The Rides

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.

[rideitem status=”public” title=”Haleakala” distance=”56km” category=”Grimpeur” url=”http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/50412514″ 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.

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[rideitem statuc=public title=”Liege-Bastogne-Liege” distance=”265″ category=”Rouleur” url=”http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58053308/” 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.

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[rideitem status=public title=”Paris-Roubaix” category=”Hardman” distance=”265″ url=”http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052610/” location=”Compiégne, France” guideurl=”http://www.cyclingpave.cc/” guide=”Pavé Cycling Classics”]

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.

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[rideitem status=public title=”Mortirolo/Gavia Loop” category=”Grimpeur” distance=”115km” url=”http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/59027020/” 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.

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[rideitem status=public title=”200 on 100″ category=”Grimpeur” distance=”330km” url=”http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/58052808/” location=”Vernon, VT” contributor=”cdelinks” contributorurl=”http://cyclowhat.com”]

“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.

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[rideitem status=”public” title=”De Ronde Van West Portlandia” distance=”76km” category=”Grimpeur” url=”http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/15276210″ 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.

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[rideitem status=public title=”Seattle Master Urban Ride” category=”Rouleur” distance=”130km” url=http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/57732282 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.

[/rideitem]

3,329 Replies to “The Rides”

  1. @RobSandy

    I had to put my arm warmers on this morning.

    0

    Yeah me too yesterday, plus a Gilet as it was damp too.  I’m going to miss that Summer.

  2. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy

    I had to put my arm warmers on this morning.

    0

    Yeah me too yesterday, plus a Gilet as it was damp too. I’m going to miss that Summer.

    0

    Summer is over. :(

    I quite enjoy autumn though and putting on a few bits of extra kit, so can’t complain.

  3. Last weekend in the Swiss Alps (Grimselpass): started out with softshell and assuming my arms would remain covered all day (hence the long bibs) but ended up taking it off and violating Rule #82 “It is completely inappropriate to have uncovered arms, while covering the knees”. I was painfully aware all the ride up until I got to the top where it was completely foggy, 3.5°C and windy and had to put back on everything I had with me including long finger gloves.

  4. Not quite arm warmer weather here yet.  The good news is that it’s only 104* today, down from 112* a couple of weeks ago.  Enough of a drop so I can get in some 50k rides after work.  Can’t wait for some cooler fall temperatures.

  5. I’m going to do something this Friday which I never though I would do, and which I think is extremely unlikely I’ll every get a chance to do again –

    After a bit of a break (due to moving the event from January to September), the Welsh National Track Championships are on again and I’m lining up to defend my National Champions jersey.

    I’m riding man 1 as the only returning team member, but I’ve recruited two new guys with serious horsepower to help. We’re all road riders, not trackies, so I think the chances of us being able to keep the jersey is very low, but we’ll give it our best shot.

    I’m hoping for a sub-20 second first lap and that we can get near or just under the 50 second mark for the 750m.

  6. @RobSandy

    I’m going to do something this Friday which I never though I would do, and which I think is extremely unlikely I’ll every get a chance to do again –

    After a bit of a break (due to moving the event from January to September), the Welsh National Track Championships are on again and I’m lining up to defend my National Champions jersey.

    I’m riding man 1 as the only returning team member, but I’ve recruited two new guys with serious horsepower to help. We’re all road riders, not trackies, so I think the chances of us being able to keep the jersey is very low, but we’ll give it our best shot.

    I’m hoping for a sub-20 second first lap and that we can get near or just under the 50 second mark for the 750m.

    Chapeau.  Bets of luck!

  7. @RobSandy

    In what discipline are you defending your championship? There are so many track disciplines… Keirin, madison, australienne, sprint? Good luck to you; I haven’t touched my trackbike this year as much as I wanted unfortunately.

  8. @KogaLover

    @RobSandy

    In what discipline are you defending your championship? There are so many track disciplines… Keirin, madison, australienne, sprint? Good luck to you; I haven’t touched my trackbike this year as much as I wanted unfortunately.

    Team Sprint mate. I thought I’d put that in, but clearly I didn’t!

    Here’s us two Januarys ago – me riding Man 2 on that occasion.

    I’ve managed to get hold of a track disc, so hopefully will be having my first tubular experience over the next few days.

  9. I think I saw Nicole Cook out for a ride on Sunday. I was on my way back from a pootle with the family, driving up the Brecon side of the Storey Arms road and a solo female cyclist, looking the dictionary definition of ‘fucking awesome’ came screaming down in the opposite direction.

    I can’t think of anyone else it could have been.

  10. @davidlhill

    @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    Chapeau. Bets of luck!

    I wouldn’t put any bets on me if I were you.

    And if we’d had have placed any bets?! How di o get on?

    Due to only one Welsh eligible team showing up (us) there was no Championship race this time. So I remain Welsh Champ.

    We raced in the Open competition and came 5th out of 7, which I was quite pleased with considering we were up against some proper trackies and hadn’t practiced at all.

     

  11. To the UK Velominati here…

    It appears I will be traveling to England in a few months, my daughter is planning on getting married this January near Birmingham.  (She lived there a while, met a nice young man, but then had to return to the US.)  Out of ignorance, how is the riding that time of year?  I assume cold and rainy, but is it realistic to get in some saddle time?  My version of Rule 9 involves excessive heat, so it will be a shock to the system.

  12. @MangoDave

    To the UK Velominati here…

    It appears I will be traveling to England in a few months, my daughter is planning on getting married this January near Birmingham. (She lived there a while, met a nice young man, but then had to return to the US.) Out of ignorance, how is the riding that time of year? I assume cold and rainy, but is it realistic to get in some saddle time? My version of Rule #9 involves excessive heat, so it will be a shock to the system.

    Well January is usually wet, no Sun, just grey.  It can be cold and frosty but we still try to get out and ride. It’s certainly not Florida! Sometimes we do get glorious clear days – but chilly.  I did see one forecast saying that this winter would be hard with 3 months of very cold weather, though having said that our long terms forecasts are usually lousy as or climate is a marine one with the weather mainly coming off the Atlantic.

    We have a saying “we don’t have a climate, we just have weather”.

  13. @MangoDave

    To the UK Velominati here…

    It appears I will be traveling to England in a few months, my daughter is planning on getting married this January near Birmingham. (She lived there a while, met a nice young man, but then had to return to the US.) Out of ignorance, how is the riding that time of year? I assume cold and rainy, but is it realistic to get in some saddle time? My version of Rule #9 involves excessive heat, so it will be a shock to the system.

    The British weather can do anything, at any time. Often wet, often miserable, sometimes glorious (like this morning as it happens).

    You can also get free topo maps of the UK online from Bing Maps, which makes route planning much easier than on google maps.

    Which leads me onto my next question for the class…

  14. Anyone know if you can get decent top maps for France online?
    I’m going on holiday near Fontainebleu in a few weeks and I’m thinking of taking my tandem – so I want to spy out which roads/routes will suit (with a 7yo on the back).

  15. While you were all watching Malmerde at the Worlds I was trying my legs at track for the first time.

    An inter-club v Brixton at Herne Hill, so I stepped up to the Bs (basically novice – which is fair enough because I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve been on a track bike).

    It was a size too small and the gearing had me spinning out but I managed to win the Scratch race and came second to the same Brixton guy in the Devil and Reverse Win-Out.

    The points race – 10 laps and points for the first four places on each – was the best and worst. There was no neutral lap and two Brixton guys jumped after the first lap. Some Dulwich guys were ahead but lost the wheels and I had to chase the two of them on my own for three laps. It was awful and I nearly gave up but there was no way I could sit there and watch them taking the points on each lap. Caught them, had a breather for a lap and then started trying to compete – I even managed to gap them and take two firsts from the front and a couple of seconds. 

    Ended up second overall in the category. Had a lot of fun, and really enjoyed the quick tactical aspect – it all happens in a flash.

    I was about to sell my TT disc wheel but have realised I can convert it to track so I just need a bike to go around it now :-)

  16. P.S. Forgot to say, it was bloody intense, which took me by surprise a little.

    Six races and probably not much more than 45 minutes of racing but I was shattered afterwards, and still sore today in a way I haven’t been for a very long time.

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