/ How hard is Honister?
I could do it either way but heading SE (Buttermere to Borrowdale) would be on fresher legs so that would be my preference.
I think my easiest gear is 30/26.
West to East has the steepest stuff at the top. Going East to West has the steepest section at the bottom.
I reckon E2W is much easier.
* OK there was some** bother but I made it.
** a lot of
Starting in Keswick and going over Whinlatter then back into Borrowdale over Newlands then over Honister E2W, down the Buttermere valley and over Whinlatter back to Keswick is a great route.
Have done it twice. Managed it fine on 34:26 but found Honister really tough on 39:25.
Always assumed the W2E ascent of Honister would be worse, going down it is really scary. Very easy to over cook your brakes. Having read the earlier posts I'm keen to give it a go.
Yes, many do just that and all the other major passes as part of the Fred Whitton
Can you grind your mountain bike up it without using the granny? Road bikes basically don't have one.
I went through a phase of refusing to use my MTB granny ring on tarmac no matter how steep out of a kind of solidarity, and it was bloody painful on some of the steeper stuff in the Dales.
That's not correct, I've ground my way up Honister (and all the other lakeland passes) on my mountain bike. On my road bike I really struggle on Honister and am walking on hardknott.
I'd be a lot more confident of doing it on my MTB.
Thanks for all the replies, having been squarely defeated by the climb out of Runswick Bay on the Yorkshire coast recently I don't really fancy my chances on Honister but I'll give it a go.
My mantra: if they tarmac it i'll ride it. Has always worked so far, but I lie in Plymouth and ride a 17% hill to work every day so am used to hills. I'm rubbish on fast flat roads though.
If you go Borrowdale to Buttermere, it's the first section that's reaally steep, when you supposedly still have some legs left...so if you can grunt through that in your lowest combination, you can take heart that the worst is over in gradient terms.
My bike's lowest gearing is 24/32, much like a mountain bike but my highest is 50/11 - plenty for hooning it down long straight roads like the Grasmere side of Dunmail raise (56mph - you should try it!).
The problem is that most road bikes round here are sold with inappropriate gearing for the very varied terrain we have here, (too high, not enough range in number of teeth).
Apologies for not answering your question, but I hope this general advice is useful. East to West is easier IMO, I've done both with tent and touring gear, it's just mind over matter really.
I got over it W2E on 40x26 (and on a steel bike) during the 2011 Rivers Ride. However, I was the fittest I've ever been on the bike, having spent 6 months building up to that ride, and it hurt like several circles of hell. I would recommend a smaller gear (any compact setup should do it), but a reasonable club rider should get over it no problem.
Whichever way you do it, but particularly W2E, make sure your brakes are in good nick! The drop into Seatoller is astoundingly steep.
What is the comcensus about the best direction to ride the other Lakeland passes?
I ask because I have been thinking of doing the Fred Whitton in reverse, starting from my house in Staveley...
Wrynose and Hardknott are hard from either direction. Cold Fell has a couple of short steepish sections. Whinlatter is steady, Newlands is easier N2S, Honister is harder (as discussed above) and I think Kirkstone is harder from the north.
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