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.
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
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
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.