The Ridgeway and Lambourn Downs figure 8, South Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Wiltshire by James Olsen

The Ridgeway and Lambourn Downs figure 8, South Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Wiltshire by James Olsen

By: 
James Olsen / Pinnacle Bikes

James Olsen, Evans Cycles head of own brand development and designer for Pinnacle and HOY bikes, reveals a favourite ride along his local long-distance trail: the Ridgeway.

On a summer’s evening along the western half of the Ridgeway, the white roads and open views could be Spain or Tuscany for a moment, and the colour of the dawn or dusk sunlight on the hardpacked chalk that makes up many of the tracks can be truly beautiful.

This is a ride that makes itself available based on conditions, rewarding an opportunist’s ability to ride when the time is right. Mid to late summer can be best when the tracks tend to have become smoother and the flints have been swept aside. The tracks can be slippery and rutted and the flints can cut tyres, but a durable city/touring tyre will be enough unless you’re simply unlucky.

This ride takes in some classic Ridgeway scenery and mixes it with lanes around the Lambourn Downs to create a mix of road and off-road riding. It starts from Goring, a lovely town next to Streatley on the river Thames. It’s a good base with shops and places to eat or stay. The ride uses a figure-8 loop to offer a get-out or for a variation in the terrain mix.

The road descent back into Goring is a fast one, take care!

Tips

The off-road sections (less than 40% of the distance) will be a challenge on any bike in all but fairly dry conditions. A robust cyclo-cross bike, tourer or hybrid will cope well on a good day. 

Length 
59.00
Level of ride 
Regular
Type of bike 
Mountain bike