Saturday, April 25, 2015

Northeast Edition Climbing Guide Book

A few readers may be familiar with John Summerson's series of books titled "The Complete Guide to Climbing (by bike)." First in the series featured the 100 toughest climbs in the United States. Several New England climbs made the selection. Since that release, John has published other regional guides, such as California, Colorado and the southeast.

Now John has released a Northeast edition. It features 172 climbs from New England and eastern New York. Detailed descriptions are provide with key stats. Profiles are given for the top 50 climbs. Here's are a couple excerpts from Kingsley Hill Rd:

"Isolated Kingsley Hill Road, located in northwestern Massachusetts, is a severe and unique ascent on a very narrow road. The first half mile of this one is simply the steepest I have found in the continental United States. Don't blink in the small town of Monroe Bridge or you will miss the turnoff. The rough surface adds to the difficulty along with a significant stretch of 20+% grade. If you survive the first half mile, keep going as the first mile of Kingsley Hill Road is also one of the steepest around."

"Crux stretch - The first half mile, which may be the steepest of this length in the United States, could end up terminating your attempt at this hill."

Yep, I've seen young studs have to put a foot down on that one.  Many more details are provided on the Kingsley climb, as well as every climb covered in the book.

Over the years, cyclists familiar with my website,, have suggested I publish a guidebook. That effort seemed daunting to me. They'd say "but Doug, you already have all the content." Well, maybe not enough to fill a book. I don't know the first thing about publishing, and my day job eats up well more than 40 hours of my week the way it is. Publishing a niche book like this would have been a break-even proposition for me at best. It would have been a labor of love, just like my website was when I was regularly adding content.

But now John has published a quite comprehensive guide to all the climbs we love, and even a few in my neck of the woods I hadn't heard of. He did his research and used first-hand knowledge for nearly every climb featured. Look for a copy on Amazon (says temporarily out of stock, but John assures me they have them). I have a couple copies, Order yours today.

At some point I will retire my website. It has grown stale due to lack of regular upkeep. If I were retired, I'd keep it going. My investment of time in has paid back dividends many fold. I've met some of my best friends through the website. I've enjoyed private email dialog resulting from the website with hundreds of hillclimb enthusiasts over the years. But the cyber landscape has evolved in the 17 years since I first stated a web page. Facebook and Strava vie for and capture much of our attention these days. Blogs have pretty much fallen by the wayside too. So now we carve out our little space with a billion others in these media.


Doug said...

I hope retiring your site doesn't mean pulling offline!

Anonymous said...

How much was clipped from your site or found on your site and further expanded upon?

Hill Junkie said...

John didn't lift anything directly from my site. He states in the book he has first hand knowledge of 170 of the 172 climbs presented. Climbs are presented in similar detail to the race climbs I show on my site. Many details are given, such as the precise start and stop, particularly steep sections, road surface, etc. Full set of stats are given for each climb too. Top 50 climbs have detailed profiles, similar to the ones I give for race climbs. So the book give much more detail and many additional climbs than what is featured on my site.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're not retiring your blog. I've really enjoyed reading about your rides and races over the years. Your blog is at the top of my cycling reading list.

Anonymous said...

Doug, any chance you could create some regional Strava challenges?

A 50-60 mile Kingdom Trail and FOMBA/Bear Brook would be interesting.Or perhaps a 10-20 mile Horse Hill. I don't get a chance to ride that much, but I do use your blog and Strava rides as a guide and motivation.


Paul said...

Even without any more updates, your web site is a great resource. Better than any printed book I've seen.

I wasn't a big fan of John's first book; it had numerous mistakes and even spelling errors (Auscutney?) - hopefully the new one is better done.