THE WORLD’S TOUGHEST CYCLING CLIMBS

If you’re not a cyclist, you just won’t get it. Cycling uphill is gruelling, painful, arduous and oh so satisfying. There’s nothing quite like getting to the top, particularly if the top is further away than any of your mates have gone!

With the cyclist’s twisted logic in mind, the cycling buffs here at Pedal Taiwan have put together a few of the toughest and longest road climbs in the world…(spoiler alert, as everybody knows, the toughest and longest climb in the world is of course in Tawian!!)

 

Dante’s View – USA

Length: 64.8km

Maximum gradient: 13%

Vertical: 1,785m

This particular little number can be found in America’s Death Valley – if the name isn’t giving you any hints then there’s really no saving you! Summer highs regularly exceed 48 degrees.

To complete the climb, you will be required to ride from below sea level to 1700m at coffin peak (again, clue is in the name!). The weather conditions make this climb as dangerous as it is beautiful, but at 65km, it is still 20km short of the top spot!

 

Khardung Pass – India

Length: 39km

Maximum gradient: 5%

Vertical: 1,859m

The khardung pass running out from Leh, deep in the himalayas, has long attracted cyclists and motorbikes alike. Well known for being one of the highest roads in the world, it’s not so much the amount of climbing that will slow you down, but where it is.

The pass reaches heights of over 4800m above sea level, meaning that not only do you have to dodge the Chinese Army trucks rushing around on this border road, but you have to do it on severely limited oxygen! As a word of encouragement though, when your lungs are burning and you’re seeing mystical gnomes thanks to altitude sickness, just think of your VO2max gains when you get back down to sea level!

 

Paso Internacional Los Libertadores – Chile & Argentina

Length: 25km

Maximum gradient: 14%

Vertical: 1,600m

Some love them and some hate them. The marmite of cycling: hairpins.

If you’re in the former category, then this climb is not to miss. Over the 25km, 29 hairpin bends will take you high over the Andes from the chilean side, before you pass through Argentine border control to continue to the summit.

The weather is cold, and the air is thin, but just think of all those lovely slingshots you can practice out of the turns!

 

Taroko Gorge – Taiwan

Length: 85.8km

Maximum gradient: 28%

Vertical: 4210m

Ok, so we promised to save the best till last, and boy we haven’t disappointed. The longest road climb in the world will see you ride from sea level just north of Hualien City on Taiwan’s east coast, all the way to Wuling Pass, the highest road in Taiwan.

Over the course of the 86km climb, you will pass through world famous marble gorges, lush tropical mountain climbs, alpine style hairpin bends and rugged mountain peaks. Gaining over 3000m in altitude, means you will experience a ride like no other, passing through 4 clear and distinct eco systems. From the tropical paradise at sea level, ride up through the cloud forest, and out into an evergreen mountain scape, almost entirely untouched by human settlement.

Described as a right of passage by pro-cyclist Vincenzo Nibaly, this is the the climb to end all climbs. There will be sweat, there will be pain, and from time to time, we’ve had tears. But as any cyclist knows, there’s nothing quite like getting to the top.

 

For more information on Taiwan, and how you can explore this magical country by bike, drop us a line at info@pedaltaiwan.com or check out our tour dates here

 

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