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It’s a hill, get over it: The hardest cycling climbs in London

London has many hills, but which are the most challenging for cyclists?

Special offers were on display at this year's bicycle trade fair in Stuttgart, Germany, as industry players tried to unload stocks
Special offers were on display at this year's bicycle trade fair in Stuttgart, Germany, as industry players tried to unload stocks - Copyright AFP THOMAS KIENZLE
Special offers were on display at this year's bicycle trade fair in Stuttgart, Germany, as industry players tried to unload stocks - Copyright AFP THOMAS KIENZLE

Nearly a quarter of those living in the U.K. (23 percent) say they do not cycle because it is too hilly where they live. This comes from a survey compiled by Swytch Technology, a UK’s e-bike conversion company.

Swytch Technology has created the Swytch Kit, which can convert any conventional bike into an e-bike, making climbing up hills and commuting much easier.

Swytch Technology, along with Dario, a cycle-commuter with over 35 years of experience riding through London, has compiled a list of five of the hardest climbs in the UK’s capital. The details have been shared with Digital Journal. London is a deceptively hilly capital.

Dario has recounted his experiences in an email: “Cycling can be hard in London. I always started in South London, near Swanley, which meant I had to cycle through South London’s hilly roads. I usually enjoyed the challenge, but sometimes it would have been nice if it were easier, especially when it was cold and wet in the winter and I was carrying a big bag.”

The five toughest climbs Dario has come across in London are:

Plumb Lane: 1.5km at 5%

Dario says: “On paper, Plumb Lane doesn’t look so hard, but it’s length and a steep 200-meter section topping out at a whopping 20% (1 in 5) make it a lot harder than it first seems, being regarded as one of the hardest climbs in London.”

Shooters Hill – 1km at 6%

Dario recollects: “The highest point in South London, Shooters Hill is notorious, not just because it is steep, but because of the nature of the hill – it’s long, straight and only gets steeper toward the top. Maxing out at 10%, this hill is a brute!”

Lewisham Hill – 0.75km at 6%

Dario indicates: “Underrated in terms of its difficulty, Lewisham Hill is hard because the gradient gets consistently steeper as you go, before mercifully levelling out towards the end as it leads to the views of Greenwich Park.”

Swains Lane – 1km at 7.5%

Dario describes the challenge: “Located in Highgate in North London, and home to the Urban Hill Climb Challenge, Swains Lane is infamous for its super-steep gradients, topping out at a leg-numbing 26 percent, over 1 in 4. Try this climb at your own peril – you have been warned.”

Crooms Hill – 0.6km at 6.5%

Dario explains: “Crooms Hill is another which seems easier on paper, but being exposed on one side by Greenwich Park, on a windy day this climb can really bite, and with a maximum gradient of 10%, Crooms Hill was often the hardest part.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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