About Mark B
I mostly ride a mixed bag of gravel and road, with a passion for travelling by bike, more so since cycling through India in 2018. I've clocked up few other interesting places since - meeting inspiring and energetic people whilst travelling through beautiful places is a real pleasure.
- Keep smiling adventures
Watch the video on everything you need to know here if you don’t want to read.
This ride is a ride I myself created taking you on a journey throughout some of my favourite places that I have enjoyed riding over the years. This ride will take you on a 370 mile mostly off road adventure. The ride will give you an opportunity to experience epic open gravel roads to forest roads, single track, ridgeways canals, country lanes even some beautiful coastal cliff tops and briefly the city of Oxford where you will get to take in some of the cities most iconic buildings. This ride uses mostly bridle ways so the route is mostly car free however there are some sections where you will need to ride on the road, these are mostly country lanes or quiet roads. The busiest part is probably Oxford however there are shared use paths to be used for the less confident cyclists.
You will get to ride some of my favourite places including the purbecks, the white horse trail near Devizes, and off course my childhood favourite place .... brill hill.
As this ride follows multiple different trails it is not always sign posted you will want to to have a gps unit for mapping. Who’s it for
This ride is going to be for anyone looking for a mostly off-road adventure but that isn’t so remote that you need to be super self reliant. However this is quite a long ride meaning you will be wanting to have a good level of fitness and bike handling skills. This ride is for someone who wants a bit of everything on there ride from the occasional technical stuff to simple gravel trails and even a little bit of city riding. This ride will be great for a whole range of people, the caffe dweller the pub crawler, the mile muncher, or the out and out wild wonderer. What bike
The gravel bike really was an excellent choice of bike as this route has lots of actual gravel lanes and bridle ways with lots of pedalling sections. This route does have the occasional rough a technical sections so I will say if you opt for the gravel bike you will want at least 40 mm plus tyres. If you are an experienced rider however, you could do it on 35mm.
This route would also suit an xc bike or short travel hardtail. Camping/ accommodation Whether you are a hardcore wild camper or like a little more civilised stay at an official campsite or to live in luxury in b&b’s and hotels this route has it all there are plenty of official campsites along the route and plenty of b&b’s and hotels too. If you are like me who likes to wild camp then there is plenty of quiet places along the route to hunker down for the night. But please understand that as this route is in England wild camping is technically not allowed so if you do decide to wild camp leave absolutely no trace, set up late and do not have fires. Difficulty
The difficulty of this ride I think it is best to break it down into two parts. First the route itself is fairly easy to ride and for the most part there is very little hike a bike, a lot of the trails you will find yourself riding on are well used and mostly gravel so tend to hold up in the wetter weather. When I tested this ride I had a lot of rain and the trails were still ridable but of course use caution as conditions can always change. So for the trail difficulty I will give this a 4/10 However this ride is quite a long ride at just under 400 miles and depending on how far you can ride in a day, off road this ride can require a good amount of time to complete. So the difficulty in terms of length it will be a 7/10 Please bare in mind these scores are based on my own riding ability and depending on the rider you may find it easier or harder. Overall rating
Now giving this an overall rating is hard because I am going to be biased as I did put this route together, however basing the score on everything I have stated above, the terrain the wild camping an the places this route takes you I am going to give it a 7.5/10 because I generally had a lot of fun on this ride and the ride itself flows really nicely. There is a lot of places to stop and enjoy while having a good few wow moments and lots of riding that will just put a smile on your face, while still pushing you and giving you the satisfying adventure feeling. Starting the ride
When putting this route together I wanted to make it accessible to as many people as possible so I tried my best to make sure it went through enough places where there are train stations, you can off course start wherever you like on this route as it is a loop but I do recommend going in the direction I have created the route as it flows really nicely. If you can start and finish in Bournemouth it is nice, as you can finish your ride with a swim if that’s your thing but with that being said here is a list of some of the train stations on routeBournemouth
Goring on Thames
Mottifont & Dunbridge
Ashurst new forest
Wareham Shortening the ride
This ride is a long ride so if you feel it is to long then that’s ok because I have tried to put this route together so it is very easy to shorten it. As this ride is made up with essentially three loops you can remove the purbecks loop for example or maybe skip the Oxford and brill part by cutting across from hungerford. Whatever you decide to do I just tried to put together a route that you will enjoy.How long will it take
This route is just under 400 miles and while the time it will take will depend on the individual I will say for the fast and fit rider you could enjoy this ride in 4/6 days
I would recommend more anything from 6/8 days. For a leisurely pace. Food and water
This route has no shortage of places to get food and water whether you want to stop for pub lunches or cafes this route is full of places to stop. Their are also multiple supermarkets along the route so there isn’t much need to carry lots of supplies. Route notes So a couple things that should be noted before taking on this route are 1. This route requires you to take a ferry from studland to sandbanks so check it is running, cost is £1. it’s a chain ferry that runs most of the year but does occasionally stop running for different reasons I will include a link where you can check the ferry status
sandbanksferry.co.uk 2. There is a potential that you may need to pick up your bike, one is at warham train station if the crossing is shut. It’s normally open but it does shut at certain times. So you may need to carry your bike over the footbridge.Also At about the 62 mile mark you technically use a gravel road that is classed as a footpath and on occasion the gates are looked and you may be required to lift your bike over the gate on each end and use the Stiles.if you can’t or don’t want to to pick your bike up you can easily just follow the road around. It’s still a quiet country lane. 3. Unfortunately there is a cycling ban on the national cycle route along the promenade between July and august between 10am -6pm so if you arrive between them times you will need follow the cliff top road route or just walk along the sea front. Between sandbanks and Bournemouth.4. On occasion this route briefly uses sections where you may have to dismount or give priority to pedestrians as some parts are technically footpaths. 5. please note that although I have put together this route, understand that route conditions can change and be dangerous so if you decide to take on this route I am in no way liable for any damage or injuries you may occur. Please ride safe and respect other trail users. Thanks
Keep smiling adventures
October 10, 2021