The Rides

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The Ride. It is the cathedral of our sport, where we worship at the altar of the Man with the Hammer. It is the end to our means. Indeed, The Bike may be the central tool to our sport, but to turn the pedals is to experience the sensation of freedom, of flight. It is all for The Ride.

The world is overflowing with small, twisty roads that capture our collective imagination as cyclists. We spend our lifetimes searching out the best routes and rides; we pore over maps, we share with our fellow disciples, we talk to non-cycling locals all in pursuit of the Perfect Ride.

The Rides is devoted entirely to the best routes and rides around the world. Some are races or cyclosportives, others feature in the Classics and stages of The Great Races, while others still are little-known gems, discovered through careful meditation on The V. Be warned: these rides are not your average Sunday Afternoon spin; these rides are the best and most difficult rides in the word – they represent the rites of passage into La Vie Velominatus. It is to be taken for granted that these rides require loads of Rule #5, many of them Rule #10, and all of them are best enjoyed in Rule #9 conditions. They have been shared by you, the community. The Rides also features articles devoted to the greatest rides and providess a forum for sharing other rides for discussion.

If you’d like to submit a ride or an article about your own favorite ride, please feel free to send it to us and we’ll do our best to work with you to include it.

Haleakala

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 56km / Location: Paia, Maui, Hawaii, USA

haleakala

Haleakala is simultaneously the longest paved continuous climb in the world as well as the shortest ascent from sea level to 10,000 feet in the world. Though not terribly steep, this is a long, grinding climb that will reduce a strong rider to a whimpering lump.

To put the effort in perspective, this climb is 60km long a an average of 6% with two pitches as steep as 17%. That translates to somewhere between 3 or more hours of nonstop climbing, usually in Maui’s direct heat and often into a whipping headwind that spins around into a headwind no matter which direction the switchbacks take you.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/50412514

Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 265 / Location: Liege, Belgium

lbl

Liege-Bastogne-Liege is not only La Doyenne, the oldest of the Classics, but also represents perhaps the most demanding course in cycling. The 280 km, 3000m vertical route starts with an easy ride out from Liege to Bastogne which lulls riders into a false sense of security; the hills are frequent, but none of them terribly demanding. Into Bastogne, and the story changes on the way back to Liege with 9 categorized climbs in the second half, including the fearsome Côte de la Redoute and the Côte de Saint-Nicolas.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58053308/

Paris-Roubaix

Category: Hardman / Distance: 265 / Location: Compiégne, France

paris-roubaix

L’enfur du Nord. The Hell of The North. The Queen of the Classics. This isn’t a ride over the stones from your local brick-paved roads. You think climbs are what make a ride tough? We’ve got news for you: this is the hardest ride on the planet and it boasts a maximum elevation of 55 meters. These are vicious, brutal stones; the kind that will stretch each kilometer to their full length, the kind of stones that you will feel long after the rattling of the bars has stopped. These stones will change you. Forever.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052610/

Guide: Pavé Cycling Classics

Mortirolo/Gavia Loop

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 115km / Location: Bormio, Italy / Contributor: Joe

The Mortirolo is perhaps the most feared pass in Western Europe, and the Gavia the most storied. Given their proximity to each other, its a wonder why this isn’t the most talked-about ride in Italy. Maybe it is; its impossible to say without being Italian. The loop nature of this ride makes it feasible as a solo escapade, but any ride with the kind of stats this one bears – 3200 meters ascended in 115 kilometers including the viscously steep Mortirolo – is best enjoyed with a riding partner or support car.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/59027020/

200 on 100

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 330km / Location: Vernon, VT / Contributor: cdelinks

“Dumptruck of Awesome” has become the catch-phrase associated with this brutally hard, yet strikingly beautiful 330 kilometer (200 mile) ride down Vermont Route 100.  This ride was made popular during the summer of 2011 when Ted King, Tim Johnson, and a local amateur cyclist, Ryan Kelly, documented this ride on film. The ride starts on the Canadian border and finishes on the Massachusetts border.  With over 2500 meters of climbing on this 330 kilometer ride, you will need to pack a few lunches to get through this one.  Do this ride in the Fall, and the foliage might be beautiful enough to distract you from the horrible pain you will most certainly suffer.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052808/

De Ronde Van West Portlandia

Category: Grimpeur / Distance: 76km / Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

A ride that officially “never happens” each spring, this 76 km route charts a course through Portland’s West Hills, paying homage to the European Spring Classics. Approximately 1,800 meters of paved and unpaved climbs are spread throughout the course, with several sections reaching grades of over 20%. More information can be found at Ronde PDX.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/15276210

Seattle Master Urban Ride

Category: Rouleur / Distance: 130km / Location: Seattle, Washington, USA

seattleronde

This is perhaps the most challenging urban route in Seattle, hitting three of the big hills that define Seattle’s topography. The route starts and ends on Phinney Ridge, but hits the climbs of Interlaken and Alder Street/Lake Dell Drive on its way to Mercer Island, before coming back to hit Queen Anne and Magnolia, weaving its way up each of these hills as many times as possible via the steepest route available before the finale to the north via Golden Gardens, Blue Ridge Drive, and Carkeek Park. Panoramic views of the Cascades, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, The Olympic Penninsula and Puget Sound makes this a standout Urban ride.

Route: http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/57732282

  1. @piwakawaka

    Her race number, the wrong way up!!

    Hard to tell, but looks like some spectator twat was leaning too far out. They have no idea how fast riders are going!

  2. @wiscot

    number thirteen right way up, she hit press photographers, I’ve always marvelled at their bravery or stupidity for standing on the course just after the finish, everyone is #fullgas and fucked having given everything to that point, oh yeah let’s chuck some more hazards the road!!

  3. @Teocalli

    @tessar

    @the Engine

    Okay – you’ve got one five day weekend in early August to spend with the bike. You can go anywhere in Europe – where do you go?

    I’d say Alps but that time of year, you could end up with a 40c day. Belgium, Holland or northern France perhaps?

    Lake Como?

    +1 for Como, stunning riding.

  4. The ride was nothing to speak of but the early morning view in Rio was lovely.

    There are lots of bike paths around the city and along Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, but they are filled with joggers and slow-moving POBs so it isn’t great for training.

    Briefly went on the road when I spotted a young guy in race kit and sat on his wheel for a while until he turned off. I didn’t exactly introduce myself – neither his English or my Portuguese were up to it – but I did let him know I was there.

    There’s one lovely ride which I wish I had time to do. Out to Tijuca forest which leads part way up to the famous Christ the Redeemer statues. About 5km with some long sections at 12-13%. looked like fun and apparently a lot of people do it on the weekends.

  5. @the Engine

    Dolomites – Alto Badia – San Cassiano

  6. @the Engine

    @tessar

    @the Engine

    Okay – you’ve got one five day weekend in early August to spend with the bike. You can go anywhere in Europe – where do you go?

    I’d say Alps but that time of year, you could end up with a 40c day. Belgium, Holland or northern France perhaps?

    Did Turkey in July last year and lived. What about the Ardennes?

    Well, I’m from a few countries south of Turkey and today’s short ride already managed to cook me. Summer by the Mediterranean is not my favourite thing. Ardennes sound lovely…

  7. @ChrisO

    You bloody great glorious bastard! What time zone do you operate in? Also, great to see you back on the bike in style.

  8. I took part in the inaugural Velothon Wales event last Sunday.

    To say I was chuffed when I crossed the finish line is an understatement.

    140kms on closed roads, beautiful scenery, good weather and only a couple of lumps to get over. What a great day!

  9. @DeKerr

    At the moment I have no idea what day it is. I’m currently in Dubai airport which is 7 hours behind Rio, and having just got off a 13 hour flight will be getting on another one to London in a couple of hours.

    Two sleeps on a plane in one journey is too much.

  10. Great Manchester cycle next weekend. Doing the 52 mile couse (i know, I know Rule #24) which is 4 laps @13 miles (I know) . Aiming to do it in 2 & a half hours but imagine it’ll be closer to 2h 45m with my massively out of shape 92kg frame. Course is practically flat which helps as I cannot climb for shit even when i’m in decent shape.

    http://www.strava.com/activities/10068868 – Course profile.

    Then it’s the Manchester 100 (I know) later in the year when I will hopefully be back somewhere near 85kg & able to beat my time from last year which was just over 6 hours on my old Giant.

    http://www.strava.com/activities/187893875?fb_action_ids=10152657827677103&fb_action_types=fitness.bikes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B702135166542768%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22fitness.bikes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

  11. @Welsh Paul

    Well done Paul. You beat me by 20 minutes, we must have crossed the finish line at a very similar time.

    I rode in Ajax club kit.

    As far as I’m aware, you are now the 2nd Welsh-based Velominatus.

  12. @RobSandy

    Hi Rob, I remember seeing quite a few Ajax club jerseys. You were well represented!

    I was in the K1 starting pen (8.35am).

    I thought it was a great event. The closed roads were very liberating. I’ve registered my interest for next years event.

  13. On the Volvo stand on Saturday before L’Eroica on Sunday

  14. @DeKerr

    @ChrisO

    You bloody great glorious bastard! What time zone do you operate in? Also, great to see you back on the bike in style.

    Yep!

  15. @Chris

    They are racing cross bikes hey? I’ve seen more than a few Jr’s racing cross bikes on the road in summer and CX in fall. What a blast. I have a lot of fun going to races with my kiddos. Cheers

  16. @Welsh Paul

    @RobSandy

    Hi Rob, I remember seeing quite a few Ajax club jerseys. You were well represented!

    I was in the K1 starting pen (8.35am).

    I thought it was a great event. The closed roads were very liberating. I’ve registered my interest for next years event.

    Closed roads? For cyclists? Where is this utopia?

  17. @piwakawaka

    @Welsh Paul

    @RobSandy

    Hi Rob, I remember seeing quite a few Ajax club jerseys. You were well represented!

    I was in the K1 starting pen (8.35am).

    I thought it was a great event. The closed roads were very liberating. I’ve registered my interest for next years event.

    Closed roads? For cyclists? Where is this utopia?

    I didn’t actually ride with the club as I wasn’t a member when I signed up. There was a big bunch of them starting in Pen B, and I overtook them from Pen G around the Tumble.

    I loved riding on the closed roads, and cruising between the barriers at the start and finish made me feel extremely pro. I’d do it again next year.

    www.velothonwales.co.uk/

  18. @Teocalli

    There is a lot of awesome in that photo.

  19. Some Strade Bianchi Peak District style and some not so Bianchi……

  20. @wilburrox

    @Chris

    They are racing cross bikes hey? I’ve seen more than a few Jr’s racing cross bikes on the road in summer and CX in fall. What a blast. I have a lot of fun going to races with my kiddos. Cheers

    The bikes are set up as cross bikes but I’ve no idea where the geometry fits in the general classification of things.

    It’s a very popular brand of bike, Isla Bike, robust without being too heavy and specced out with parts that are appropriate for kids and small teens – modified shifters, narrow bars with tight radiused drops etc. They hold their value amazingly well as a result.

    I’m sure the boys will be racing cross later on in the year. Having just splashed out a bit on n+1, I’ll on my mountain bike if I have a go.

  21. @Teocalli

    Your Eroica pics always bring the joy. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Now I’m not one to come begging, but myself and a few colleagues are riding from Essex to Newcastle Upon Tyne over 3 days starting this Thursday for charity. Its a bit of a slog, 163km day one from South Ockendon to Peterborough, 199km on day 2 from Peterborough to York (flat as a witches tit that day) and then finally 172km from York to Newcastle Upon Tyne on Day 3.

    We’re raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, a charity dear to my heart after we lost a very close friend to it 2 years ago. I personally will be trying my best to bestow The Rules upon the other 14 riders on our team. If you would like to make a donation then please click the link below.

    Just Giving Page

    For those of you on Strava, you can follow my progress here.

    Thanks in advance!

  23. @RobSandy

    @the Engine

    Okay – you’ve got one five day weekend in early August to spend with the bike. You can go anywhere in Europe – where do you go?

    Wales.

    Second that. Rode out around Aberaeron recently. Stunning coastline, big hills. 

  24. Fucked if I know how I managed to get Chris’s pics of Rio in on a post about Wales?!

  25. @VeloJello

    That sounds like a cracking ride. It’s a shame I can’t work from home on Thursday or Friday otherwise I’d come and do a turn on the front for you.

    It might be as flat from Peterborough but it’s been a windy year.

    I’ll keep an eye on the Strava. Good luck.

  26. @Chris

    @VeloJello

    That sounds like a cracking ride. It’s a shame I can’t work from home on Thursday or Friday otherwise I’d come and do a turn on the front for you.

    It might be as flat from Peterborough but it’s been a windy year.

    I’ll keep an eye on the Strava. Good luck.

    That would’ve been awesome! Shame.

    Forecast is for tail winds. Been battling cross and headwinds all year so far in Northumberland so fingers crossed my time has come!

    Have added you, will be posting pics post ride each day. Enjoy!

  27. Circuit of Isle of Wight this Saturday – any UK folk fancy joining me and a few mates on a circuit of the IoW this Saturday.  2 of us starting near Haslemere (station on the Waterloo/Portsmouth Hbr Line) and joining 2 others at the Ryde ferry crossing.  Plan is to loop IoW and then recovery ales and meal before return crossing and either pick up or train back from Portsmouth.  Pace will be no drop.

  28. From the Monsal Trail section……..

  29. Love that jersey!

  30. @Teocalli

    Many thanks for the generous donation! Last leg back to Newcastle today…

  31. Great Manchester cycle tomorrow & in true Mancunian fashion it’s going to be lashing it down. Been baking sun for the last 48 hours too.

    Just given the #1 a thorough cleaning, pumped the tyres up & given the drive train a wipe down.

    She might be getting filthy tomorrow but she can turn up to the start of the party looking her best.

  32. Great Manchester cycle done. Went out a it too hard on the first lap. Second lap felt like hell & the third felt amazing. Section times don’t appear to reflect that though. Man with the hammer hit a couple of miles from the end although I did muster a sprint finish. Also missed out on my target of 2 & half hours by seven minutes, wind & rain didn’t help. Still, 20mph average isn’t to be sniffed at.

    http://www.strava.com/activities/334643281?fb_action_ids=10153393576102103&fb_action_types=fitness.bikes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B860671030692167%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22fitness.bikes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

  33. Three days, and just a sniff under 500km. The Man with the Hammer was relentless, and Day 3 he finally beat me in to submission. Feel free to laugh at my efforts here, here and here. We’ve managed to raise nearly £4500 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and I would be eternally grateful if you would help reach our target of £5000. The giving page is here.

    Day Two was the highlight. 212km, riding from Peterborough out to Lincoln on to the National Championship circuit and passing Team Wiggins on a training ride, and in to York to historic York Minster. The V was strong that day.

    Many thanks to those that have donated and motivated me with there comments on Strava.

    VVLV

  34. A little bit of fun – I had never heard of this until reading a thread on another forum today but have you ever come across Eddington Numbers ?

    Eddington was an astrophysicist and also a keen cyclist apparently. He devised a formula for cycling mileage (he was British and it was the 1920s alright – the Rules had not yet been handed down) which pairs the number of days with the number of miles.

    So, for example if in a chosen period you had ridden 50 rides of at least 50 miles then your Eddington number is 50. You may have done another 100 rides of less than 50 miles but they don’t count.

    The difficult bit is improving it. It get’s progressively more difficult because you ‘lose’ rides in your current score.

    So mine is 78. Within that I’ve done 9 rides of 78 or 79 miles and 69 rides of 80 miles or more. So to get to 80 I need to do 11 more rides of 80+ miles, basically ‘losing’ the 9 rides at 78 and 79 and adding the 2 to get from 78 to 80. Reasonably achievable.

    But I have a whole bunch of rides at 80 miles for some reason. I’ve only done 61 rides of 81 miles or more. So even if I did another 11 rides at exactly 80 miles I would have to drop those and do 20 rides of 81 miles or more to get that extra one to my E number.

    To get to 90 I would have to do 60 more rides of 90+ miles.

    You can work it out here: canini.me/eddington/index.php

    It works with other pairs as you wish – hours and days, it can be annual, monthly etc. But the basic one is a lifetime figure.

  35. @ChrisO

    Hmm – seems I’m on 50 since 2013.

    Ah I see what you mean.  So to get to 60 I need to drop 18 rides I have in 50-59.9 range AND add 10 in the 60 plus range to get to 60 in 60.  So I need 28 in the 60+ range.

    Bugger – I’m going to wish you hadn’t posted that – and my chief cycling buddy is going to wish it even more!

  36. @Teocalli

    So it’s effectively the lowest number where the distance ridden is equal to the number of times you’ve done it, more or less?

    I suspect mine is going to be very low as I haven’t actually been riding long enough to amass a large number of rides.

  37. On Saturday I took in the scenery of Wales, from Holyhead in the North,  to Swansea in the South. What a great day in the saddle!

  38. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    So it’s effectively the lowest number where the distance ridden is equal to the number of times you’ve done it, more or less?

    I suspect mine is going to be very low as I haven’t actually been riding long enough to amass a large number of rides.

    Well it will be the highest number where the distance equals or exceeds the number of times you have ridden it.  In fact it’s probably the number where the distance equals or exceeds the number of times you have ridden it as there will only be a single intersection on a graph.  I think.

  39. @Welsh Paul

    On Saturday I took in the scenery of Wales, from Holyhead in the North,  to Swansea in the South. What a great day in the saddle!

    Chapeau.

  40. @Welsh Paul

    Nice one Paul, that must have been a great ride. What was the weather doing?

    You rode past me, actually, as we’re on holiday on the Lleyn peninsula right now, without my road bike, I may add. Although I took my three year old riding single track at Coed Y Brenin so I haven’t been deprived of bike riding.

  41. @ChrisO@Teocalli I’m on 40 so there’s a bit of work to be done.

    The boys have decided to give up rugby which will free up my Sunday’s for the local club run. If I ride to the start and home from the finish (which should be a rule) they’re about 80 miles. I should be able to push the number up fairly quickly. Two and a half years or there abouts should have me on eighty if I do the club run every other week.

  42. @Welsh Paul

    That looks like great ride. Well done.

  43. @RobSandy

    The weather was perfect Rob, from top to toe. There was a bit of cloud cover over Snowdonia, which was a shame, but the rest of the ride was clear skies, about 19 degC.  We had a bit of a south-westerly breeze to contend with in places, but it wasn’t too bad – we were in no particular rush.

  44. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    So it’s effectively the lowest number where the distance ridden is equal to the number of times you’ve done it, more or less?

    I suspect mine is going to be very low as I haven’t actually been riding long enough to amass a large number of rides.

    Well it will be the highest number where the distance equals or exceeds the number of times you have ridden it.  In fact it’s probably the number where the distance equals or exceeds the number of times you have ridden it as there will only be a single intersection on a graph.  I think.

    Think mine is around 27/28. I don’t use Strava (don’t have a smartphone) so I’ve had to work it out manually. I’ve done 28 rides of 27 miles or more.

    I knew it wouldn’t be impressive, but I’ve only had a road bike since November.

  45. @RobSandy

    . I don’t use Strava (don’t have a smartphone) so I’ve had to work it out manually. I’ve done 28 rides of 27 miles or more.

    Smartphone isn’t necessary to use Strava – just a bike computer which produces .fit files to upload. (There may be other compatible formats too, I’m not sure)

    Regardless of one’s views on the use of bike computers during rides, Strava is a handy way to keep track of your miles and routes.

    As for your E number at least you have the prospect of being able to increase it easily.

  46. @ChrisO

    Yeah, I know, but I also have a very basic bike computer (distance/speed…and that’s it) so no, I can’t upload anything.

    At some point I’ll join the modern age and get on Strava so I can compete with my mates and frustrate myself trying to move up the charts on meaningless segments, but for now I’ll stick with my extremely complex excel spreadsheet.

    Just worked out I need 12 more rides of 30 miles or more to get up to 30.

    It’s not really a measure of current activity though, is it? I mean, once I’ve done those 12 rides then I would never go down from 30, only up. Feels like it should be over the last calendar year, or something.

  47. @RobSandy

    It can be whatever you like but when you get to the higher mileages a permanent E factor seems a good idea.  For instance 80 80plus rides in a season or year is pretty dedicated mileage.  OK I guess for the pros and semi pros but for the rest of us would be a tall order.

  48. @ChrisO

    @RobSandy

    . I don’t use Strava (don’t have a smartphone) so I’ve had to work it out manually. I’ve done 28 rides of 27 miles or more.

    Smartphone isn’t necessary to use Strava – just a bike computer which produces .fit files to upload. (There may be other compatible formats too, I’m not sure)

    Regardless of one’s views on the use of bike computers during rides, Strava is a handy way to keep track of your miles and routes.

    As for your E number at least you have the prospect of being able to increase it easily.

    Smartphone apps for Sträva are rubbish, their metres gained are so out of whack.

  49. In case you have not seen elsewhere Martyn Ashton back on a bike…………

  50. @Teocalli

    Sheer bliss. The joy on his face was wonderful. Met both the Martins back in the days when I raced cross country mountainbikes. Lovely chaps. Great to see, and thanks for sharing.

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