Rila, Bulgaria from Most Insane Bike Rides You Don’t Want to Miss
Most Insane Bike Rides You Don’t Want to Miss
Most Insane Bike Rides You Don’t Want to Miss
Many avid bikers dream of conquering a sky high ridge or some of the most difficult and mythical Tour de France climbs. Whether it’s for the adrenaline rush or the awe-inspiring views, the ride makes the risks coming with it – acute mountain sickness and difficulties breathing because of the extreme heights – worth it. Daredevil cyclists go for steep, unpaved, rock-lined cliff edges and hairpin turns. Rolls, zigzagging and rocky trails won’t stop them. After all, driving won’t get you to many stunning places that mountain biking will. This is just one reason why you should try it. You won’t ever be bored.
Mont Ventoux, France
Mont Ventoux is often called the hardest of all the mythical Tour de France climbs. The current record for ascending it is held by Spanish cyclist Iban Mayo. He climbed the mountain in 55' 51". “The Ventoux is a god of Evil, to which sacrifices must be made. It never forgives weakness and extracts an unfair tribute of suffering,” Roland Barthes, a French philosopher and bicycle racing fan, says. All three routes have steep climbing, gradient of 3.6, 7.5 or 10 percent and an elevation of at least around 2,300 feet.
Passo dello Stelvio, Italy
This is one of the most beautiful climbs in the world. It’s also a brutal race. The Grandondo Stelvio Santini allows bikers to pit themselves against legendary climbs and follow in the pedal strokes of some of the greatest icons cycling has ever known. There are three routes –a short (37 miles and almost 6,400 feet of ascent), medium (86 miles and 10,000 feet of ascent) and long (95 miles and 13,300 feet of ascent).
The Alto de L'Angliru, Spain
Alto de l’Angliru, also referred to as the Gramonal, is by far one of the toughest mountains passes in the world. Even some professional cyclists have refused to climb it. It’s incredibly demanding – about 7.5 miles, with an average 9.9 percent slope. The top of the climb is 5,161 feet above sea level. The height difference is 4,154 feet. The steepest part, the Cueña les Cabres at 23.6 percent, is 1.9 miles from the summit.
Le Mauna Kea, Hawaii
Le Mauna Kea is ranked the most difficult climb in the world. The ascent starts from the city of Hilo, on the island’s east coast, and heads skyward for an incredible 42.6 miles to the summit at 13,835 feet, according to Road Cycling. The average gradient is 6 percent but that only hides the double-digit gradients saved for the final third of the ride. Only 12 cyclists have taken on the climb’s Strava segment.
Passo Mortirolo, Italy
This is one of the steepest climbs regularly raced up – appearing 10 times in the Giro since 1990, according to Cycling Challenge. The 7-mile climb is basically a tiny single lane road. You’ll pass 32 signed hairpin turns, mainly in the woods. (Leaving your old bandanas at No. 11 is a tradition.) The average gradient is 11 percent; the height at the start line is 1,889 feet and 6,017 feet at the finish.
Tong La Pass, Tibet
The Tong La Pass rises to 16,896 feet and, on a clear day, the views of the Himalayas are great. This is the longest uphill ride in the world, according to Climb by Bike. The Tong La Pass, located in Xizang, belongs to the Himalaya. Starting from Kodari (Nepal), the rides ascent is 62 miles long. The bikers will have to climb 11,876 feet. The average grade percentage is 3.6.
Casma – Huaraz, Peru
The bike ride from Casma to Huaraz is one of the most difficult climbs in Peru. The route gains 13,582 feet over the length of the course, which is about 65 miles, according to Catena Cycling. Bikers start in Casma at 278 feet in altitude but the gruesome ascent begins in just a few miles. Many cyclists don’t finish the route due to its roughness. The best time to bike the route is between June and September.
Bulgaria's enchanting Rila Mountains are a prime spot for cycling, according to Travel & Leisure. “The high alpine meadows, craggy granite peaks, and ancient evergreen forests within the boundaries of Rila National Park make this area unique in Eastern Europe.” The Rila Mountain is the highest mountain in Bulgaria and on the Balkan Peninsula, with the highest peak, Musala, at 9,596 feet.
Passo Giau, Italy
The Passo Giau is the sixth climb of the Maratona dles Dolomites and has featured regularly in the Giro d’Italia, according to Alpine Cycling Adventures. “The Giau is as steeped in cycling history as it is viciously steep.” The Giau is the one that all Maratona hopefuls fear the most. Bikers will be climbing the Passo Giau on the southern side from Selva di Cadore, going 3,024 miles over 6.1 miles at a leg busting average gradient of 9.3 percent.
Pico Aguila, Venezuela
The Pico Aguila is situated in Amazonas. This climb belongs to the Cordillera de los Andes. Starting from Valera, the Pico Aguila ascent is 41.11 miles long, according Climb by Bike. Over this distance, bikers climb 11,351 feet with an average grade of 5.2 percent. The maximum slope is 13 percent. Pico Aguila is the highest driving point in Venezuela; some people have trouble breathing.
Pico de Veleta, Spain
Climbing the Pico de Veleta is one of the great cycling challenges in Europe, Cycle Fiesta says. The mountain is the third highest peak in Spain, and also the highest paved road on the continent. Veleta, a 26.7-mile route, is in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Andalucia. The summit is at 11.138 feet. The total altitude gained during the climb is 8,858 feet and the average gradient is 6.5 percent. The surface is not smooth and the air gets thinner as you go higher.
Alpe d’Huez, France
Alpe d'Huez is one of the top climbs of the Tour de France. The route is known as the Dutch mountain. This has mainly to do with the many Dutch riders who won a Tour stage, according to Climb by Bike. There are 21 hairpin bends along the climb. Starting from Bourg d'Oisans, the Alpe d'Huez ascent is 8.2 miles long; with an average gradient of 8.1 percent. The maximum slope is 13 percent.
Dante’s View, Death Valley
The panoramic vistas from the top of the Black Mountains are considered to be one of the best spots in Death Valley. The road, especially the last mile to Dante's is very steep. But with it come some of the most exceptional views in the region. The ride is separated into two distinct segments, according to Pjamm Cycling. First is the 10.7 miles, which has a mild 3.3 percent grade, gaining 1,980 feet. The second is the more strenuous, but just as scenic, part of the climb at 3,450 feet, 6.2 percent grade with the final 2 miles at 9.3 percent and final half a mile at 10.6. Don’t ride in the summer as temperatures can easily reach 115F.
Khardung Pass, India
Khardung La, at an elevation of 17,582 feet above the sea level, is a high mountain pass located in the Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the highest motorable road passes of the world, according to Dangerous Roads. The roads along the way are not paved, and with the frozen mix of ice and dirt for a road it makes one slippery and narrow trail with very deep valleys to the side. “Acute Mountain Sickness can start to affect people over 7,800 feet. Khardung Pass rises to well over double that, making those final miles absolutely agonizing.”
Hardknott Pass, U.K.
This climb in the Lake District in Cumbria has an average gradient of 13 percent, abut it goes up to 33 percent at some points with a series of ruthless bends. “The first pair kick up to 20 percent while the next is the final nail in the coffin for many riders as the road reaches its maximum gradient,” according to Road Cycling UK. The total length of the ride is 1.4 miles, with an elevation of 978 feet.
Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, Chile/Argentina
Paso Internacional Los Libertadores, also known as Cristo Redentor, offers stunning vistas of Aconcagua, South America’s highest peak, and of the perfect series of switchbacks, which actually make the ride one of the most demanding in the region, according to Andes by Bike. “Wind combined with the high altitude will make for some pretty slow going.” The Argentine side of the pass is of a gentler grade and much better maintained but it has more traffic and tourists. The summit is at 12,598 feet.
Genting Highlands, Malaysia
This 19.6-mile climb rises approximately 3,608 feet in just 10.5 miles, according to Climb by Bike. The road is mainly zigzagging, with several steep and sharp bends in the first and last few miles. The average gradient is 12 to 20 percent. This climb is often featured in the annual Tour De Langkawi and is considered one of the toughest climbs in pro cycling.
Col du Jandri, France
The Col du Jandri is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 10,337 feet above sea level. It’s located in Rhone-Alpes and is one of the Top 50 highest mountain roads in Europe, according to Dangerous Roads. This runway forms the highest trafficable road, which is not paved, in the Alps and includes very steep ramps. The track still stands winding, often stony, dusty and steep. The ascent is 16.7 miles long, with elevation gain of 8,000 feet and average percentage of 9.1.
Hehuanshan – East Approach, Taiwan
Hehuanshan – East Approach is a tough climb through Taiwan’s mountainous inland to the highest road point in Northeast 10,745 feet. The ascent is about 105 miles long. Bikers climb a total of 9,835 feet. The road leads to Wuling, the highest point on the island accessible by public roads. It is narrow and twisting all the way, which is what makes it preferred by many cyclists, but also dangerous.
Berbenno – Caldenno, Italy
The Berbenno-Caldenno is in Lombardy. This 9.3-mile ascent is known for how incredibly steep the last two miles or so are, according Climb by Bike. Bikers go more than 6,600 feet in elevation. The height at the start from Berbenno di Valtellina is 1,280 feet, and the height at the finish line 7,890 feet. The average grade percentage is 13.4. The maximum slope in the end is 40 percent.