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Verdict: 
Great little digest of UK climbs; every cycling home should have one
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Contact: 
www.franceslincoln.com
100 Greatest Cycling climbs by Simon Warren
9 10

This super little book gives you a heads up on some of the best climbing to be had in Great Britain. With detailed information on each ascent and an I-Spy style table at the back to check them all off, it's a book that's got a long shelf life.

The climbs are split into sections by area – curiously, there's no East Anglia section! – and for each climb you get a short write up, a little gradient graph with points of interest marked out, a factfile giving you location and stats, and a pic of the road snaking away into the distance.

Each climb also gets a rating out of 10. Obviously these are fairly subjective and no doubt have as much to do with the condition of the rider on the day as the ascent itself, but they're a fairly good indicator of what's in store. There's a good smattering of 10s, including the horrific schlep up to Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor and Hardknott and Wrynose passes in the Lake District. Bealach-na-Ba, the highest pass in the UK, gets an 11 for good measure.

The book isn't without its faults, the main complaint obviously being "what about [insert name of your favourite unmentioned climb here]?". When you've limited yourself to 100 climbs and you're looking to cover the country fairly there's plenty that miss out. We were surprised to see that the Gospel Pass near Abergavenny didn't make the grade, and nor did the climb to the Radar station on Lowther Hill in the Southern Uplands of Scotland which is, at 725 metres, the highest navigable road in the UK. Okay, the last bit is technically private, but we reckon it should still go in. In fact, Scotland is quite poorly represented relatively speaking, which might have more to do with the location of the author than the quality of the climbs...

Overall, though, it's a sterling effort and one made much better by the addition of the table for ticking off the climbs and recording your time. That simple addition makes the book much more than the interesting bathroom reading it could have otherwise been. You get something to aim for, as well as something to read.

Verdict

Great little digest of UK climbs; every cycling home should have one

road.cc test report

Make and model: Frances Lincoln 100 Greatest Cycling climbs by Simon Warren

Size tested: Paperback, 176pp

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 190cm  Weight: 96kg

I usually ride: whatever I\\\'m testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with Ultegra 6700

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

12 comments

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paslemeilleur [66 posts] 6 years ago
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The Hill, Abberley.
Asterton Bank.
Winwood Heath Road, Clent.

the last 8k of the western ascent of Mont du Chat.....

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Bigpikle [93 posts] 6 years ago
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great little book - sadly (or luckily depending on your point of view  3 ) there arent too many close to me!

The author is very clear its not about the 100 highest or steepest climbs, but its about the 100 climbs most associated with cycling in the UK historically - hillclimb events, races etc.

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stuke [335 posts] 6 years ago
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I agree with you on the Gospel Pass point Dave, especially if the book was '100 Greatest Cycling Descents'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVo6qz0R-bE  4 4

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amazon22 [261 posts] 6 years ago
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Great clip of a great descent - done it few times as its quite close to me. The upper part across the open hills is fantastic because you've got a long clear view for flat out speed - but wandering sheep can be a hazard - the lower part is steeper but hedges restrict the view and the odd lorry can block the way as this guy encountered. How come he was going so much faster than everyone else?

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dave atkinson [6258 posts] 6 years ago
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yeah, made me wish i was in that wales. although i am going there tomorrow. although not with my bike, sadly...

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stuke [335 posts] 6 years ago
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amazon22 wrote:

Great clip of a great descent - done it few times as its quite close to me. The upper part across the open hills is fantastic because you've got a long clear view for flat out speed - but wandering sheep can be a hazard - the lower part is steeper but hedges restrict the view and the odd lorry can block the way as this guy encountered. How come he was going so much faster than everyone else?

I was only doing the short 63 mile version of the Tour of the Black mountains so I was riding flat out all the way round including the descents, I do love to descend though. Thankfully the rider at the end held me up otherwise I could of ended up a little closer to the lorry!!

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amazon22 [261 posts] 6 years ago
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Ah, didn't realise that was you! Yes, that certainly seemed to be flat out!

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workhard [397 posts] 6 years ago
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It's a great book. I promptly went out and rode the ones local to me I'd not ridden before.

As for Gospel Pass; well memories of the southbound descent will live with me forever.

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dave atkinson [6258 posts] 6 years ago
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workhard wrote:

As for Gospel Pass; well memories of the southbound descent will live with me forever.

it's a lot of fun going the other way too  1

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Fish_n_Chips [493 posts] 6 years ago
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"There's no East Anglia section!"

 14

Ok its flat as a pancake!
 20

Where the heck do we train on hills??? or just drop down another cog in head winds?

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Felix [111 posts] 6 years ago
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Aye Scotland does not get a fair showing and I agree with Dave's point about Simon's location. Still what's not to like - it's got a tick list... and what boy doesn't like one of those?  3

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Simon E [2851 posts] 5 years ago
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Just got hold of a copy of this little volume. The enthusiasm is infectious, though while reading it you can't quite imagine the degree of suffering some of these climbs will inflict.

I was surprised Llanberis Pass is not featured. Also I wouldn't have chosen Jigger's Bank in Coalbrookdale over some of the other challenging climbs in the Shropshire hills. Still, I realise it is one man's choices - or his top 100, at least - and it will prompt me to ride up Jigger's Bank.

However, as well as prompting me to 'tick off' some of the ones near me it kept me awake last night making my own list: Machynlleth-Dylife, Talybont to Nant-y-Moch, Elan Valley and Craig Ddu west of Rhayader, Staylittle from both sides (Llanbrynmair and Llanidloes - the latter a real rollercoaster), Anchor from both sides (Kerry and Clun), Crimea Pass to the north of Blaenau Ffestiniog and lots more.

This could be a time-consuming project  1