Multi-Day Trip Information and Preparation

Scroll down to your trip(s) for all the details you need:

  • Itineraries
  • Accomodation details
  • Car parking and bike storage

For these preparation tips use the blue or green buttons:

  • Tyre choice
  • Special tools and spares
  • Fuelling and comfort
South Downs Way

Itinerary

Timings:

  • Evening meals: all restaurant timings will be confirmed during the week leading up to the trip by either email or in the group WhatsApp
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and start/finish: these are estimated and could change due to factors that could impact the day-to-day itinerary e.g. weather, overall group pace, mechanicals, traffic etc…

Thursday Evening

  • Arrive from 3 pm at the B&B and settle in and enjoy the stunning medieval town of Arundel
  • Meet and greet once everyone has arrived
  • Welcome dinner at The Swan
    • Please let me know if you are arriving after 8pm

Friday – #1 Ride Day – 38 miles (approx.)

  • Rise ‘n’ Shine, delicious brekkie cooked fresh by professional chef and B&B owner Lucie before loading the minibus ready to leave for 9 am (approx.)
  • Arrive at Winchester for 10-10.30 am (1hr 10 drive)
  • Group photo at the King Alfred statue (the start)
  • On bikes for no later than 11.30 am
  • Classic XC ride to finish at Cocking Farm with x1 mini-bus rendezvous after 13 miles
  • 30 minute drive back to Arundel to arrive back between 4-6 pm
  • Shower & relaxation time before a meal at La Campania

Saturday – #2 Ride Day – 30 miles (approx.)

  • Rise ‘n’ shine, brekkie and prepare to leave for 9.30 am (approx.)
  • 30 minutes back to Cocking Farm to start Day 2
  • More superb riding with x1 mini-bus rendezvous after 16 miles
  • Finish at Pyecombe (north of Brighton) between 3-5 pm
  • 35 minute drive back to Arundel
  • Evening meal at the Norfolk Arms Hotel and reflection on 2 days of the SDW!

Sunday – #3 Ride Day – 32 miles (approx.)

  • Rise ‘n’ shine, brekkie and prepare to leave for 9.30 am (approx.)
  • 35 minutes back to Pyecombe to start the final day!
  • The best day as the miles drop towards ‘zero’
  • Finish at Eastbourne between 3-5 pm
  • 1.5 hrs drive back to Arundel
  • Shower, then celebratory drinks and meal!
  • Drive home if you are not staying Sunday night

Monday Morning (if you are staying)

  • Rise ‘n’ shine, brekkie and leave when you are ready

Other Key Information:

  • Daily Lunches
    • There is a Co-Op 2 minutes walk from the B&B
    • Other bakeries, shops and cafes are available from Arundel for your daily ride food requirements
    • You can leave your food supplies in the minibus for when we rendezvous with it each day
  • Drinks
    • Please ensure you have enough water and or drinks supplies with you for each day
    • This can be stored in the mini-bus along with your other personal supplies and belongings
    • There are water taps on the South Downs Way – they are usually on but this is not guaranteed
  • Bike storage and charging
    • There are two lockable rooms to store your bikes at the hotel. Wall sockets for eBike charging are available in one of these rooms
    • This is done at your own risk and the Norfolk Arms nor Marmalade MTB take any responsibility for your personal belongings
  • Parking
    • There is limited off-street parking at the hotel, and this is first come first served – this is £6 per day and payable on arrival direct with the Norfolk Arms
    • Other on and off-street pay and display parking is available in the town, here are the closest:

Ride Format

Just like all Marmalade MTB rides this is not a training camp or a race. However, we appreciate that our miles goal per day as mentioned above, will mean we will need to do our best to maintain a pace that ensures we are back before it is dark and for dinner.
The mini-bus will rendezvous with us at one key road crossing each day and hopefully will not be used to collect riders who are clearly not going to make the ride!

Extra nights

If you wish to stay before or after your trip, please book direct with the Norfolk Arms Hotel.

Then send them an email to ensure you get the same room, subject to availability.
reservations@norfolkarmshotel.com | 01903 882101

Peak District

Itinerary

Timings:

  • Evening meals: all restaurant timings will be confirmed during the week leading up to the trip by either email or in the group WhatsApp
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and start/finish: these are estimated and could change due to factors that could impact the day-to-day itinerary e.g. weather, overall group pace, mechanicals, traffic etc…

Friday

  • Check-in is from 3 pm
  • B&B is Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
    • How Lane, Castleton, S33 8WJ
    • They have private onsite parking opposite the Inn entrance

Saturday

  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Ride = Jacobs Ladder
    • 38 kms / 24 miles
    • 1,287 meters / 4,222 ft of climbing
    • One of the all-time UK classic mountain bike rides that ticks all the boxes
      • Big technical climbs
      • Fast rolling bridleways
      • Flat out ear to ear grin inducing descents
      • Loose, rocky, steep, progressive remote and raw trails!
    • On bikes for no later than 10 am for a big day out on the Dark Peak
    • We will stop in the town of Hayfield at around 1 pm for a light lunch, we have a table reserved!
      • After Hayfield there is no option to stop for food or drink until we finish
    • You will need drink and food to last you for a full day as we are likely to be back around 5-6 pm (hopefully earlier)
  • Dinner at the 1530 restaurant along the road in the high street

Sunday

  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Checkout before 10.30 am
  • Ride = The Ladybower Classic
    • 38 kms / 24 miles (depending on start location)
    • 1,130 meters / 3,730 ft of climbing (depending on start location)
    • Another classic Dark Peak ride taking in amazing views of the reservoirs and simply amazing descents!
    • On bikes for no later than 10 am for a big day out on the Dark Peak
    • You will need food and drink to last you for about 4-5 hours
  • A late pub lunch will be an option at the end of this ride before we close the weekend and travel home separately

Car parking, bike storage and charging

  • Free off-street car parking is opposite our hotel – this is first come first served basis
  • Bike storage options*:
    1. The ground floor room with it’s own entrance will be used by the Marmalade guide and this will also be used for bike storage for guests without vehicle storage and for those who need to charge their eBikes, if your battery is not removable
    2. The majority leave their bikes inside their vehicles in the off-road car parking offered by the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. This area has CCTV and is opposite the accommodation

* Marmalade MTB & Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese take NO responsibility for the security of your personal belongings

Extra nights

If you wish to stay before or after your trip, please book direct with the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.

Then send them an email to ensure you get the same room, subject to availability.
info@cheshirecheeseinn.co.uk | 01433 620330

Tweed Valley

Itinerary

Timings:

  • Evening meals: all restaurant timings will be confirmed during the week leading up to the trip by either email or in the group WhatsApp
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and start/finish: these are estimated and could change due to factors that could impact the day-to-day itinerary e.g. weather, overall group pace, mechanicals, traffic etc…

Sunday Evening

  • Arrive from 3 pm at the Traquair Arms Hotel and settle in
  • Meet and greet once everyone has arrived
  • Welcome dinner at the Hotel
Monday – Glentress Warm Up & Coaching

Glentress is probably the most famous Trail centre in Scotland and is the main stay of the 7-Stanes which are among the best in the world. Day 1 is all about shaking off the journey and giving you the best warm up ahead of this trips epic days. The day will be super relaxed and chilled as we explore the serpentine singletrack and use our knowledge of the off-piste trails to cherry pick the best sections.

Upskill & Be Prepared!

During the day we will provide focused coaching to provide you with the perfect refresher and or skill set to maximise your enjoyment from the following days on the natural, steep, raw and remote trails across the amazing Tweed Valley.

 

Tuesday – The Big ‘Perfect MTB’ Day Out
Unbelievable! What we have planned here is potentially the greatest 50 km you are likely to ride on your bike. Liz’s local expertise and years of fine tuning this monster loop starts with a climb through Traquair Forest to Minch Moor and then across to the Three Brethren. All this before we visit Yair Forest and inject some simply awesome natural singletrack, ahead of our return to the hotel.
Wednesday – Innerleithen Exploro

Arguably known more for its downhill mountain biking heritage, Innerleithen is home to an impressive network of trails, from the red ‘xc’ loop to world class enduro trails and several downhill tracks. We will mix it up today, honing skills on trail centre features and exploring some of the flowiest off piste trails that are on offer, using our local knowledge to match trail selection to our rider group for maximum enjoyment.

Thursday – Golfie Goodness

Once again our local expert Liz will be unleashing another day jammed packed with classic Tweed Valley mountain biking. By the final day and with your new confidence and skillset that we have expertly increased over the first three days, you’ll be wanting to dip your toes into the more advanced trails on offer in the Tweed Valley. Therefore, today’s focus will be the steep enduro trails of Caberston Forest (a.k.a ‘The Golfie’). A truly unique day that will have you discovering what the ‘locals’ ride away from the little red arrows and what makes the Tweed Valley a venue of choice for events like the enduro world series.

 

Friday Morning (if you are staying)
  • Rise ‘n’ shine, brekkie and leave when you are ready

Ride from the door each day!

At the start and end of each day will take advantage of the valley cycle trails that connect all the towns and the main riding locations. This means we can ride each day from the door of our awesome central base at the Traquair Arms Hotel. These relatively flat gravel paths will provide the perfect warm up and down on each day.

On ride food!

Everyone is different and our choice for fuelling throughout each ride is very personal, therefore we highly recommend that you take with you the food you want each day. However, depending on the group dynamic, the weather and the daily progress, we can drop down and enjoy a lunch at the cafes across the valley. That just means another climb back up to continue the day’s riding.
But for Tuesday, on the Big Day Out, a packed lunch is essential!


Car parking, bike storage and charging

  • Free limited off-street car parking is provided at the hotel – this is first come first served basis
  • Local on street parking is also available
  • The hotel has a dedicated bike store with electrical sockets, that is shared with the rest of the hotel

* Marmalade MTB & the Traquair Arms Hotel take NO responsibility for the security of your personal belongings

Extra nights

If you wish to stay before or after your trip, please book direct with the Traquair Arms Hotel.

Then send them an email to ensure you get the same room, subject to availability.
info@traquairarmshotel.co.uk | 01896 830229

Lake District

Itinerary

Timings:

  • Evening meals: all restaurant timings will be confirmed during the week leading up to the trip by either email or in the group WhatsApp
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and start/finish: these are estimated and could change due to factors that could impact the day-to-day itinerary e.g. weather, overall group pace, mechanicals, traffic etc…

Tuesday

  • Check-in is from 3 pm
  • B&B is The Queens Head
    • Main St, Hawkshead, Ambleside LA22 0NS
  • We have tables booked for the evening meal for the meet and greet

Wednesday

  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Ride = Grizedale and Claife Heights
    • 16 miles
    • 2,745 ft of climbing
    • One of the all-time UK classic mountain bike rides that ticks all the boxes
      • Jaw-dropping views
      • Fast rolling bridleways
      • Flat out ear to ear grin inducing descents
      • Loose, rocky, steep, progressive and raw trails!
    • We may stop in Satterthwaite of Far Sawrey at a pub or tea room for refreshments
    • You will need drink and food to last you for a full day as we are likely to be back around 5-6 pm (hopefully earlier)

Thursday

  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Ride = Loughrigg Terrace
    • 19 miles
    • 3,090 ft of climbing
    • Another classic Lake District ride taking in amazing views and awesome descents!
    • On bikes for no later than 10 am for another big day out
    • You will need food and drink to last you all day
  • Again there’s options on the route to pick up refreshments via minor detours

Friday

  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Checkout before 10.30 am
  • Ride = Old Man of Coniston
    • 12 miles
    • 3,105 ft of climbing
    • Another classic Lake District ride and the day we take on a big mountain pass!
    • After checkout if you are not staying, we will drive the short distance (16 minutes) to Torver
    • You will need food and drink to last you the duration of the ride
  • Again there’s options on the route to pick up refreshments via minor detours
  • Once the ride is finished back at Torver, the trip has finished and you can return to Hawkshead or travel home – However, there is a great pub in Torver, and we are likely to wrap up with a late pub lunch here!

Car parking, bike storage and charging

  • They have parking in the main village car park
    • Please park here, submit your registration at check-in and they will issue you with a permit for the length of our stay
  • We have use of the downstairs reception room to store and charge bikes – this part of the hotel will be for the sole use of Marmalade MTB for the duration of the trip

* Marmalade MTB & The Queens Head take NO responsibility for the security of your personal belongings

Extra nights

If you wish to stay before or after your trip, please book direct with the Queens Head.

Then send them an email to ensure you get the same room, subject to availability.
info@queensheadhawkshead.co.uk | 015394 36271

South Wales

Itinerary

Timings:

  • Evening meals: all restaurant timings will be confirmed during the week leading up to the trip by either email or in the group WhatsApp
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and start/finish: these are estimated and could change due to factors that could impact the day-to-day itinerary e.g. weather, overall group pace, mechanicals, traffic etc…
Friday
  • Check-in is from 4 pm
  • B&B is at the Afan Lodge
    • Afan Road, Duffryn Rhondda, SA13 3ES
  • We have a table booked at the Afan Lodge for our meet and greet meal
Saturday
  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Ride = W2 trail at Afan Trail Centre
    • 44 kms / 27 miles
    • 975 meters / 3,198 ft of climbing
    • One of the all-time UK classic trail centres that ticks all the boxes
      • Big technical climbs
      • Mega views
      • World class sections of serpentine singletrack
    • On bikes for around 10 am for a big day out
    • We will stop at Glyncorrwg Cafe at around 1 pm for lunch
      • After this cafe there is no option to stop for food or drink until we finish
    • You will need ride snacks and drink to last you for a full day as we are likely to be back around 5-6 pm (hopefully earlier). Although you can refill your drink supplies at Glyncorrwg
  • Dinner is booked back at Afan Lodge
Sunday
  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Checkout around 9.30 am
  • We will drive 1 hr & 15 minutes and park our vehicles in the paid public car parking at the bike hub in Talybont-un-Usk
  • Ride = The Gap
    • 34 kms / 21 miles
    • 770 meters / 2,460 ft of climbing
    • A true all weather UK classic in the depths of the Brecon Beacons, taking in amazing views of the reservoirs and simply amazing descents!
    • You will need food and drink to last you for about 3-4 hours including a packed lunch. This can be purchased from the Talybont village stores
  • A late pub lunch will be an option at the end of this ride before we close the weekend and travel home separately

Car parking, bike storage and charging

  • There is free on-site parking at Afan Lodge
  • There is dedicated bike storage and charging at the Lodge which is shared with the rest of the lodge

* Marmalade MTB & the Afan Lodge take NO responsibility for the security of your personal belongings

Extra nights

If you wish to stay before or after your trip, please book direct with the Afan Lodge.

Do not forget we will be in the Brecon Beacons on Sunday, 1 hour 15 minutes east of Afan Lodge.

Then send them an email to ensure you get the same room, subject to availability.
stay@afanlodge.wales | 01639 852500

Dartmoor, Exmoor & Quantocks

Itinerary

Timings:

  • Evening meals: all restaurant timings will be confirmed during the week leading up to the trip by either email or in the group WhatsApp
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and start/finish: these are estimated and could change due to factors that could impact the day-to-day itinerary e.g. weather, overall group pace, mechanicals, traffic etc…
  • Daily lunches for Day 1 and 3 can be arranged by the hotels
Friday
  • Check-in is from 3 pm
  • B&B is The Moorland Hotel (2 nights)
    • Haytor, Bovey Tracey TQ13 9XT
  • We have a table booked at the hotel for our meet and greet meal
Saturday – Dartmoor
  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Ride:
    • 26 mi | 42 km
    • 4,145 ft | 1,265 m of climbing
    • On bikes for around 10 am for a big day out
    • You will need food and drink to last you all day including a packed lunch
  • Dinner is booked back at Moorland
Sunday – Exmoor
  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Checkout around 9.30 am
  • We will drive 1 hr & 15 minutes and park our vehicles in the Porlock Weir public car park (1 night)
  • Have lunch at our next hotel, then head out on bikes
  • Ride:
    • 19 mi | 31 km
    • 2,950 ft | 895 m of climbing
    • You will need food and drink to last you all day including a packed lunch
  • Finish ride back at our new hotel for a harbourside drink, before checking in
  • Dinner is booked at the Porlock Weir hotel
Monday – Quantocks
  • Breakfast at 8.30 am
  • Checkout around 9.30 am
  • We will drive 45 minutes and park our vehicles ready for the final ride (destination TBC)
  • Ride:
    • 21 mi | 34 km
    • 3,750 ft | 1,145 m of climbing
    • You will need food and drink to last you all day including a packed lunch
  • Finish ride back at our vehicles
  • A late pub lunch is possible at a local pub before we travel home

Car parking, bike storage and charging

  • There is free on-site parking at the Moorland
  • Car parking at the Porlock Weir is free via a permit for the public car park in front of the hotel
  • Both hotels will provide lockable rooms for the sole purpose of our group

* Marmalade MTB, The Moorland and the Porlock Weir hotels take NO responsibility for the security of your personal belongings

Extra nights

If you wish to stay before or after your trip, please book direct with the:

Then send them an email to ensure you get the same room, subject to availability.

Eastern Downs Escape

Itinerary

Timings:

  • Evening meals: all restaurant timings will be confirmed during the week leading up to the trip by either email or in the group WhatsApp
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and start/finish: these are estimated and could change due to factors that could impact the day-to-day itinerary e.g. weather, overall group pace, mechanicals, traffic etc…
  • Daily lunches can be supplied by the Saltmarsh Cafe
Wednesday or Friday
  • Check-in is from 3 pm
  • Accomodation is The Saltmarsh Farmhouse (2 nights)
    • East Dean Rd, Seaford BN25 4AD
  • We have a table booked at the farmhouse for our meet and greet meal
Day 1 (Thurs or Sat)
  • Breakfast at 9.00 am
  • Ride:
    • 14 mi | 22 km
    • upto 1,800 ft | 550 m of climbing
    • Bire hirers to collect their bikes from Cuckmere Cycle Co. next door to the Saltmarsh
    • On bikes for around 10.30 am
    • You will need snacks and drinks during the ride
    • There will be scheduled mid-ride cafe stop for lunch
  • Dinner is booked back at the farmhouse
Day 2 – (Fri or Sun)
  • Breakfast at 9.00 am
  • Checkout after breakfast
  • Ride:
    • 20 mi | 32 km
    • upto 2,800 ft | 850 m of climbing
    • On bikes for around 10.30 am
    • You will need snacks and drinks during the ride
    • There will be scheduled mid-ride cafe stop for lunch
  • Finish ride back at the farmhouse with a drink before travelling home
  • Return your hire bike to Cuckmere Cycle Hire

Car parking, bike storage and charging

  • There is free on-site parking at the Saltmarsh Farmhouse
  • There is bike storage and charging on site

* Marmalade MTB and the Saltmarsh Farmhouse take NO responsibility for the security of your personal belongings

Extra nights

If you wish to stay before or after your trip, please book direct with the Saltmarsh.

Then send them an email to ensure you get the same room, subject to availability.
info@saltmarshfarmhouse.co.uk | 07932 686 121

Preparartion tips

Big country mountain biking and riding the South Downs Way is all about good preparation, a positive mindset and the all important dash of good luck. We’ve pulled together a list of important tips and recommendations to help us the riders and our bikes to be in the best shape to maximise our experience on the trips. These are as follows:

Mountain Bike:

  • Ensure your bike is fully serviced a few weeks before the trip and go out on at least two further preparation rides to shake down the serviced bike. This service should include:
    • New cables
    • Brake pads
    • Every nut and bolt checked and tightened to the correct torque
    • A thorough check of your suspension pivot bearings, tyres and wheels
  • Tyres are very important, they need to be in good condition. The terrain on our big country’ trips are predominantly very rocky and therefore strong rugged tyres are highly recommended
    • Beware of super lightweight tyres! Unless you are an amazingly smooth rider and have bucket loads of luck these will probably not last half a ride on our ‘big-country’ routes
    • For the South Downs Way (SDW)  and Eastern Downs Escape these are predominantly classic cross-country terrain, fast rolling tyres especially on the rear is highly recommended Beware of super lightweight tyres (sub 345 grams), these sound like a good idea but the sharp flint on certain sections of the SDW will most likely cause a lot of cuts and punctures
    • If you run tubeless please ensure your sealant levels are checked and topped up before the ride
    • From our experience we do not recommend slime filled inne-tubes and anti-puncture tyre liners

*Peak District | Tweed Valley | Lake District | South Wales | Dartmoor | Exmoor | Quantocks

  • spare rear mech hanger is essential for any trail pack. A small twig, stone or rock could flick up and bend or worst break your rear mech hanger. Within 5-10 minutes we can have you riding again providing you’ve stopped in time and your rear mech has not taken out your rear wheel. If no spare, we may be able to single-speed your bike or it’s a long long walk to the finish.
    • These can be sourced via the bike shop you purchased your bike from or online component suppliers such as Gear Mech Hanger who have the UKs most comprehensive range

An example rear mech hanger below:

Rear mech hanger

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essentials for your trail pack:

  • x2 inner tubes
  • Spare mech hanger (see above)
  • x2 spare brake pads
  • Spare power or quick link for your chain (8, 9, 10, 11 or 12 speed)
  • Spare layers and clothing for the forecasted weather
  • Sunscreen

The Rider:

    You are just as important as the bike! It is YOUR responsibility to be fit and well on the day to enjoy this amazing experience we deliver.  

    Here at Marmalade MTB we recognise that we are all individuals and therefore we are not going to encourage you or advise you to start taking up new fitness regimes weeks before a big event or tell you which if any supplements/nutrition to take. We hope this is something you have already explored and know what works for you.

    However here are our top tips we have found useful over the years from our own experiences:

    Keep the fuel going – water and food

    • Every 30 minutes to an hour as a rule of thumb
    • Beware of snacks high in sugar
    • Remember the importance of salty food to help avoid hyponatraemia. Not over drinking will also reduce this risk (do not drink excessively before, during or after) 
    • Do not try a new diet or different snacks before or on the big ride
    • Ensure you practise your fuelling during training rides
    • Big Country Trips (water)
    • There are very limited water taps and we recommend at least a 2 litre hydration pack for these trips
    • South Downs Way (water)
      • Bring enough and spares – you can always keep extra in the mini-bus to pick up at the rendezvous points
      • Water taps are available on the SDW route plus the mini-bus

    Comfort gives extra miles and smiles!

    • Has your training included consecutive days riding?
    • Comfortable bib shorts and chamois cream are recommended
    • Suncream and suitable layers for the weather that is forecast – UK weather especially in our national parks can be very unpredictable, even in summer
    • When riding take in the views, look around, change position frequently to keep the body moving to prevent stiffness and reduce the amount of aches and pain afterwards!
    • Get off the bike and have a stretch when there is a chance (gates, road crossings, mini-bus rendezvous etc…) – its amazing how much something so simple will help 
    • Ensure you feel relaxed and comfortable on the bike in your kit.  If you notice you are tense this can impact so many factors from breathing, finding you rhythm, restrict your movement, reduce the fun and impact on your bike handling
    • Break in any new clothing before the main event especially shoes and under layers  
    • Numb or tingling hands? You may need new grips and gloves plus your setup may need tweaking
    • Does your trail pack fit comfortably with EVERYTHING in it – having that tyre lever digging in your side so you can squeeze in your sandwiches WILL annoy you by mile 3!

    Personal protective equipment

    • Helmets are mandatory
    • Gloves and glasses are highly recommended
    • Knee and elbow protection is also highly recommended if you usually ride with these or are relatively new to this type of terrain

    Travel light, travel fast, travel far!

    • Ensure your trail pack just has the bare essentials
    • Remember an “emergency” pack of spares so you can pick it up from the minibus if needed
    • Layers are the only way to go!

    Look after yourself!

    • Remember if you are following a training plan or not ensure you have an easy recovery week before the big weekend
    • Look after yourself in the weeks coming up – if you have ‘flu, a cold, tummy bug wait until you have fully recovered until you start retraining.  Do not attempt to catch up on lost mileage or fitness as this may lead to further illness and risk of overtraining
    • Any Medical Problems ensure you discuss with a qualified health care professional

     

    Do you have a question about the trips?

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