It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them – Ernest Hemingway
The beauty of riding a bicycle uphill and the sense of achievement it brings is at odds with the suffering that’s ultimately endured to reach the summit, but cyclists continue to be drawn to roads which point skyward in a bid to ride higher, further and faster.
It’s in our DNA, as cyclists, to climb and some of the most feared roads in the world are also the most revered. Every rider has their own list of must-ride climbs and this is ours.
Our list is confined to Europe and by no means exhaustive – share your stories of your favourite climb in the RoadCyclingUK forum – but includes climbs which capture the imagination, be it for the prestige they hold within professional cycling, the beauty of the landscape, or the downright difficult in pedaling a bike over such terrain.
Here are 12 climbs for your bucket list.