Time to challenge yourself
There’s more to mountain biking than just descending — good climbs can be just as rewarding, challenge our leg and lung power and push our mental strength
We’ve gathered our four favourite climbs from across the UK that are guaranteed to get you sweating… We promise the descent will be worth it though!
Black Combe, Lake District
13.7km (8.5 miles)
It’s not often you get a ride from the sea up to a summit, but Black Combe on the western fringes of the Lakes is just such a spot. Chances are you’ll be the only rider on the hill too, thanks to the remote location. The ascent has 500m vertical of all-rideable climbing, before you’re rewarded with cracking views of Ireland and a high-speed descent back down.
Start at the big slip road (Landranger 96 SD136827) by the A595 and head south, turn L onto a metalled road at Whicham and climb all the way to the summit. The descent is dead ahead and loops you all the way back round to the road.
Cadair Idris, Snowdonia
24.5km (15.2 miles)
Cadair Idris doesn’t have the height or the fame of its big cousin Snowdon, but it’s arguably a better ride. For starters you can actually climb it… well, most of it, the top is a carry. It’s fun to climb and descend too thanks to technical and challenging rocks, a fairly constant gradient and a pretty firm surface under wheel.
Park at Abergynolwyn (Landranger 124 SH672089), head west on Llanegryn Street, turn right at the telephone box, climb till the road runs out and turn off right. Climb to the summit, then bomb it back down.
Watch MBR rides the Kona Hei Hei trail bike
Jacob’s Ladder, Peak District
22km (13.7 miles)
Make no mistake, Jacob’s Ladder is exceptionally difficult to ride and there aren’t many that can clean it in one. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a go. It’s iconic and, when broken down into manageable parts, rewarding.
Start at Edale car park and head on road to Upper Booth. Follow the road until it turns into a rough track, veer left at the fork and climb Jacob’s Ladder. Drop down the other side, go L at Coldwell Clough and contour back round Brown Knoll. Turn L onto Chapel Gate and follow it home.
Middle Moor, Peak District
15km (9.3 miles)
Climbing up to Kinder Reservoir through the heather is a pleasure — challenging but with great views. There are more climbs in the middle rolling section too and then an exhilarating singletrack descent to finish.
From Hayfield, head north-east up the Snake Path; the gate at the top marks the start of the fun. Return via Plainsteads, Matley Moor and Lantern Pike.