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Great Dun Fell


On the 2nd September 2014 I rode up Great Dun Fell  - an ascent of 638m in 7.45km (2093ft in 4.6 miles) - on my 2010 ICE Sprint trike, accompanied by my son Richard.

In case you are unaware, Simon Warren in his book “ANOTHER 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs” describes Great Dun Fell as “...the greatest climb in has no peers...there is no comparison...Great Dun Fell is simply unique”.

I was on holiday in the Lake District with my son Richard, who rode up Great Dun Fell two years ago and always wanted to repeat the journey. If we rode together he promised to take it easy and take some photos. We very rarely ride together, as he rides a very light carbon Canyon (and is half my age) hence I agreed to have a go.

The weather was perfect, and we debated whether to warm up with a 30-60 minute ride ahead of the hill, but in the end decide just to go for it. Within 10 mins of starting the gradient is 17% and remains there for most of the time, occasionally kicking up to sections of 20 & 25%. There are two gates which gave a good excuse to rest, and we rested once more. Overall ascent time was 1 hour 15 mins, which is slow compared to 38 mins by Richard, and 26 mins is the KOM on Strava.

On Strava there are only about 1000 people who have ridden this hill, and I wondered if am the first to do it on a trike. The trike is standard with a 9-32 cassette, 20 inch wheels, 26/36/48 chain rings. I rode the bike in normal riding trim, with bar bag, but decided that I did not need the flag or lights as there is no traffic.

It shows that you can take a trike virtually anywhere that a conventional cycle can go, even up the highest hill in England.

The journey back down was fantastic. A lot of restraint was needed to keep the speed under control. I managed a top speed of 43 mph which felt very fast on the very narrow road.

Written by Derek Gamble