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.


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


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.



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


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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Seattle Master Urban Ride

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


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.


  1. With over 2500 meters of climbing on this 330 mile ride

    Oh, Frank: You do such good work here, but this is wrong and wrong (inaccurate and in violation of Rule #24). Please feel free to erase this; the last thing I’d want is to come across as a persistent and anal pedant (which I am, sadly), but in learning la vie Velominatus, I have come to appreciate the tidiness of the cycling code. Jokes aside, these are terrific additions. Big kudos.

    Maui has the longest and highest continual climb in the world, sea level to 10,000′ in 36 miles with an average gradient of 6%

    Gianni: I’m watching you, too! Nice socks, though.

  2. One milestone and one nearly… a new maximum speed today of 91.6 km/h.

    Set because I was watching a guy I’d just climbed a hill with disappear very rapidly – turned out later that he clocked 104.7, which I find insane. But I have to say he seemed very comfortable and clearly a natural descender.

    And a race/sportive today called Coast to Coast from Dubai to Al Aqa (Fujeirah) with a total of 220km (plus some climbing for the Velominati KOM competition) has brought me up to nearly 9,900km for the year.
    I am in touching distance of my fifth year in a row to reach 5 figures. Should crack it on Wednesday, inshallah.

  3. @ChrisO

    Was that going downhill? My fastest was about 75 kph a few months ago down a huge, straight hill. Didn’t try to pedal to make it faster, just let gravity do it’s thing.

    Kudos on the distance as well! It takes some serious work to get that many kms racked up in a year.

  4. @ChrisO
    Well done on both the speed and distance!

  5. Good work Chris – anything over 80kph gets my harris nibbling chunks out of the saddle!

  6. Right that’s it, race in Dubai today was the last hard ride done until the new year.

    The finish was a little uphill circuit around a motorway track (think Freire, Vino or Sagan) and then a 250m flat sprint. I surprised myself by just moving up and staying with the front bunch as lots of people blew up and fell away.

    Finished 13th, at the back of the sprint bunch, won by the national champion. Dean Downing was supposed to come and race it but broke his collarbone last week.

    Pretty pleased to stay with them and still have something at the end. We don’t get many race opportunities here so its good to make something of the ones that come along. I’m just so out of the habit of riding in big, fast bunches that I was just hanging off the back and staying nervously out of trouble for the first 50k.

    All that training seems to have been good preparation though. Who knew..

  7. @ChrisO
    Awesome ride, Chris!!

  8. Cool looking climb.

  9. @Marko
    Very nice. The image info gave the location, as I wondered where it was.
    Col de Chaussy, in the Rhone-Alpes.

  10. @Marko
    Holy smokes! There had better be a brew house at the top of that bugger!

  11. all this messaging about bicycles and riding is making me crave the real thing… off for a nice, blow off work, afternoon ride!

  12. picture of today’s ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  13. @Anjin-san
    Wow, you live by the BRP? Amazing country. How you like your Firecrests?

    Beautiful bike – love how you matched the tape/hoods to the front end and saddle to the rear in full Rule #8 compliance!


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