This is part one of a two-part series diving into the UK’s best-kept cycling secret: hill climb racing. Check back soon for the second installment.
The steepest climbs, the strangest bikes, and the most zealous fans. Welcome to the wild and wacky world of UK hill climb racing.
The British hill climb calendar sees racers in skinsuits, dinosaur outfits, and anything in between riding stripped-down, modded-out bikes up the shortest, most severe climbs in the nation.
Playing out across a condensed two-month autumn schedule, hill climb (HC) racing is serious stuff for the dedicated few, barely known by the wider world, and one of the last outposts of old-school, no-frills racing.
“There’s a lot of contrasts. You’ve got riders in race suits on modern bikes that are tweaked out to be as lightweight as possible – but then you have some school hall as HQ and there’s a massive spread of home-baked cakes,” recently crowned national HC champion Tom Bell told VeloNews.