Luke Mellor's Shropshire Lumps
Team JLT Condor rider, Luke Mellor, guides us through a maze of single-track road climbs over the Long Mynd to the adjacent ridge of Stiperstones, crowned by a line of spooky-looking crags where Satan is said to have held court.
Nicknamed Little Switzerland, the Shropshire hills and its Long Mynd climb won't exactly give the Matterhorn an insecurity complex, but there is a touch of the incongruously wild and Gothic about the area.
Over half the county of Shropshire has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and its heather-covered hills and valleys make for excellent riding terrain.
Luke Mellor selected his favourite 100km loop of the region with three ascends to tackle. The first, Devil's Chair, opens up amazing views of the region with a descent off the top that is fast and fun eventually bringing you out into Church Stretton, a cute town chock full of delis and coffee stops, decked out in black and white half-timbers.
Once you reach Church Stretton, climbing begins almost immediately as the route tackles the formidable Burway, before looping back into Shrewsbury for cake at Luke's favourite spot, Ginger and Co.
Rider notes: the Devil's Chair is the first climb of the ride and ascends the ridge of Stiperstones nature reserve. The summit is at The Bog, where you can grab respite at the visitor centre cafe.
Castle Hill / Ratlinghope
Rider notes: the climb is more of a linking road to Church Stretton and not too taxing. Don't go mad on it, you need to save your legs for the Burway.
Rider notes: the Burway is a lung buster and in some places the gradient stretches to over 13%. The road is twisty and there is no let up in the gradient until you reach its summit.
Ginger and Co. Coffee
30-31 Princess Street