100 cycling climbs blog

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Digital postcards from the road

May 1, 2017

Who in their right mind would stand on an exposed hill, in biting wind, in thin Lycra, for over three hours. A cycling fan, that’s who. Imagine 90,000 football fans filling Wembley to sit looking at the pitch for three hours only for both teams to simply run from one side to the other then disappear, game over. People would think they were insane. Why? They would ask, but us cycling fans do it. We are happy spend a whole day in the high mountains staring down the valley, waiting for a fleeting moment of action, a chance to interact with our heroes, to share the same space with them for the briefest of moments. And then, once they flash past, like the life of the Mayfly, it’s over. All the planning, the endeavour to climb the hill, the patience of the wait, all for the briefest burst of excitement, it seems insane but we love it. You see the wait only amplifies the intensity of the action, without the wait I don’t think the effect could ever be the same.

So here I find myself on the la...

April 21, 2017

You’re right Dorothy, these are proper cobbles, these are Yorkshire cobbles, and at last we’re going to see some included on the route of the Tour de Yorkshire. As soon as the race stages were announced I scanned their profiles, looking for climbs with the precision of a doctor scanning an ECG printout. Every peak was analysed, every bump dissected, firstly I was looking for vicious gradients, but more importantly I was searching for cobbles. After waiting patiently for three years I’ve finally got some, and there are non better than those of the mighty Shibden Wall. A fearsome, legendary road, climb number 40 in 100 Greatest Cycling climbs, this should and hopefully will blow the race to pieces providing an awesome spectacle for the waiting fans. It’s not the first time racing has graced this road and much of its fame is due to its inclusion in the 1988 Kelloggs Tour of Britain. (There’s some rather fuzzy footage on Youtube if you want to have a look, see link below). Unfortunately du...

April 8, 2017

Having Ridden all the climbs from my first book well before the birth of Strava, and now I’ve released my App, I’m keen revisit them so I too can one day have a score of 100 on my home screen. So whenever an opportunity arises, where ever I am I try and squeeze one in, and a couple of weeks ago, whilst doing a recky for the Magnificent Seven (see previous post) I added a few kilometres to my loop to bag the evil Pea Royd Lane.

Having suffered up it in both the 2009 and 2014 National Hill climbs it’s left mental scars that may never heal. If racing it once wasn’t bad enough, going back a second time, well that was just madness but I just couldn’t resist the challenge of seeing how my 41 year old self would fair against my 36 year old self. I was clinging to the hope that with age comes experience and that somehow I’d ride it smarter, measure my effort better, pick a shorter line and cover the course in a quicker time. The thing is, unless you’re one of the elites who can smash it from...

March 25, 2017

Not wanting to sound like too much of a cliché, but I just LOVE Flanders. I love the architecture, the beer, the cycling infrastructure and of course the cobbled climbs. So when an opportunity arose for a Belgian adventure, a trip to see the E3-Harelbeke World Tour race, I just had to go. It was to be a smash and grab trip, leave London at 7am and be back by 9pm, I wanted to see the action four times and also tick off six climbs on my Hellingen App (see below for more info).

It was a day that would require military grade planning, some serious graft on the bike and possibly a bit of luck. I got my luck right away on the approach to Oudenaarde where I was to drop the car, as my journey intertwined with the race route and I just squeezed infront of the race convoy. Car dumped, I was now on two wheels, (the only sensible option for chasing a bike race round the bergs of Flanders) and headed for climb number one on my itinerary, The Kattenberg. There was already a decent crowd, so as I ro...

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June 17, 2019

June 2, 2019

January 30, 2019

January 22, 2019

May 18, 2018

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Britain's Greatest

Cycling Climbs BOX SET

Comprising a total of 545 ascents from the tip of Cornwall all the way up to the highlands of Scotland, the eight region-specific volumes of Britain’s Greatest Cycling Climbs contain the most comprehensive documentation of Britain’s hills ever compiled for road cyclists.

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