— Caught on the Cobbles


Cobbles. Who could ever love this or dream of this? Millions of people, it turns out. Cyclists are a creative bunch, able to find as much magic in a muddy cobblestone stretch as a hairpin-strewn mountain road.

The Hell of the North

The Forest of Arenberg might sound like a place from a children’s fairytale, but it belongs in a cyclist’s nightmare. It is an arrow-straight road, piercing a dank, dark forest with a cobbled thoroughfare so uneven that it is closed to normal traffic throughout the year.

From Compiègne to Roubaix. From smooth tarmac onto centuries-old granite cobblestones. The bike underneath you turns into a pneumatic drill. You’re hanging on for dear life and you can’t hear your thoughts for the ear-splitting noise. Your lungs are bursting and your legs are screaming.

Andy McGrath