Clearly the weather will be the main dictator around clothing choice, but you should have a lightweight waterproof with you if out for more than an hour. As with any cycling, it all comes down to personal choice, but we would recommend as a minimum:
Clip in cycling shoes/pedals are ideal as the ground can be pretty lumpy and easily bounce your feet off the pedals
Some sort of Chamois cream applied before each day’s riding is always a helpful aid!
Clothing which you can layer and remove easily is valuable, as the climbs can warm you up in almost any weather, but downhill and along the more elevated sections you can quickly cool down. Equally, stopping for any minor equipment failures can lead you to cool down quickly, so a wind-proof and warmer layer is essential on anything but the warmest of days.
A helmet is a must, and a visor on the helmet can also keep the sun off your face.
It’s about personal choice, but some sort of glasses are helpful to avoid stones etc flicking in your eyes
Cycling gloves are also essential – helping to protect your hands should you come off and also reducing calluses and uncomfortable blisters on longer rides.
We would recommend a small rucksack with a camel pack, as water stops are relatively infrequent and it is useful to be able to carry everything you need
A multitool, spare inner tube(s), puncture repair patches, a small hand pump, energy drinks, a frame bag, chain links and some sort of gps are all worth considering adding to your checklist too. We would also recommend a few CO2 cartridges and a C)2 pump for quick re-inflation!
We would also recommend a spare tyre and a track pump in your overnight bags along with some spare CO2 canisters. The other key item is a bike lock, as not all accommodation has under-cover fully secured bike storage although we generally work with suppliers who have some form of bike storage
As with any walking, it often comes down to personal choice, but as a minimum, we would recommend:
Strong walking shoes or boots – there are a lot of areas with loose chalk and flint and, if you have boots, it is worth wearing them to protect your ankles from trips. Make sure you have worn your footwear in before you come and start any long walks on the South Downs Way.
Clearly the weather will be the main dictator around clothing choice, but you should have a lightweight waterproof with you, a sun/rain hat, walking poles, non-chafing underwear, a wicking/breathable top and sunglasses.
We would highly recommend avoiding jeans or other cotton materials which can get heavy when wet and take some time to dry out. We would also avoid lightweight trainers unless you are just going out for a short stroll for an hour or two.
Taking water bottles or a camel pack is essential – there are some taps along the route, which are marked, but carrying plenty of water is essential as there is a lot of exertion required to walk or cycle the South Downs Way