Britain's Baby Zoncolan? How we found maybe the steepest cycling climb in the country

Deep in the dark heart of Wales, climbing nut Simon Warren thinks he has discovered Britain’s steepest hill. This is the story of how he found it and just how painful it is to ride

Abdon Ddu
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

“There’s always a bigger fish.” That’s what the ancient proverb says, and just when I thought I’d ridden the steepest road in Britain, and put the matter of determining the country's toughest cycling climb to bed once and for all, up popped another hideous incline to further move the goalposts and redefine suffering.

When I first tackled Hardknott Pass in the Lake District I assumed nothing could ever beat that, but then a few years after I discovered the road up to Abdon Burf in the Shropshire Hills and my perception of torture was changed. A while later the utterly horrendous Cowlyd in north Wales found its way onto my radar and again the slate was wiped clean and a new standard was set.

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Simon Warren

Simon has been riding for over 30 years and has a long connection with Cycling Weekly, he was once a designer on the magazine and has been a regular contributor for many years. Arguably, though, he is best known as the author of Cycling Climbs series of books. Staring with 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs in 2010, Simon has set out to chronicle and, of course, ride the toughest cycling climbs across the UK and Europe. Since that first book, he's added 11 more, as well Ride Britain which showcases 40 inspirational road cycling routes. Based in Sheffield, Yorkshire, Simon continues to keep riding his bike uphill and guides rides, hosts events and gives talks on climbing hills on bikes!