From the flats of south east England, through the rolling hills of the Lake District to the mountains of north west Scotland, Great Britain has some great cycling routes, here are some of the best…
Norfolk coast cycleway – Norfolk
This cycle route covers the 59 miles between King’s Lynn and Cromer and much of it passes through a recognised ‘Area of Outstanding Beauty’, featuring an abundance of wildlife, picturesque countryside and breathtaking views.
And due to its gentle gradients it is suitable for cyclists of all ages and abilities.
Cleeve Hill – Gloucestershire
With three challenging ascents, Cleeve Hill offers a challenge to even the most experienced riders.
Arguably the toughest of the trio though is Bushcombe Lane which, although it sounds like a simple cycle to the shop, has an incline that could have the King of the Mountains gasping for breath.
And once it starts it just keeps getting steeper until it reaches its 30% apex, make it this far and you’re through the worst – or best – of it.
Bwlch-y-Groes – Gwynedd
Also known as Hellfire Pass, Bwlch-y-Groes climbs into the Aran mountains bordering Snowdonia and, although tarmacked, is rough and weathered and has a gruelling ascent.
And it’s this ascent that sets it apart, its steepness is unforgiving and gives no room for recovery, though the breathtaking views – weather permitting – offer ample reward.
Rosedale Chimney – North York Moors
With a reputation that precedes it – and deservedly so – Rosedale Chimney offers a tortuous incline along some rough, tarmacked terrain.
There is a particularly gruelling one-in-three incline where you can slow down almost to a standstill and the one-in-six incline that follows will almost feel like a downhill. Almost.
Eskdale trail – Lake District
This offers a much more sedate cycling experience than the above – although most tracks do – and the ride from the foot of Scarfell takes in some beautiful countryside, from riverside meadows, through ancient oak woods until it finally comes out at Ravenglass on the Irish Sea.
The gradients are gradually downward apart from one climb up Chapel Hill and the track is abundant with wildlife from red squirrels, to roe deer and buzzards.
Great Dun Fell – Cumbria
Arguably the greatest climb in England, this agonising stretch – agonising in a good way – climbs up boulder-strewn scenery at a t 20% gradient and then on to a 25% gradient so treacherous that cars are not allowed to pass.
Again, your reward is your sense of achievement at scaling the slope and the stunning view once you reach the top.
The Lecht – Aberdeenshire
Cutting through the heart of the Cairngorm mountains, this offers a stunning, if challenging ride.
Starting from picturesque Corgaff castle, you are immediately hit with a 20% rough and twisting incline which eventually opens out onto the breathtaking vista that forms the rest of the climb up to the Lecht Ski Centre.
Bealach-na-Ba – Scottish Highlands
If Great Dun Fell is the greatest climb in England then this is the biggest in Britain, connecting Applecross with the rest of the Highlands via the unforgiving mountains of Bealach-na-Ba.
So treacherous is the mountain road that you shouldn’t really try it in anything other than good conditions and, whatever the weather, be prepared for harsh conditions at the summit.
Mountain roads with sheer drops lead into thick wilderness and the brutal 20% inclines on the weather beaten track will test even the hardiest of cyclists.
Not one for the faint-hearted but the most challenging and rewarding run in Britain.