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UK 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

UK 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs

Old 07-03-11, 05:40 PM
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UK 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs

Hi guys, I hope this is the right place in the forum to post this - it is kind of charity, but it is also road cycling really..

I thought I would just point your attention the way of my blog - I am trying to do all the climbs in Simon Warren's book 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in a year for charity. The blogpage is www.100hillsforgeorge.blogspot.com

I am trying to keep a video/garmin/photo record of the hills that I have done - the videoing is a bit ropey and raw, but hopefully some of you may find it of interest?

I am crossing the hills off here as I do them: https://100hillsforgeorge.blogspot.co...rge-hills.html I am a bit behind on the blog, the uploading of video and photos seems to take longer than the hill climbs!

Your thoughts and tips would be welcomed - cheers. M

ps - if you haven't seen the book - this is it: https://www.amazon.co.uk/100-Greatest.../dp/0711231206
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Old 07-03-11, 06:01 PM
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Great climbs in England?

wut
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Old 07-03-11, 06:19 PM
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Thanks for pointing this out, and thanks for the link to your blog. I'll probably have to get a copy of the book, as I want to do some riding in England at some point in the next few years. I'll be bookmarking your blog!
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Old 07-03-11, 06:23 PM
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The photos on your blog are bloody fantastic! I've taken the liberty of posting a few:







The English countryside is gorgeous.
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Old 07-03-11, 06:28 PM
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Thanks guys - one of the reasons for wanting to do this challenge was because I did an end to end (John O'Groats to Lands End) last year and saw some incredible scenery. This challenge takes me all over Britain - from Scotland down to Cornwall and whilst Britain doesn't have the big mountain ranges of the US or the Alps/Pyrenees, it does have some steep, sharp climbs!

Hope you enjoy them - cheers

M
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Old 07-03-11, 06:29 PM
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Those are great pictures.
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Old 07-03-11, 07:07 PM
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This is an ambitious project. I wish someone would do it in this region.
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Old 07-03-11, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mroli
Thanks guys - one of the reasons for wanting to do this challenge was because I did an end to end (John O'Groats to Lands End) last year and saw some incredible scenery. This challenge takes me all over Britain - from Scotland down to Cornwall and whilst Britain doesn't have the big mountain ranges of the US or the Alps/Pyrenees, it does have some steep, sharp climbs!

Hope you enjoy them - cheers

M
It certainly does!! Do you get into Wales too?
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Old 07-04-11, 02:25 AM
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Machka - I do go into Wales indeed - I have done the "Southern" Wales rides - we took some holiday down there and it was some of the nicest cycling I have ever done - quiet roads and beautiful scenery - the Devil's Staircase in particular stood out as being awesome.

"North" Wales to come and there are a couple of real stinkers in there! There are also a few rides in Scotland - but I think you could probably do a book on Scotland alone!
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Old 07-04-11, 03:44 AM
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Back in 2003, a friend and I spent 6 days cycling in Wales. On Day 2 of the tour we took on Long Mynd from Church Stretton, by way of Asherton Bank. And on Day 4 we tackled Gospel Pass from Hay-on-Wye. Both are apparently 25% grades.

I enjoyed cycling there ... as you say, "quiet roads and beautiful scenery".

https://www.machka.net/pbp/post.htm
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Old 07-04-11, 03:49 AM
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The LongMynd is in the book - https://100hillsforgeorge.blogspot.co...ton-22411.html and was the 3rd climb I did. I have done it from the "other" side as part of a JOGLE (over 100 miles a day for 9 days) - only 6 out of 300+ riders got up it without walking - it was a beast!
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Old 07-04-11, 04:13 AM
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Well, that makes me feel better about walking up!!
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Old 07-04-11, 10:16 AM
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@Machka - just read your diary and loaded up like you were, you wouldn't have standed a chance!

I'm not surprised that you overheated your rims on the descent - its pretty hairy!
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Old 07-05-11, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Vol
Great climbs in England?

wut
  1. The UK isn't just England - that's like saying that California is the USA! Many of those great UK climbs will be in Scotland and Wales.
  2. I think you might be making the stereotypical American mistake of assuming that size = greatness!
  3. True, we don't have huge mountains (the highest mountain in the UK is Ben Nevis at 1,344 m, 4,409 and it doesn't have a road over it), but some of the climbs we do have are stupendously steep and fabulously lovely.

    20th Century US road planner: "How can we build a road that a 30 ton truck can get up?" (Answer: Long meandering switchbacks.)

    1st Century British road planner (some Roman dude): "How can we build a road that 100 soldiers in leather skirts can run up, with no hiding places for the woad-covered natives to ambush us from?" (Answer: Run it straight up over the hill even if it means it is at 25-30%.)

Ask any US cyclist who has cycled in North Wales, the Highlands of Scotland, the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District if there are any great climbs in the UK!

In fact, if you ever come on a cycling holiday to this neck of the woods (English counties West or North Yorkshire or Lancashire) and are happy to cycle at a very easy pace and just take in the scenery and history of the area, let me know and I'll show you round. I did a local 50 mile ride on Sunday which managed to cram 7,000 ft of great climbs in!

Last edited by ColinJ; 07-05-11 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 07-05-11, 04:14 AM
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I looked at that book but as a scotland based cyclist I found it really disappointing. He should have just called it "Best Climbs in England and Wales" (which would have been fine, and the book would have been none the weaker) as he has seemingly gone to great (admirable) lengths to document each and every climb in those countries but has treated Scotland as a side note. Scotland is of course smaller but to imagine that only 7 climbs in the UK's most mountainous and beautiful country are worthy of top 100 smacks of someone who hasn't spent nearly enough time in Scotland.

Still, back on topic, a fair old challenge and I wish you all the very best with it!
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Old 07-05-11, 04:27 AM
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@superjim - to be fair to Simon Warren, I think he freely has admitted that there aren't as many in Scotland as there could be. In writing the book he has tried to use the principles of "Geographical spread", hills used in races/hill climbs and a couple of his own personal favourites as well. I think you would be surprised by the amount of debate his not including of specific hills in Wales/England has prompted too!

Also - he is based in the South East, so does not have the knowledge that a Scottish cyclists would have. I totally take your point - there are hills in Scotland that make the Lake District look like mere molehills and I thought the areas that I went were incredibly beautiful. Perhaps you could do a guide to Scottish hills?!

Cheers - M

www.100hillsforgeorge.blogspot.com
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Old 07-05-11, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mroli
@superjim - to be fair to Simon Warren, I think he freely has admitted that there aren't as many in Scotland as there could be. In writing the book he has tried to use the principles of "Geographical spread", hills used in races/hill climbs and a couple of his own personal favourites as well. I think you would be surprised by the amount of debate his not including of specific hills in Wales/England has prompted too!

Also - he is based in the South East, so does not have the knowledge that a Scottish cyclists would have. I totally take your point - there are hills in Scotland that make the Lake District look like mere molehills and I thought the areas that I went were incredibly beautiful. Perhaps you could do a guide to Scottish hills?!

Cheers - M

www.100hillsforgeorge.blogspot.com
I should have said that my point was based solely on looking at the list on the amazon preview, I haven't read the actual book so wasn't aware of all determining factors in selecting the 100, just seemed odd that only a handful of climbs in Scotland made the list! Perhaps he can do an addendum!
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Old 07-05-11, 06:48 AM
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This reminds me of that pamphlet on Jewish Sports Legends.
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Old 07-05-11, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ColinJ
In fact, if you ever come on a cycling holiday to this neck of the woods (English counties West or North Yorkshire or Lancashire) and are happy to cycle at a very easy pace and just take in the scenery and history of the area, let me know and I'll show you round.
I'm sure that would be quite interesting. Unfortunately, I don't expect it will be any time soon.
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Old 07-05-11, 08:13 AM
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Thanks for the link and good luck with your quest, mroli - what a great way to try to make something positive out of a tragic situation, very humbling and inspirational.

As a Brit who only rediscovered cycling in my late 30's in the US, I'd love to come back and try my hand at some of these.
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Old 07-05-11, 08:41 AM
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The challenge of doing all 100 in a year would appear to be more logistical, than physical. You could 15 or so of those climbs and not have Day 1 of Everest Challenge.
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Old 07-05-11, 08:51 AM
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@merlinextraligh - yes, I agree, the logistical side of getting myself around the country (or countries!) to do all of these is the hard thing - if they were all there in one go, it might not be so hard. I would suggest though that some of these hills in themselves are pretty severe challenges - the gradients going up to 30% are pretty steep - and in order to do them I am cycling between a lot of them as well. Have a look at the Fred Whitton Challenge which is a sportive that takes in a number of these climbs.

Also, if you look at Constitution Hill on the blog, there is a link there to last years ToB which went up it in the rain and saw some riders get off and walk. This included riders from pro-teams like HTC, Garmin Cervelo and Sky.

@superjim - last time I spoke to the author, he was going up to Scotland on holiday to research some more climbs!
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Old 07-05-11, 02:14 PM
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Love the videos and photos!

I am a big fan of raw video. I feel it is the best way to document a ride, especially if you're doing a tough climb. I saw someone else's Hardknott Pass video from the Fred Whitton Challenge. It was raw like yours, and you really got a feel for how much he suffered on that climb. Same with your Hardknott Pass video.

I've been posting videos of all the hard and/or long climbs I've ridden here in Northern California. I also put a link to my Garmin data in the video description.

Here's an example of one of them. It is the hardest climb I've ever done, and rated the toughest climb in El Dorado County, CA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhq9SmyAaVQ
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Old 07-05-11, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ColinJ
  1. The UK isn't just England - that's like saying that California is the USA! Many of those great UK climbs will be in Scotland and Wales.
  2. I think you might be making the stereotypical American mistake of assuming that size = greatness!
  3. True, we don't have huge mountains (the highest mountain in the UK is Ben Nevis at 1,344 m, 4,409 and it doesn't have a road over it), but some of the climbs we do have are stupendously steep and fabulously lovely.

    20th Century US road planner: "How can we build a road that a 30 ton truck can get up?" (Answer: Long meandering switchbacks.)

    1st Century British road planner (some Roman dude): "How can we build a road that 100 soldiers in leather skirts can run up, with no hiding places for the woad-covered natives to ambush us from?" (Answer: Run it straight up over the hill even if it means it is at 25-30%.)

Ask any US cyclist who has cycled in North Wales, the Highlands of Scotland, the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District if there are any great climbs in the UK!

In fact, if you ever come on a cycling holiday to this neck of the woods (English counties West or North Yorkshire or Lancashire) and are happy to cycle at a very easy pace and just take in the scenery and history of the area, let me know and I'll show you round. I did a local 50 mile ride on Sunday which managed to cram 7,000 ft of great climbs in!
Very interesting and good to know.

I've never been to the UK but seen many pictures. Looks like a great place to ride a bicycle or motorcycle.
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Old 07-05-11, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad
This reminds me of that pamphlet on Jewish Sports Legends.
number one = rod carew?

later.
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