When people talk about the toughest cycling tracks, they can be referring to a number of different types of tracks, perhaps mountain bike trails or road cycling courses or any other types of bike trails and they could refer to the toughest meaning longest or the one with the most uphill, perhaps even the most technical downhill track or just a combination of all of these. I shall therefore define what I am referring to a little more precisely; these are perhaps the toughest cycle climbs in the UK.
Hardknott Pass – Approx. Climb Time: 15mins, Height gained: 298m, Length: 2.25km
Located in Cumbria, to find this ride first leave the A595 and pass through Eksdale Green and Beckfoot and it starts by the warning sign on Jubilee bridge. This sliver of road was first built by the Romans in the 2nd Century and consists of two awesome switchbacks, the first having 25% slopes and the second 30%. This ride that takes you into woodland and over a cattle grid is difficult in both directions and is certainly one of the hardest in the country.
Wrynose Pass – Approx. Climb Time: 15mins, Height gained: 278m, Length: 2.52km
Located at little Langdon, again in Cumbria, the hardest direction is from the west which starts at Fell Foot Farm. This route consists of hugging the side of a mountain for two long climbs before reaching a switchback, all with some serious curves along the way.
Great Dunn Fell – Approx. Climb Time: 40mins, Height gained: 638m, Length: 7.45km
Located in Knock, Cumbria, leave the A66 at Appleby-in-Westmoreland going North through Brampton. The climb starts outside the village at the first right. From the start you may be put off because you can already see the Golf Ball of the radar station where the climb ends. This consists of passing through three gates for several long climbs, steadily getting steeper until you reach the final one, the steepest of all, which is lined with snow poles on the approach to the station.
Rosedale Chimney – Approx. Climb Time: 9mins, Height gained: 179m, Length: 1430m
This starts at Rosedale Abbey in the North York Moors. To start this climb head south east at the corner of the Abbey, onto Gill Lane and take it from there. The ride starts with a one-in-three gradient that takes you up over a cattle grid and into a double hairpin where the second one is so steep on the inside; you have to stay wide, after that it eases off to a one-in-six.
Fleet Moss – Approx. Climb Time: 22mins, Height gained: 323m, Length: 5.34km
Located in the Yorkshire dales, leave the A684 at Hawes and head south to Gayle. Passing through the village, cross the river and the climb starts at Beggarman’s Road. This starts with a more gentler climb, and then evens off before the next steeper climb. It then levels off one more time before the steepest part of the climb takes you on a zigzag course to what will seem like the top of the world.