Organised events: during the summer there are several large events organised, endurance runs and charity walks for example. When planning your trip it is best to avoid the events as large groups on the path tend to hold you up.
Timings: if you are attempting to ride the South Downs Way over 2 days or less you need to be strict with time keeping as regular stops can add hours to each day. The larger the group the more frequent and longer the stops become. Use a stop watch to limit breaks. For example, stop every hour on the hour for no more than 5 minutes.
Breakfast: for cyclists riding against the clock, check with you accommodation provider the times of breakfast as a late start can prevent you finishing the ride.
Spare gear: there are few bicycle shops near the trail so take spares with you during the day and pay for your bags, spare tyres, repair tools and even a spare bike to be moved by us. Having the parts and equipment on hand may be the difference between finishing the trail or not.
Punctures: the flinty sections around the Hampshire / Sussex border often cause punctures although they can of course occur anywhere along the uneven bridleway. Consider using gel in your tyres and / or lining the tyres with puncture resistant tape. Better still, use the expensive puncture resistant tyres.
Travel light: cycle with as little extra weight on you as possible. The trail is really not suitable for cycling with panniers so either carry a tiny backpack or use a small handlebar bag or saddlebag that hug the bike's frame.
Off-road distances: cycling off-road in the South Downs is a challenge. In dry conditions the effort required to cover a distance is similar to double that on road. For example, cycling 25 miles along the South Downs Way is similar to riding 50 miles on road. In wet conditions it is closer to three or four times more strenuous.