Box Hill now the most popular climb in the world

According to Strava data

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Box Hill is the most popular climb in the world, according to Strava data.

Over 103,268 cyclists have taken on the official segment – a total of 773,437 times.

So far in 2019, riders have made 20,690 attempts on the 2.5 kilometre road colloquially called the Zig Zag.

That means that Surrey’s closest thing to an alpine climb beats giants such as the Alpe d’Huez, ridden by 21,348 cyclists and Mont Ventoux with 76,656.

Averaging a five per cent incline, the ascent arguably falls into the ‘tester climb’ category enjoyed by time triallists. The King of the Mountain crown belongs to Edmund Bradbury, in four minutes 36 seconds – whilst the women’s best time belongs to ‘Greti B’, in five minutes 41, over former National Hill Climb champion Maryka Sennema, one second slower.

The climb hosted the 2012 Olympic men’s and women’s road races, but has been popular among cyclists as far back as the 1890s.

It has been maintained by the National Trust since 1914, with experts balancing care of the rare wildlife habitat with public access.

On several occasions, the road has been transformed into a one-way route, to reduce congestion caused by visiting drivers on bank holidays.

Andrew Wright, Box Hill’s Countryside Manager, says: “It’s a real phenomenon. Who’d have thought that Box Hill would be more popular than some of the great Tour de France climbs like Alpe d’Huez?

“As a conservation charity we look after Box Hill and much of the Surrey Hills, for the benefit of wildlife and the benefit it brings to people. Everyone is welcome.”

The 15,000 spectators and even larger global audience who tuned into the 2012 Olympic road races have largely been attributed to the climb’s popularity.

Gareth Mills, UK Country Manager of Strava, said: “Box Hill has been an iconic cycling destination for over a century and Strava members have embraced the challenge it presents to amateurs and professionals alike – as Greg LeMond said, it doesn’t get easier, you just get faster!

“One of the many beautiful locations cycling in the UK has to offer, Box Hill will always have a place in the public’s heart following the 2012 Olympics.

“As the most popular climb in the world on Strava, it’s definitely the place to see how you shape up against your friends.”