Are you searching for in-depth information on the Prudential RideLondon route and, in particular, the hills?!
If so, this is for you.
In this article we look at the three toughest hills on the Ride 100 route profile: what they’re like and what you can expect.
Note: in November 2021, the organisers of RideLondon announced the RideLondon route would be moving from Surrey to Essex. This article is about the route when it went through Surrey, before 2021.
RideLondon 100 GPX route
A few points to note:
Hill 1: Newlands Corner
(The Easiest Hill)
The official map marks this as a 5% climb, and our RideWithGPS stats say it’s got an 8% maximum gradient.
The climb comes at around 45 miles in on a wide road that’s got a good surface. The gradients are steady without any really nasty kick-ups or surprises.
There are some lovely views from the top of Newlands Corner, though you’ll only get a momentary glimpse of them if you’re riding on through; a few seconds later they’re gone as you descend down towards Abinger Hammer.
Want a different challenge in Surrey?! Check out our favourite rides in our free guide to cycling the Surrey Hills.
Hill 2: Leith Hill
(The Hardest Hill)
This is the most difficult of the main three climbs.
It comes at around 55 miles and takes you up Leith Hill, which is the highest point in the south-east, at a grand 294 metre above sea level.
The official map marks it as a 7% climb and our RideWithGPS stats show a maximum gradient of 10%.
Most of the climb is thinly wooded, so don’t expect much by the way of views. The road is also quite narrow the whole way up.
The gradients start out relatively gently, but soon ramp up and the road is pretty steep as you come to the beautiful, long, red-brick wall of the National Trust’s Leith Hill Place. You follow the wall for a few hundred metres climbing ever-upwards on high-sided, green banked roads.
You meet the intersection of three roads that form a triangle and the Leith Hill climb flattens out a bit. However soon after the intersection there’s a final kick in the slope for the last 500m or so – so be prepared!
Simon Warren’s excellent 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs gives Leith Hill a 6 out of 10 rating (where 1 is hard and 10 is “it’s all you can do to keep your bike moving”).
Ridden Leith Hill and want more hills like it?! Check out our Surrey Hills ride guide!
Hill 3: Box Hill
(The most famous and pretty hill)
Box Hill is easily the best-known climb in the south-east. That fame is at least partly due to its prestigious role in the 2012 Olympic road race. However, it’s also one of the only hills with switchbacks, the views are sublime and there is a very convenient National Trust café that serves big chunks of cake at the top.
So there are lots of reasons that Box Hill is famous – but being very hard isn’t one of them.
The official map marks it as a 5% climb and our RideWithGPS stats show a maximum gradient of 12%.
The climb starts under a tunnel of trees, but soon opens out to the right-hand-side as you round a hairpin and you can see the steep slope rising upwards. Luckily you’re not heading straight up that – but instead follow the hill around, on to a forested hairpin which comes about halfway up the climb. That first, long straight can feel pretty leg-sapping.
Soon you’re round the second switchback and out of the trees again. Here there are more spectacular views across the valley.
There’s one more forested hairpin and then you’re passing (or stopping at!) the café and viewpoint at the top (see the banner photo).
While the stats are relatively harmless, remember you’ll be hitting Box Hill with 65 miles in your legs. It’s also worth knowing that the climb doesn’t really finish at the café or viewpoint – it rises all the way through Box Hill Village (though at a lesser gradient)…
In better news, thanks to the 2012 road race, the surface is excellent and the road is also relatively wide. Gradients remain relatively steady so it’s possible to maintain a rhythm.
Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs gives Box Hill a 3 out of 10 rating (details of the ratings are mentioned above, and, just in case you’re wondering, Newlands Corner doesn’t feature in the book!).
Inspired to ride Box Hill? Check out our Box Hill loop for a ride that’s much better than RideLondon!
Honourable mention: Wimbledon Hill
Before we finish, it feels right to give an honourable mention to Wimbledon Hill. The steep section is only around 400 metres long, but an average 5.5% gradient is going to feel hard work after 90 or so miles! Worth saving something in the tank to get up and over this at the end of the day.
And finally – good luck! Enjoy and stay safe!
Like to do some more cycling in Surrey?
We live in the Surrey Hills, and we love it. Check out our guide to cycling in the Surrey Hills including our GPX route files, guides, information on bike hire and when to ride.
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