Hell of the north: Paris – Roubaix, 1919

Cycling is full of hyperbole and cliche. Epic, hell, brutal. It’s rarely any of these.

And then you see the images of the first Paris-Roubaix race after World War 1. A ride through hell. This is the origin of Paris-Roubaix’s nickname as the ‘Hell of the North’.

“This wasn’t a race. It was a pilgrimage.”
Henri PĂ©lissier, speaking of his 1919 victory.

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Riding the cobbles of Ronde Van Calderdale

Ronde Van Calderdale cyclingCobbles and cycling. Belgium right? The Classics of the early season calendar. Moules et frites. Passionate fans, grim weather, steep climbs. Not Halifax, England. Pie and chips, bleak post-industrial landscapes and well, cobbles, steep climbs and the desolate moorland.

This is the scene for the Ronde Van Calderdale route, a tribute to the Spring Classic races in Belgium but most definitely British. The route climbs a whopping 3,000 metres over 75 miles, many of which are up very, very steep cobbled climbs.

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