The first ever Vélo South takes place on Sunday, September 23 and will see 15,000 cyclists will pedal their way through the county.
Participants will wind 100 miles through the West Sussex countryside, passing Chichester and Horsham, as well as the magnificent rolling hills that are the South Downs National Park.
With around 1,700 metres of climbing, the route is challenging but very rewarding. With highlights including the start and finish lines at Goodwood Motor Circuit, panoramic views of Harting Down and the spectacular Lordington Lavender.
Riders will set off in waves with the first setting off at 7am and the last at 8.25am.
Where is the route?
Below, the organisers explain the route the cyclists will be taking:
Starting on the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit, our 100-mile fully closed-road route will take 15,000 riders on a breath-taking journey through West Sussex.
Featuring rolling countryside, panoramic views, picturesque villages and iconic climbs, the route showcases the very best of this stunning part of the country.
Upon being treated to a grandstand finish on the hallowed Tarmac of Goodwood Motor Circuit, riders will complete a celebratory lap of the track and enter the paddocks to collect their hard-earned medal before celebrating your magnificent achievement with family and friends.
To help bring the route to life, we’ve created an Interactive Route Map which riders can use to explore it in more detail.
Our elevation graph will help riders pinpoint where the challenging climbs are located so they can get an idea of how to pace themselves on the big day.
This route has been a while in the planning, in partnership with West Sussex county, district and borough councils, emergency services and transport operators. We’re extremely proud to be unveiling what we believe is a spectacular 100-mile route that showcases the beautiful county of West Sussex.
Upon crossing the start line on Goodwood Motor Circuit, riders will roll through the historic Goodwood Estate in a neutralised start, ensuring a safe and relaxed passage on to the official start of the route. Upon exiting Goodwood Estate via Claypit Lane and crossing the timing mats, riders will soon be on the A285 – a flat, wide road that will enable them to get in a group and find a comfortable pace as they settle into the ride.
Featuring sweeping views of the Sussex Weald at the top of Duncton Hill Viewpoint, the first 10 miles will fly by as riders make their way towards the picturesque market town of Petworth, home of Petworth House. From here, riders will head into the historic village of Pulborough before exiting via Stane Street – a famously straight Roman Road – as they approach the hamlet of Adversane. This is the location of our first Rider Pit Stop, providing riders with an opportunity to have a breather, re-hydrate and stock up on some energy products.
As riders head towards the end of the first 25 miles, they will leave the South Downs National Park and begin heading deep into quintessential West Sussex countryside.
The next 25 miles of the route will take riders through the flattest section of the course, but it’s not all plain sailing! Riders will need to prepare for a lumpy section as they exit Copsale and head towards Horsham just before mile 40. With the route passing through many villages such as Ashington, Wiston and Partridge Green, riders will begin to get a taste of the spectacular countryside that characterises so much of the route.
The second Rider Pit Stop is located in the most easterly section of the route near Stan’s Bike Shack in Partridge Green – a must-visit coffee and cake stop for those training rides. As riders exit the Rider Pit Stop they will begin hugging the southerly outer skirts of Horsham town and before long, they will find themselves heading west up and over the A24 via South Street and into Southwater.
The third Rider Pit Stop is a welcome reprieve nestled quietly in the heart of the route just before Five Oaks. Upon departure, riders will once again join Stane Street and enjoy the quick, straight road towards the River Arun crossing and the A281.
Despite the absence of any major climbs, the northerly third quarter of the route is characterised by undulating country roads as riders re-enter the South Downs National Park between Plaistow and Fisherstreet. With the legs starting to feel the exertions of the first 50 miles, this section offers riders an opportunity to lock into a manageable pace and tick off the miles as they appreciate the beautiful scenery that surrounds them.
The highlight is undoubtedly the Wey and Arun Junction Canal and the Loxwood Canal Centre which is restoring London’s lost route to the sea. The route’s undulations become increasingly noticeable between miles 65 – 75, which luckily for riders is just before the penultimate Rider Pit Stop of the day. Make sure you take a breather, hydrate and take on board some calories as the toughest section of the route awaits…
The final quarter of the ride is as beautiful as it is challenging, so there will be mixed emotions as riders pedal their way to the finish. With two significant climbs to tackle – one of which runs parallel with the legendary Rogate Downhill Mountain Bike course - the elevation soon kicks in as riders approach the infamous Coombe Hill. With an ascent that will take you up to 110m of elevation over approximately two miles, this climb certainly packs a punch.
When riders reach the top they will be rewarded with far reaching views of the South Downs National Park before rolling into the fifth and final Rider Pit Stop to prepare them for Harting Hill – the toughest climb of the day and our King & Queen of the Mountain Challenge. Located at mile 85 and with an average gradient of 6.7% (up to 18.3% at its steepest), Harting Hill is a climb that will require riders to dig deep.
With the hard work out of the way, riders can look forward to an enjoyable descent back down the hill side where they’ll pass the National Trust’s Uppark House and Gardens and the Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve. Before long, they will be crossing the iconic finish line on Goodwood Motor Circuit where following a lap of the circuit, their hard-earned medal will await!
Can I still take part?
General entries may have sold out in just a few days, but there are reserved places for West Sussex residents to take part. All abilities are welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join 15,000 riders on the start line.
Where can I watch the event?
The event village at Goodwood Motor Circuit will open from 10.30am for spectators to welcome riders back, and there are other viewing locations all around the course.
BARNS GREEN – The Queens Head (11am - 10pm)
The Queens Head is putting on a 100-mile static bike challenge, in aid of Velo South partner charity Alzheimers UK! Four teams will be taking on the 100 mile challenge on exercise bikes whilst the Velo South riders are out on the route. Expect music, pies, and flowing drinks throughout the day!
EAST ASHLING – Horse and Groom Inn (midday to 7pm)
It is hosting a breakfast of coffee and bacon sandwiches from 11am to cheer on the first riders, and a full BBQ for lunch. All are welcome to grab a bite or stay and cheer as riders head for the finish!
EAST ASHLING – SANDY LANE
East Ashling Residents Association is putting on a village lunch in partnership with Velo South, including activities and games for children. This is a relaxed bring and share BBQ lunch to enjoy with neighbours, and the village will be cheering on the riders from the top of Sandy Lane. So bring down a dish and enjoy the spectacle!
FERNHURST – The Red Lion (all day)
Fernhurst is not only the location of one of a rider pit stops but will also see The Red Lion putting on live music, and a BBQ and hog roast in their pub garden right on the route!
FUNTINGTON – THE FOX & HOUNDS (all day)
The Fox & Hounds will be hosting a cheer station to give you a front row seat to support the riders on the home straight! With a full hog roast, music, and a well-stocked bar, the Fox & Hounds pub will be the perfect location to spectate for the day.
LAVANT – Village Green
Lavant village green is a great place to enjoy the event as the cyclists push towards the finish. So why not bring a picnic and your bikes and get ready to cheer!
LICKFOLD – Lickfold Inn (all day)
The Lickfold Inn is hosting a family friendly street party, including games, a clown, face painting, BBQ and ice-creams! The pub is perfectly positioned right on the cycling route and is inviting all spectators and locals to join them for a fun day whilst cheering on the riders taking on the 100 mile challenge, kicking off with spectator breakfasts in the morning.
PULBOROUGH – Harwoods of Sussex (8am - 10.30am)
The residents of Pulborough are invited for breakfast: free bacon butties for the first 300 residents to come and spectate! The Pulborough Community Partnership morning cheer point welcomes everyone to bring supportive flags and signs to give riders an early morning boost as they set out.
SOUTH HARTING – The White Hart (midday to 8pm)
The White Hart offer a warm welcome to locals, spectators and cyclists alike and is a great spot to enjoy refreshments before high fiving the cyclists who will be going right past the door!
SOUTHWATER – The Lintot (11am-3pm - although the Lintot will be open until 10pm)
The Lintot is offering a full BBQ, live music, and children’s entertainers to celebrate the day! With food serving from 11.30am this lively pub is right on the route. Whilst the cycling entertainment will end at 3pm.
THAKEHAM – JUNCTION OF COOLHAM / HARBOLETS / BILLINGSHURST ROAD (8am to 11.15am)
Thakeham Parish Council has organised the Thakeham cheer point right on the route. There will be free breakfast (first come first served), painted bikes, bunting, and lots of cheering!
Car parking on event day:
Parking will need to be suspended along the Vélo South route on the day. Keep an eye out for traffic enforcement notices which will go out two weeks before the event and find an alternative parking location for your vehicle.
Any vehicle left on the route or parked in a suspended parking bay may be removed from the route. Spectator parking is located in the North Car Park at Goodwood, costs £10 (cash on arrival) and is only available from 10.30am.
Road closures include:
A285, A283, parts of the A29, B2133, B2135, Maplehurst Road, Church Lane in Southwater, Plumtree Cross Lane Broadwater, A264, A281, B2133 through Loxwood and Plaistow, Highstead Lane Lurgashall, Fernhurst Road, Habin Hill and North Lane road from Rogate to South Harting, B2146, B2178
Local access plans:
A number of local access plans have been developed to increase the access options available to local communities throughout the day.
These can be viewed within the road closure section of the event website. Please head to www.velosouth.com to find out more.
Pedestrians and non-participating cyclists:
Access to walkers and cyclists is not restricted during the event, but members of the public are urged to listen to marshals, take extra care and remain vigilant. You can cross the route on foot and by bicycle, taking the same level of care as you would when crossing a road with motor vehicles on. Cases where non-participating cyclists wish to travel along part of the route, they should travel in the same direction as the cyclists for safety. Unregistered cyclists cannot join the event at any stage along the route.
All emergency services have been involved in the planning of this event from the beginning. Emergency access will be facilitated at all times throughout the road closures and will always be prioritised during the event. Members of the public should follow normal protocol if they need to report an emergency.
Famous faces to look out for:
Here are just some of the celebrities saddling up to ride 100 miles at Vélo South:
- Martin Johnson CBE – England Rugby World Cup winning captain in 2003.
- Sally Gunnell OBE – Former Olympic gold medal winning hurdler. Riding for Age UK West Sussex.
- Mark Hunter MBE – Gold medal winning rower at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Saturday’s event registration:
Participants will register at the Westgate Leisure Centre in Chichester during the day on Saturday, September 22. This will create additional traffic in and around Chichester.
For more information, visit www.velosouth.com
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