Following on from our climbing tips, we thought it would be a good idea to give you some places to test them out.
The typical measure of how steep a climb is its grade, but it’s not always that simple. Few of these climbs are relentlessly steep, but some ramp up in all the wrong places, particularly at a point where there’s nothing left in the tank.
So, these climbs have been ranked according to how close they have come to dislodging some dinner on the way up. Our so-called Lunch-launcher rating is on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being certain roadside embarrassment.
There are two ways to attack Caerphilly Mountain from Rhiwbina, but this is probably the most unpleasant. Starting out in a housing estate just off Heol-y-Deri, the climb heads up and over the M4 where the intensity is ramped up and doesn’t let up until near the top. Lunch-launcher rating for this one is 9.
The climb onto Eglwysilan, rather like the Wenallt is relentless. It starts steep, but gets progressively steeper. It’s steep enough that it becomes difficult to stay in your saddle without raising the front wheel as you pedal. Lunch-launcher rating of 8.5 on this, but at least the view from the top is pretty good.
The Chain Stretcher – Treforest Estate Station to Efail Isaf
Our new favourite, this one. It’s steep as heck, but gradually levels off towards a farm, where it then descends into Efail Isaf. Lunch launcher rating of 7 on this one. It’s steep, but manageable.
You can also extend it by taking a left at the pub and heading towards Pentyrch. It’s a very pretty route, but expect some slow-moving traffic.
Here we are effectively attacking Eglwysilan again, but from the other side. This time, climbing out of Senghenydd, taking a left on Commercial Street onto an unassuming lane you head up and over Bwlch Carnygelli before heading down the other side into Nelson. Lunch-launcher rating of 5 here, but the journey there from Cardiff may mean that you have already scaled our next one already…
The steepest part of this climb, mercifully is at the start as you pass over the M4, but you can see most of it ahead of you, adding to the mental challenge. However, it is easier than all of the others, unless you ride past the Black Cock and take on the climb to the A469 as well.
It’s a good one to hone your skills on and is easy to incorporate into a long ride back to somewhere like Tongwynlais or Caerphilly. Lunch-launcher rating of 4 here. If you have the time and you do ride up to join the A469, take the hill down to the roundabout & the Old Nantgarw Road. Follow it all the way to Upper Boat, where you can take on the Chain Stretcher as well.
Head up the Garth from the pub, where the steepest part of the climb can be found. Here it peaks at around 30%, dipping to around 24% at the hairpin. However, from here on in it gets easier and, despite a few false summits you are virtually home and dry.
Whilst it has a fearsome reputation, it’s actually one of the more pleasant ways up the Garth. The competition is the Chain Stretcher above and Heol Goch, which is a horrid way up thanks to all the traffic. Go up here, descent Heol Goch rather than the other way around!
Lunch Launcher rating of 7 on this one.
Have we missed out your favourite? Why not let us know which one and what Lunch-launcher rating you would give it!
From the responses we’ve had already, there was a need for a sequel. Here you go…