Porlock Hill - Exmoor (Cat 2)

The southwest has some absolute brutal climbs. There were a few we could have chosen here, with Haytor being the other strong contender.

But we chose Porlock Hill because of its pure steepness. Dubbed the steepest A road in the UK, it climbs up onto Exmoor from the coastal village of Porlock. It has some epic views too.

Overall, Porlock Hill is 3.94km long with an elevation gain of 366m. How steep is Porlock Hill? Well the average gradient is 9.3%. But don't let that fool you. As with most climbs in the UK the gradient is rarely constant. In the early sections of the climb, you'll tackle a maximum gradient of up to 23.5% gradient.

Your legs are full of lactate right away. If you can hold on, the climb will eventually flatten out near the top giving you wonderful views of the channel and the coast. Porlock Hill requires some real effort just to make it to the top.

Going for the K/QOM?

The KOM is currently held by Andrew Feather at a time of 12:52, with an average power of 422w. The QOM is currently held by Lilli Gardner at a time of 14:59 with an average power of 262W.

Ffordd Penllech (Harlech) - Wales

The steepest street in the world? According to the Guinness World Records, this is it. Making it an epic climb to attempt to cycle up.

Welsh Cycling recently celebrated its status as the world's steepest street by closing it to cars for a hill climb. With the best riders in the UK battling out on the 40% ramps.

This climb is a wall. There's no other description for it. The steepest sections are towards the bottom however this climb rarely relents. A bonus is its length. It's a relatively short effort, but the real challenge is just to keep moving!

It's 330 meters long with an elevation gain of 54 meters. It has an average gradient of 16.1% with pitches of up to 40%.

Going for the K/QOM?

The KOM of the proclaimed steepest hill in the world is currently held by Callum Brown in a time of 51 seconds, with an average power of 1,012w. The QOM is currently held by Jess Evans at a time of 1:45 with an average power of 361W.

Hardknott Pass - Lake District (Cat 3)

The Lake District is synonymous with gruelling steep roads. Made even more tricky by rough surfaces. It's home to arguably the country's most famous sportive - the Fred Whitton. The Fred Whitton has been compared in difficulty to some of Europe's toughest loops, like the Marmotte.

Hardknott Pass is perhaps the most infamous climb on the loop. It's 2.6km long with an elevation gain of 315 meters. Hardknott Pass gradient? It has an average gradient of 12.1% but frequent ramps over 20%. This one is a real knee wobbler.

Check out our article on 5 UK cycling staycations. Unsurprisingly, the Lake District, with Hardknott and Wrynose Pass features with steep climb heaven.

Going for the K/QOM?

The KOM on Hardknott Pass is held by Andrew Feather at a time of 9:15, with an average power of 461w. The QOM is currently held by Mary Wilkinson at a time of 14:03.

Cheddar Gorge - Somerset (Cat 4)

Known locally as 'the Gorge', the climb out of the village of Cheddar is a cycling hotspot in the south.

It's a climb of two halves, which makes pacing tough. The first half is brutally steep however it does flatten off in the second half.

In total, the climb is 3.66km in length with an elevation gain of 153 meters. The average gradient is just 4.1%. However, this climb kicks up at the beginning with a maximum gradient of an eye-watering 35.5%.

Going for the K/QOM?

The KOM is currently held by José Neves at a time of 7:18, with an average power of 394w. An effort expended during the 2018 Tour of Britain. The QOM is currently held by Nicole Coates at a time of 8:46 with an average power of 264W.

Cairn O'Mount - Scotland (Cat 3)

Is this the steepest road in Scotland? Scotland has some massive road climbs. Bealach na Bà is the one most talked about, as one of few category 1 road climbs in the United Kingdom. This is largely due to its length of 9.32km. We decided to opt for an even steeper summit - Cairn O'Mount.

Cairn O'Mount from the south side is 3.35km with an elevation gain of 319 meters. It has an average gradient of 9.5%. However this climb starts shallower and steepens towards the top. With sections up towards 20%.

The gradient is rarely constant. And this makes it a really difficult climb to pace your effort. You need to save some energy in the early sections because the last kilometre is the hardest. A truly steep hill.

Going for the K/QOM?

The KOM is currently held by Jacob Smith at a time of 11:03. The QOM is currently held by Kirsten Halliday at a time of 13:40 with an average power of 243W.

Ditchling Beacon - Sussex (Cat 4)

This snake-like pass could be in the French countryside. But Sussex also has its fair share of ramps. Ditchling Beacon is often tackled on the London to Brighton cycle route.

The climb is 1.46km long with an elevation gain of 139m. It has an average gradient of 9.4% with sections that exceed 15%.

Going for the K/QOM?

The KOM is currently held by Thomas Gloag at a time of 3:52, with an average power of 515w. The QOM is currently held by Maryka Sennema at a time of 4:57 with an average power of 311W.

How to ride steep climbs?

Ready to take on these steep climbs. Here are some tips for steep gradients.

Steep climbs require a different approach to long climbs. On a long climb, you can settle into a rhythm and remain largely seated in the saddle.

However a steep climb you're going to have to attack it a bit more. Don't be afraid to get out of the saddle and let your weight push down on the pedals. Feel free to rock from side to side if that helps, but keep your upper body relaxed.

If you need to go sideways across the road to relieve some of the gradients, go for it. Just make sure you stick to your side of the road.

Check out 4 unmissable routes to ride in Yorkshire - featuring some of Yorkshire's steepest climbs.

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