Welcome to The South Downs Social
Back when we started Handmade Cyclist some ten years ago I had a little secret dream, a picture in my head: a really cool space where we could bring our fledgling brand to life.
A mix of your best-ever bike cafe and post-ride hangout, with amazing coffee, gorgeous food and really cool, interesting, hard to find cycling products: the finest apparel, cool tees, great art. The sort of stuff that would make your ride buddies say 'where'd you get that?'.
We'd show all the big races and put on talks, discussions and events. And upstairs would be an office where I could sit and design new art and goods (all with one eye on the Tour).
A space that for riders and non riders alike feels like a home from home.
Well, it's happening.
Introducing The South Downs Social. Our new home in the heart of Winchester, right near the start and finish of the King Alfred's Way and the South Downs Way, nestled on the edge of the South Downs National Park. There's great riding here: road, gravel, MTB.
We want to create a space that's right at the heart of the local cycling community, a place to come together. We'll be showing every major race on the big screen, hosting cycling talks and events, organising rides. We'll have secure bike parking inside the space, downloadable routes hand-picked by the most knowledgeable local riders and a wall of fame for every customer who's completed the King Alfred's Way or South Downs Way. And we're working flat out to make the space feel like the sort of place you've always wanted to hang out in, but never quite found.
We're calling our approach 'pop-up to permanent': this side of Christmas there'll be a few rough edges (and paper cups), but we're in this for the long haul and we'll close briefly in January to fine tune the gearing before roaring back to the front.
The countdown is on. We've got less than two weeks to transform this space before we open the doors on Friday 3rd December.
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The South Downs Social will be at 3-4 Kings Walk, Middle Brook Street, Winchester SO23 8AF.
Come and see us. We'd love to chat bikes with you.
Founder, The Handmade Cyclist