Cyclone Festival of Cycling, an event for riders of all abilities and ages

Cyclone Festival of Cycling

12 Treherne Road, High West Jesmond, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne NE2 3NP

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Cyclone Climb Guides

Cyclone Climb Guides

May 13, 2024 | 1month | GENERAL

Here are some rider guides to help you prepare for the Cyclone Challenge Rides' more notable hills.

Note: Some of the videos were shot several years ago - the lengths of our 4 rides have been tweaked in the interim. For full mapping, climbing and distance info, visit our routes page. For everything else you need to know about the event, visit the Challenge Rides homepage.

The Ryals 

Where in the Challenge Rides does this climb occur?
109 Mile Ride @ 92.5 miles / 93 Mile Ride @ 75 miles / 65 Mile Ride @ 46.5 miles

Let's start with The Ryals climb that will also feature in the Curlew Cup and Beaumont Trophy races later in the year. It's not a typical climb in that it is actually three ramps, separated by short, flat and slightly downhill sections of respite. The first ramp is relatively easy, but the second and third are much more severe. There's something slightly un-nerving about the variations of effort that this combination throws at you. The "100 Climbs" author, Simon Warren rightly features The Ryals in his book, Climbs of North East England, where he describes it as "a climb that has forced many cyclists to their knees". If you're riding the Challenge Rides, remember that the Ryals is relatively late in all three of the longer rides. Save some energy for it, because it is the proverbial sting in the tail of all three! Our organiser, Peter Harrison, gave us his take on the climb a few years ago - see what he had to say in the video below:

Cyclone Guides - The Ryals Climb from Cyclone Cycling Festival on Vimeo.

The Gibbet 

Where in the Challenge Rides does this climb occur?
93 Mile Ride @ 54 miles

The Gibbet climb (aka Winter's Gibbet) only features in our 93 mile route, yet it is well known and respected in the NE cycling community. Again, it features variations in gradient, with the steepest sections actually at the foot of the climb. It's also relatively long at 2 miles, with a gain of 500 feet. Simon Warren featured this climb, too, in his book Cycling Climbs of the North East. Locals will tell you that this climb is also very weather dependent, with the entire length extremely exposed to winds from virtually any direction. You should pray for a North-Easterly or a still day. With a tail wind it's a fun climb with an even more enjoyable blast past Harwood Forest on the following descent. 

Cyclone Climbs - The Gibbet from Cyclone Cycling Festival on Vimeo.


Where in the Challenge Rides does this climb occur?
109 Mile Ride @ 51 miles / 93 Mile Ride @ 51 miles

Bilsmoor is shorter than the Gibbet, but steeper and equally exposed to the wind. The final third of the climb is absolutely straight and is a great place to chase down slower riders! A final tip on this climb - pause a minute at the top and take in the views. We think you get the best views of the whole ride, but they will be behind you on the climb and you'll miss them if you don't stop!

Cyclone Guides - Bilsmoor Climb 2018 from Cyclone Cycling Festival on Vimeo.

Garleigh Moor 

Where in the Challenge Rides does this climb occur?
109 Mile Ride @ 26 miles / 93 Mile Ride @ 26 miles 

And, though not strictly a climb, here's another important upland section of the Cyclone Challenge Rides. Garleigh Moor is simply a stunning section of the longer routes and the landscapes you'll encounter vary from windswept pasture, through heather moor and stony upland, through the arable farming and eventually, river valley and market town as you head into Rothbury.

Cyclone Guides - Garleigh Moor from Cyclone Cycling Festival on Vimeo.

Dunterly Fell

Where in the Challenge Rides does this climb occur?
109 Mile Ride @ 66 miles

Less than a mile in length, but with a solid incline of 8%, Dunterly Fell comes just after the half-way point of the 109 mile ride and takes in one of the most remote and beautiful fellsides of the entire ride. We have watched the event from here o several occasions and this appears to be a particularly stinging climb. Simon Warren also features this climb in his Climbs of NE England book and he notes that it's the two distinct bends on the way up that are the focus for suffering. Dunterly Fell also marks the start of one of the most sustained stretches of high ground on the ride, before the steep descent into Wark.

Hareshaw Head

Where in the Challenge Rides does this climb occur?
109 Mile Ride @ 57 miles

This is best described as a stealth climb. It's a stretch of over 3.5 miles where you will be climbing constantly, without ever having the sense that you're on a single, specific climb. But the stats don't lie and not only is this the longest climb of the Cyclone Challenge Rides (and with almost 600 foot of climbing) it also takes you to the highest point on the 109 miler, at 1021 feet. Surprisingly, there's a house and a substantial tree at the summit. The following descent into Bellingham is a cracker!

Whitley Hill

Where in the Challenge Rides does this climb occur?
34 Mile Ride @ 20 miles

Although neither steep nor long (a mile at 3-4%), this is still a significant climb in that it takes the 34 mile route to its highest point on a draggy road with a number of steeper ramps. It's not quite all downhill from here, but you're past the half-way point and heading for home, with the Stamfordham feed station just down the road. 





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