Piperstown Road (6km, 351m, 5.6%)

Map and Elevation Profile of Piperstown Road climb


Piperstown Road is one of my favourite local climbs. Once you’re past Bohernabreena village, the road is very quiet — to see more than a couple of cars along the way up would be unusual. The gradients vary constantly with the steepest ramps hitting 15 and 16%, but the road surface on the upper stretches is billiard table–smooth and you’ll feel like you have an extra couple of gears.

The road starts to rise as soon as you turn off the R114 onto Bohernabreena Road but the fun doesn’t really begin until you pass the church on the right side of the road — a short ramp touching 15%, just to wake you up. The houses lining the side of the road thin quickly as you head up, giving views of the valley to the left.

At 3.5km the road descends briefly, then shanks left and right over a small stone bridge to deliver you straight into the next steep section. You’d like to be able to carry pace into it, but the kink in the road is tight enough to make that difficult. From the bridge on, you’re into the mountains proper, open bogland to your right, pine plantations on the left, and the scars left by a dozen burnt-out cars along the roadway.

Another short drop brings you to the final grind to the top, the junction with Military Road. From there, turn right to continue towards Sally Gap, turn left to drop back down into the city.

Piperstown also makes a very nice descent but during the winter it’s so lightly trafficked that there is often a sheen of moss on the surface of the road that can be treacherous if it’s wet (and it will be). Approach with caution.

Piperstown Road snaking its way up a bleak hillside
Piperstown Road: the final section up to Military Road

Thoughts, hopes, exhortations?