Distance: 1919 metres, Ascent: 186 metres, route map
Should you do this route in reverse, perhaps at the end of your climb, then the transformation is remarkable. One minute you’re on windswept rolling upland and the next you’re in a bustling valley-bottom town centre. One minute you’re in the wilds of the South Pennine countryside, the next you’re in the wilds of Todmorden. The change from town to country is without a hint of suburb or edge of town development. The reason for this will become clear when you grind your way up the hill past Tod station – it’s not easy to build on a hillside this steep. As you sweat your way up you may wish to consider that “tod morden” in German reads “death murder”. No, I don’t know what to make of that either.
The start is in the middle of Tod just to the north of the roundabout. If you head towards Burnley on the A646 then the turning for Ridge Road is immediately on your right. The mock Tudor facade of the White Hart greets you as soon as you turn in. You cycle past this and then almost immediately you need to turn right otherwise you’ll end up at the station which isn’t what you want.
The route follows the familiar local profile of being ridiculously steep to begin with. It does it so well that you may need to get out of the saddle just to keep your front wheel in touch with the ground. The OS map gives it a double chevron so you know it’s going to be fun. No hill can stay that steep forever but Doghouse Lane does try and stretch things out a little. By the time things get comfortable you’ll find yourself surrounded by countryside and being caressed by the gentle zephyrs for which the Pennines are so justly famed.
There’s no particular landmark to head for except to keep on cycling until there’s no more up. By this time you’ll have gained about 200 metres in altitude in quite a brief ride. Good effort.