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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

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

Cold and Icy – No Excuses

For anyone not in the know, that title might be seen as me advocating manning up and braving the weather etc. But no, that's all been said before, many times by many riders and until I get the chance to ride across the Mongolian plains I really won't truly understand tough conditions. 1341

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

A day on the road bike in the Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Dales Cycling

One of the advantages of trying to climb as many of the 100 UK Climbs as possible is that you end up riding in many different parts of the UK. The Yorkshire Dales is somewhere that I might choose to ride in any case but my 'hunt for climbs' partly dictated my route on this occasion. Having already climbed Buttertubs Pass and Lamps Moss, this route focused on Tan Hill, Oxnop Scar and The Stang. Turning this into the first day of a two day trip I managed to convince two mates to come along for the ride. 1181

A few Scottish miles, Part 3 – Glasgow & Edinburgh

Bridge over the Clyde

It was a whole week that I spent working in Scotland and so to maintain my fitness for the Tour of Cambridgeshire I had decided to get in as much cycling as possible.  Ahead of time I had expected it to be more but I think I'd forgotten about the time that would be needed travelling between places at the end of the day; Aberdeen to St Andrews and St Andrews to Glasgow are decent length drives in the evening after work!  Fortunately being May there had been plenty of early morning/evening light and so I was able to get a good few efforts in.  Including an evening in Glasgow and a morning in Edinburgh. 1184

A few Scottish miles, Part 2 – St Andrews

St Andrews Cathedral Ruins

It's been a long time since my Part 1 post, but I'm of the opinion that it doesn't make this any less relevant or readable, so part 2 is here and it describes my early morning ride from St Andrews Premier Inn on the Tuesday morning of my week working up in Scotland.  Monday up in Aberdeen didn't lend itself to getting out on the bike, so after Sunday's ride up and over the Mennock Pass, Tuesday morning saw me taking to the relatively flat roads of Fife.  1166

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