it to swamp.  A few of the descents might be a bit of challenge but you can always get off and walk down.  As Ktache mentioned water is a problem but if you get a walking guide they mark tap locations on the sketch maps.   There are a  few campsites aong the route (or B & B's who let you camp in their garden) so you could bike pack it.

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Plainsman [1 post] 1 month ago
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I did the Ridgeway a couple of years ago.  Train to Luton Parkway, ride to Ivinghoe Beacon for start,  On to Wendover ,where stayed b&b for first night, Next on to Streatley YHA for next night. Then the final section to Avebury.  Then rode to Swindon for my train home.  I used my Raleigh utility bike with 700 x 32 tyres.  No problems over the whole route. Harveys do a map to cover the route with Bridlepath alternatives for some sections around the Wendover, Checkers area which are designated footpaths only.   Harvey's  Ridgeway XT40. 9781851374182           Worked out at about 160 miles over 3 days,  with many stops to enjoy the views from the top of the Downs.  Also the prehistoric sites.   There is also a guide book by Nick Hill, The Ridgeway, published by Trailblazer,   isbn 978 1 905864 40 9,   I found this handy as I did it mid summer and taps for drinking water are shown.   I originally intended to do it the other way but decided it was more practical for me traveling from my home in the east Midlands. I'm in my 70s so manageable for all.

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Edgeley [542 posts] 1 month ago
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If it has been dry for a couple of weeks, then certainly yes.    I did large parts on a hybrid years ago.  I often go up on a MB.

It does get very muddy and rutted in places, even though nearly all of the route is now banned to motor vehicles.

There are parts that can be a little bit dull, and the odd detour off to a pub on either side wouldn't be a bad idea.

Don't forget that GWR make life awkward for cyclists these days, so if you are planning on something like Swindon to Reading and train back, then you may need to blag your way onto a train.

 

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shufflingb [59 posts] 1 month ago
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When it's dry it's pretty easy going and could be done on a Brompton (just about anyway) and is great fun on a cross/gravel/adventure/all-road bike.

When it's muddy it's towards the purgatory, walking is quicker, you can drown in the ruts, end of the spectrum.

I did from Rode (just outside Bath) to Bedford along big chunks of it on my Hakka MX in April last year and it had been plenty wet. Gory details and some illustrative photos here

Ultimately, depending on what you can put up with, it is doable all year. Whether or not it's going to be enjoyable though ...

 

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PRSboy [449 posts] 1 month ago
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Yup, pretty much like that at the moment... I did a section this weekend on my MTB, barely averaged 12kmh!

If anyone needs a good pub for a lunch stop close to the Ridgeway, I can recommend the Bell at Aldworth, in West Berkshire, and the Harrow at West Ilsley.

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Miller [206 posts] 1 month ago
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The Ridgeway is eminently do-able on a CX bike. Be aware that it's very, very rutted in the direction of travel so you need to pay attention to your line at all times. If it has been wet there can be epic mud. Trailbreak have a 100km event there on 3rd August.

https://www.cxsportive.com/ridgeway-cx-century/