The cycling mania has taken over. Bicycling participation among Americans is substantially greater than initially thought, according to a study. More than 103 million people in the country ride bikes. More and more turn the mere habit into a recreational sport. Many avid bikers dream of conquering a sky high ridge or some of the most difficult and mythical Tour de France climbs. Mastering tougher and tougher rides becomes addictive – they are constantly looking for even more epic paths to ride on two wheels. They often seem much easier than they really are.
The road, especially the last mile to Dante’s, is very steep. But with it comes 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 part, but just as scenic.
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.
The Berbenno-Caldenno is in Lombardy. This 9.3-mile ascent is known for how incredibly steep the last two miles 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.
The Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb is the original bicycle race up the road and is deemed the “toughest hillclimb in the world.” Some have even called it a “cycle to the clouds.” This is a 7.6-mile uphill race to the top of the highest peak in the northeastern U.S., with winds often exceeding 40 mph. The average grade is 12 percent. The last 100 yards are 22 percent grade.
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 in 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 deep valleys to the side.
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, also known as Cristo Redentor, has a 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.
Climb by Bike has ranked Col de l’Herpie in Rhone-Alpes as the third most difficult bike climb in the entire world. You start at a height of 2,391 feet above sea level and ascend to almost 10,000 feet. Its difficult score – calculated using difference in height, distance in meters and top of mountain in meters – is 343.57. In comparison, the score of Le Mauna Kea, the most difficult climb is 368.76.
Don’t even consider testing it with anything but a tough and reliable mountain bike. The infamous and challenging 17,769-foot Thorong La Pass at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau is by far one of the toughest climbs on the planet.
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.
Alto de l’Angliru, also referred to as the Gramonal, is by far one of the toughest mountain 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.
Pico Basilé is the tallest mountain of Equatorial Guinea with an altitude of 9,878 feet. The ride uphill is 20.5 miles long at an average gradient of 8.4 percent. The ascent during the ride is more than 9,100 feet.
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.
Pedaling 7,710 vertical feet to the top of Colorado's Pikes Peak, this fifth hardest climb in the states and No. 1 in Colorado, is an epic adventure that should be on every avid cyclist’s bucket list. The ride is absolutely gorgeous but very tough – nearly 8,000 feet of straight climbing up to 14,110 feet. There is 3 percent less oxygen for every 1,000 feet of climbing, according to PJAMM Cycling.