King Alfred's Way

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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mjr
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mjr » 27 Jan 2020, 11:41am

Richard Fairhurst wrote:I have no problem with CUK developing off-road routes like King Alfred's Way - it looks like a superb ride and I'd love to try it one day. Full marks to Zulu Eleven and colleagues for their work on it.

Agree completely, by the way. I'm just mystified by comments that this sort of stuff is "aimed specifically at tourists" and suitable for "rural tourism". Tourers who stray onto these routes on loaded touring bikes may start cursing CUK like they do Sustrans and that's probably not good for anyone.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Carlton green
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby Carlton green » 27 Jan 2020, 1:05pm

mjr wrote:
gaz wrote:I don't often go BOATing. This one is on the Cyling UK NDW route, also the actual NDW, Sustrans NCN17 and Kent County Council's Pilgrims' Cycle Trail. The latter is promoted as a MTB route.
Mud.png
Challenging on a tourer :wink: .

That should have no place on Sustrans NCN IMO. The Sustrans network should be a sustainable transport network, as that's what Sustrans is an abbreviation for. It's including that sort of mudbath which brings Sustrans into disrepute among tourers - in other words, their name is mud, appropriately enough!

I'm fine with that sort of stuff being part of National Trails and maybe council trails, as long as it's clearly labelled as soft/rough not suitable for all cycles. I think it's a bit borderline as a touring club route, but is CUK still for touring? I just don't know what being a CUK route means any more.


I wonder what definition of suitable surface is used for these ways and how often they are actually ridden by those responsible for the routes being promoted to riders.

There’s always a case of you can’t please all the people all of the time so I don’t expect everything done by Cycling UK to cater for my particular needs and I also recognise that there are advantages in catering for the widest spread of cyclists that is practical. However for green roads and trails that folk are primarily using to get (or tour) from A to B (rather than a facility for just off road fun/activities) I’d have thought that a hard packed and generally flat surface suitable for 35mm (1&3/8”) wide tyres on 700c (say 26”) wheels was a reasonable minimum to expect. So essentially route surfaces should to be something that Rough Stuff riders of the past could have reasonably readily passed over - maybe wheeling their bike over a few yards here and there - whilst travelling on-route to other places. Mountain bikes should never be needed and, as ‘they say’ the clue for their intended (primary) use is in the name.

Edit. The Rough Stuff Fellowship was started in 1955 so the early photos must be late 1950’s and the 1960’s. In the post war period Raleigh were a major producer, they sold a lot of Hub Gear bikes like or similar to their Lenton model and I guess that it or copies are in most of the pictures. The Lenton ran on 26 x 1&1/4” steel wheels and that was a common size then. The derailleur was an emerging technology and filtering down to second hand bikes, the bikes I see in those old pictures had no front changer and a short one at the back; so a ‘standard’ size single at the front (46T ?) matched to an, at best, 14 to 28 at the back.

Anyway, the point being made is that ‘ordinary’ bikes that are well set up and used by enthusiasts are capable of off-road riding; we just need to learn from History and from what those before us managed.
Last edited by Carlton green on 3 Feb 2020, 2:37pm, edited 2 times in total.

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honesty
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby honesty » 27 Jan 2020, 1:37pm

mjr wrote:
Richard Fairhurst wrote:I have no problem with CUK developing off-road routes like King Alfred's Way - it looks like a superb ride and I'd love to try it one day. Full marks to Zulu Eleven and colleagues for their work on it.

Agree completely, by the way. I'm just mystified by comments that this sort of stuff is "aimed specifically at tourists" and suitable for "rural tourism". Tourers who stray onto these routes on loaded touring bikes may start cursing CUK like they do Sustrans and that's probably not good for anyone.


There's a possibility that the definition of touring you are thinking of may be too limited, you see touring and tourists as specifically using "touring" bikes. Cyclists will tour on off road machines. I personally am looking at getting a touring bike like the Genesis vagabond specifically to do such rides as these, and I think it's good that we are developing long distance routes like this. My concern, like Richards, is this is going to impact the rural routes and they are going to get pushed out of the back lanes. This is not a negative of this route though.

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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby andrew_s » 27 Jan 2020, 2:23pm

Rough Stuff riders of the past could be an intrepid lot - I've seen photos of bikes being passed up the scramble at the top end of Striding Edge, for example. Similarly, "maybe wheeling their bike over a few yards here and there" could get extended to several miles. Being prepared to hike-a-bike over the top allows quite a number of interesting routes that join dead end tracks up opposing valleys. Braemar to Blair Atholl or Braemar to Tomintoul come to mind.

I'm all for these new off road trails - they are just what I've been doing occasionally over the past 8 or 10 years, on a touring bike with 35-37 tyres (Disc Trucker currently). I wouldn't take a full set of 4 panniers, but I doubt there's much that would be a problem even for sections of several days, if you pack light (Camper Longflap and handlebar bag for those that don't appreciate "bikepacking" bags, like me) and don't mind possibly taking an hour or two to deal with a difficult section.


Next summer's tentative plan is to start filling in the parts of the GNT I've not done before (Loch Glascarnoch to Kinloch Laggan, in the first instance), maybe carry on southwards if I train it to Inverness rather than taking a car and dumping it for a couple of weeks

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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mjr » 27 Jan 2020, 5:36pm

honesty wrote:
mjr wrote:
Richard Fairhurst wrote:I have no problem with CUK developing off-road routes like King Alfred's Way - it looks like a superb ride and I'd love to try it one day. Full marks to Zulu Eleven and colleagues for their work on it.

Agree completely, by the way. I'm just mystified by comments that this sort of stuff is "aimed specifically at tourists" and suitable for "rural tourism". Tourers who stray onto these routes on loaded touring bikes may start cursing CUK like they do Sustrans and that's probably not good for anyone.


There's a possibility that the definition of touring you are thinking of may be too limited, you see touring and tourists as specifically using "touring" bikes. Cyclists will tour on off road machines. I personally am looking at getting a touring bike like the Genesis vagabond specifically to do such rides as these, and I think it's good that we are developing long distance routes like this.

I don't think I'm the one with a limited definition of touring - I know only too well that people tour on everything from road bikes to fat bikes, passing through hybrids, tourers, roadsters, gravel, cross, MTB and more along the way. I think it's the people who are promoting these MTB routes as if they are touring routes who have the narrower definition: they seem to be saying that UK cycle tourers now must be bikepackers with gravel bikes or rougher, or not use these so-called touring routes. Doing stuff like posting about this route under "Touring & Expedition" instead of "Off-road Riding" is mismarketing at best.

My concern, like Richards, is this is going to impact the rural routes and they are going to get pushed out of the back lanes. This is not a negative of this route though.

How can it have that impact and not be a negative?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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honesty
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby honesty » 27 Jan 2020, 6:26pm

mjr wrote:I don't think I'm the one with a limited definition of touring - I know only too well that people tour on everything from road bikes to fat bikes, passing through hybrids, tourers, roadsters, gravel, cross, MTB and more along the way. I think it's the people who are promoting these MTB routes as if they are touring routes who have the narrower definition: they seem to be saying that UK cycle tourers now must be bikepackers with gravel bikes or rougher, or not use these so-called touring routes. Doing stuff like posting about this route under "Touring & Expedition" instead of "Off-road Riding" is mismarketing at best.


I don’t agree. Not every route has to available for every touring bike and this one is for off road touring. The same as the South Downs Way. You’re the one labelling then as “these MTB routes” and being rather derogatory “as if they are touring routes”. They are touring routes. Off road ones. No one is limiting the broad definition of tourers other than you trying to force those words into someone else’s mouth. I don’t know why either.

How can it have that impact and not be a negative?

The cause of the negative impact is not the route per say but planners and people in positions of responsibility offloading cyclists onto off road cycling as it works and they don’t need to worry drivers then...

mattheus
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mattheus » 27 Jan 2020, 8:13pm

I've gone back through the info provided on this route, and I have to say it is pretty crystal-clear about the kind of surfaces (which of course vary a lot):
FIRSTLY, the WEBSITE:

King Alfred's Way: Cycling UK's newest long-distance trail
In summer 2019 Cycling UK launched the Great North Trail, an 800-mile off-road adventure route from the Peak District to the north coast of Scotland. It’s an epic route in itself, but the Great North Trail was only the first step in a wider network of off-road trails. Cycling UK campaigns officer Sophie Gordon gives us a taste of what's coming next.
This summer Cycling UK will launch its newest long-distance off-road trail, a 220-mile loop around the heart of historic Wessex.

King Alfred’s Way will transport riders through 5,000 years of history, taking in Stonehenge, Avebury stone circle, Iron Age hill forts, Farnham Castle, and Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals.

The name of the trail is inspired by Alfred the Great, who ruled the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex. The trail starts and ends at King Alfred’s statue in Winchester, where he is buried.

Using parts of the Ridgeway and South Downs Way, the trail is ideal for gravel bikes and could be ridden over a few days as a bikepacking trip.

[my bold]

Then there are Mr Zulu's posts which he kindly made to give us something to ... discuss:
Zulu Eleven wrote:If it helps we’re being absolutely clear that the ‘off-road’ aspect of our work and focus of these routes is, like the Great North Trail, aimed at rough-stuff & MTB, both in the connections with rural tourism & reconnects people with nature of landscape. So predominantly this is on unsurfaced routes. As a general rule there’s nothing on this route that would be unachievable on a gravel or cross bike, though seasonal differences may well make an MTB the most viable option in places.
<snip>
There’s no doubt that many will have completed the ridgeway & similar routes on a touring bike, buts its clearly in Rough-Stuff-Fellowship territory, so I think it would be improper to ‘promote’ the route for such. .

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mjr
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Re: King Alfred's Way

Postby mjr » 27 Jan 2020, 9:31pm

Exactly! Zulu says they're MTB routes but so some here want to portray me as a fascist for calling them so. Label them "off-road touring" if you must but I think bikepacking routes may be clearer. Saying they're for tourists without qualifying that will cause much disappointment.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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