Bianchista HQ recently received a copy of 'Hellingen' for perusal, the newest title from Simon Warren, who most of you will know as the guy who produced that compendium detailing the top 100 hills in the British Isles. Hellingen follows the the same template as his previous climb journals - a neat handy small sized book packed with every conceivable bit of info about each famous climb, although this time the book takes us to the heartlands of cycling history... Belgium.
The book is separated into two main sections, the Flanders section in the first half of the book, which lists 25 infamous ascents in the region. Many of the names are instantly recognizable from the early season classics, such as the Paterberg, Molenburg and Muur-Kapelmuur, whilst you will also find some slightly lesser known gems like the Ladeuze and the Leberg.
With two pages devoted to each climb, each boasts a nice full page photograph complete with a 'hardness rating' icon, there to indicate the level of suffering one can hope to endure in conquering the climb. A small bio of the climb, written in beautiful cruel detail by someone that has actually ridden the climb firsthand gives a useful guide to tackling the hill, and a handy map and directions will ensure smooth navigation to begin bagging those Belgian KOMs.
In the former half of the book, another 25 climbs can be discovered, this time from the Walloon region. I was ecstatic to find id already bagged a couple of these little Ardennes treasures on my maiden voyage earlier in the year to cycle the Liege-Bastoigne-Liege sportif.
The Ardennes, unlike their fearsome cobbled counterparts in Flanders  are smooth and enjoyable to a certain extent! A particular favorite was snaking my way up the fabled côte de Saint-Nicolas, which i have now proudly ticked off in the convenient checklist located at the rear of the book. I really like the addition of a tick-list as a motivation for accomplishing a full menu of Belgian summits! 
Far from being just a basic catalogue of 50 iconic climbs, Simon has also included a few interesting chapters to help give a flavour of both Belgian regions, what typifies their different characteristics and also what races are rode in the areas. There's also a lovely mid section to the book showing the different type of cobblestones of several Flanders climbs, with a little about how each type will feel when riding. Its this level of detail and information for the reader that makes the book an essential travel accompaniment to the dedicated euro-sportive enthusiast. But far from being a dry text-heavy read, the book is small, easily digestible and packed with interesting images and graphics. 
The book is currently can be found in quite a few bike and bookstores, the lowest price currently online is just under £7 (inc delivery!) at Bookdeposity. For the amount of time this book will be treasured and studied for future trips to the epicenter of the cycling classics, one cant argue that really is belting value. A fantastic addition to any cyclists bookshelf is my overriding opinion on this wee book.
As a small teaser ahead of his upcoming book that will delve into the world of famous Tour de France passes, there is a free ebook available from amazon here, and im assured an ibook version for apple heads will be available also for download very shortly. Click the image below to go get a taste of Simons work...

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