Lancashire Stop Off – Forest of Bowland

The UK doesn't have any alpine climbs; this is something that will remain true even after Brexit. What it does have though is plenty of short, sharp and very steep ones. Almost as if to make up for the lack of total elevation gain, the road builders factor in as much steepness as possible. Or at least that's how it seems when you're grinding your way to the top in a low gear, barely turning your pedals and feeling like walking would be faster. Fortunately in the Forest of Bowland I didn't encounter any of these! Nope, not at all. And after a punishing time in Devon a couple of weeks earlier it came as a welcome relief. 1517

Head to the hills, Day 2 – #ExmoorEpic

Day 2, early morning, the tarp and bivvy combination seems to be working a dream. I'm snug, I'm dry, it's raining, I got some decent sleep overnight, it's raining... Oh, no - it's raining. And so we have that dilemma moment; do I stay warm and dry where I am and slowly watch the time ticking by or do I get up and get wet packing everything away in the rain and starting the day's route in the rain? The answer is of course a scramble to find my phone, it will know what to do! Have I got a signal? Yes. Have a got a weather app? Of course! Will the rain stop? Probably, in about an hour. Time

Head to the hills, Day 1 – #ExmoorEpic

Stunning Exmoor

There really shouldn't be any need for an excuse to head into Exmoor for a couple of days of cycling.  The north Devon & Somerset coasts host some outstanding scenery and provide a multitude of challenging hill climbs.  However, for me the underlying purpose of the trip was to tick off some more of those hills in Simon Warren's book, numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 in fact.  This along with the previous 45 that I'd completed so far would take me up to 50, a significant milestone for any sort of best 100 list!  The fact that I could ride this as a two day trip with my cycling mate Phil and include a bivvy overnight by the

“I didn’t know about these hills” – #39 The Burway in Shropshire

The Shropshire Hills

The Peak District, The Lakes, Wales, Scotland, The Yorkshire Dales; I could go on.  There are plenty of decent areas of hills in the UK, Meccas for the hikers and bikers alike. These are the most popular places, the National Parks, the commonly spoken of, the well written about and very much rightly so.  I really enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking and camping in places such as these.  But that familiarity for those places, wrongly leads many, including me it seems to assume that everywhere else is relatively flat and boring. 1436

Cobbles and Climbs – Swiss Hill

Swiss Hill/Blaze Hill Loop on Strava

"STOP, just stop". "This hurts and you won't make it to the top anyway". "I don't have the right setup for this, this just isn't going to end well". These are all common thoughts that pass through your mind when emptying yourself on a really tough climb. You just don't expect it to be only 30 seconds into the ascent! That was Swiss Hill, number 71. 1387

Crashing through the potholes of Oxfordshire – The Chiltern Hills #23 & #24

Having chalked off a good few of the 100 UK climbs in Simon Warren's book, it's now getting harder and harder to find opportunities to climbs the remain ones.  Previously I did so opportunistically, taking my bike with me while working in various parts of the country and knocking off two, three or four at a time in a well planned route.  However the remaining hills are now singles or farther away.  Or just in places I don't tend to visit.  The exception being numbers 23 and 24 in the Chiltern Hills, these are less than a two hour drive from home and perfect for a day trip ride. 1369

Single chainring on a road bike? Ah, go on then! – SRAM Force 1x Chainring

Road SRAM 1x Fitted

It has been several years since I reconfigured my mountain bike to run a single chainring and I haven't looked back since. Even running an old 9 speed rear setup alongside the single front, hasn't caused me any issues. So with the advent of SRAM proclaiming the greatness of 1x and now offering single ring conversion options for road bikes it's been something I've been considering for most of this year. September is my birthday month and so having received some birthday money I went ahead and bought myself a SRAM Force 42T X-sync chainring to fit to my existing crank. 1300

New Tyre – Hutchinson Sector Tubeless 700x28c

Hutchinson Sector 28 Tyre

Even the most frugal rider who resists the urge to upgrade, will still eventually have to spend some money on his or her bike. Things do wear out after all and one of those things that wear of course is your tyres. Much like on a car, it's a gradual process that you don't see happening, a process that can creep up on you unexpectedly. Unlike car tyres though, there's no legal tread limit for bicycles, so forgetting to keep on top of things won't be bringing you a nasty fine any time soon. I for one am happy about this as my departing rear tyre would have been well beyond it's limit, with fabric casing showing through the bald

Riding the highest surfaced road in Britain

For a hill loving, road cyclist these are the ultimate aims. To ride the highest road, to climb the longest climb, to achieve your maximum elevation gain, to test yourself on the steepest of gradients. It's the love of pushing yourself, of achieving the next level of difficulty that drives us on. Well the road that winds it's way up to the top of Great Dun Fell offers all of this and gives us an excellent surface, almost entirely free of cars on top. 1232

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