Our story started with a bicycle. Our founders, Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement began making bikes in their home town of Mlada Boleslav in the Czech Republic in 1895.
Here you can learn about why cycling remains important to us at ŠKODA. We’re the official partner of key cycling events across the world as well as being the car of choice for many professional and amateur cyclists.
Which is better? 4 wheels or 2? In the world of ŠKODA, the answer is both.
When co-founder Vaclav Klement bought a bicycle from a German manufacturer which broke shortly afterwards, he teamed up with bike mechanic Vaclav Laurin, and they began producing their own bicycles.
Cycling has remained important to us since that day and we’ve honoured that heritage ever since.
From the production of motorbikes in 1899, Laurin and Klement built their very first car in 1905 - The Voiturette A which could reach speeds of 25mph (which was very impressive at the time!)
A merger with ŠKODA Works, a large industrial company, in 1924 saw the ŠKODA name appear on an automobile for the very first time. And the rest, as they say, is history.
We are engineers. In our 119 years of production history, we’ve broken boundaries. Our evolution from 2 wheels to 4 didn’t see us just dip our toe into cycling at the start of the twentieth century, we remain firmly immersed. We love bicycles. A simple machine with endless possibilities, where precision counts more than brute force and every problem can be solved with a clever solution.That’s why we’re an official partner of the key cycling events in the UK including the Tour of Britain and the Women’s Tour. And of course, we still to this day make ŠKODA branded bicycles. They’re pretty awesome.
We like stories. And we’ve plenty to share. Did you know that the first ever race an L&K motorcycle entered in 1901 saw the rider, Marcis Podsednike, as the only entrant to make it across the finish line?
Here’s another good one – in 1936, the ŠKODA Rapid rallied 27,600km around the world without the need for any engine repairs and the model went on to win the Olympic Games Rally in the same year.
Today, we’re still proud to be a part of unforgettable experiences from the saddle to the driver’s seat.
Our riders fight the roads and climb mountains. They brave the wind and rain to compete against the world’s greatest. Our drivers in their hatchbacks hustle over which radio station to listen to on the school-run, those in their 4x4s tackle tough terrain in their country pursuits. And ŠKODA is excited to be part of all these journeys.
Why not create your own unique experiences by trying out one of our Top 10 cycling routes? We’ll be honest, not all of them are your average Sunday amble and many are some of the toughest climbs in the world – but click on the links below to read more about what you can expect and how to get there.
Image Credit: Simon Harrod
The Cat & Fiddle is a relatively long climb (easily 30 minutes or so), but the good news is it isn’t a climb all the way! The first 3km are fairly steep but after this the gradient eases somewhat to give you your first sight of the top. After 6km, there’s even a downhill section before the big push to the summit.
The road heads eastwards out of the centre of Macclesfield in Cheshire. Starting at a humble 141m, the infamous Cat & Fiddle pub at the summit reaches 515m, over an 11km climb.
This isn’t a particularly difficult route and gives you some great panoramic views of the Cheshire landscape. Do it!
* Time according to Strava
Image Credit: SIZBUT
Box Hill lies within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Winding through an area of woodland in the Surrey countryside, Box Hill is a short climb via zigzags past the Box Hill Café.
The Box Hill climb is one of the smoothest in the UK. The resurfacing that took place for the 2012 Olympics makes for a level rural road, stretching approximately 2.5km.
On the ascent over this distance you climb 170m. The trek gets a great deal of airplay (admittedly in the UK) considering it is neither particularly long nor steep. We think that Box Hill, with its two full hairpins and steady gradients in between, gives riders the feel they could be on a continental climb; it’s unlike many other climbs that tend to just go 'straight up'.
Image Credit: Nick Muir
Winnats Pass is in the High Peak area of the English county of Derbyshire. It lies to the west of the village of Castleton, in the National Trust's High Peak Estate. The road winds through a cleft, surrounded by towering limestone pinnacles.
Don’t be fooled by this short climb at 1.6km in length. It may be short, but it’s tough. In parts the gradient exceeds 25%, meaning if you have to stop – either due to burning thighs or sweat pouring so hard down your face you can’t see - it’s extremely difficult to get going again.
It’s a physically demanding route for even an experienced rider and you really have to fight to pedal to the finish, but the experience is well worth it.
Image Credit: Dominic Alves
Ditchling Beacon is the third-highest point on the South Downs in south-east England.
Billed as the sting in the tail on the road to Brighton, this route rewards you with a fantastic view of the Sussex interior once you reach the summit.
Heading South from Burgess Hill and through the village of Ditchling, begin the climb in your lowest gear and grind the pace out. The climb is relatively manageable although there are a couple of inclines where the slog can hurt a little.
Image Credit: Andrew Bowden
Almost atop the highest point of the Pennines, Great Dun Fell is commonly known at the greatest climb in England. Truly unique, the road to the top is regarded as the highest tarmac road in the UK.
Even though the road has "private" status there seems to be absolutely no objection to cyclists riding it, although only a brave few dare try.
Great Dun Fell Radar Station at the summit shines like a beacon on the approach, but there is a tough road ahead to reach it. From the off the climb is tough, with many brutal stretches littered with boulders making for a harsh and hostile looking scene. A hard slog to the briefest of levels, and the road classification changes - public cars are allowed no further. You’re now on a narrow climb so steep that the valley walls begin to disappear and the Radar Station rises menacingly over the horizon to sit above you, as if mocking your progress. A leg-breaking finish to the top and the views are immense – you could be sitting on top of the world.
Image Credit: Jussarian
As far as famous climbs go, there are few, if any, that can claim spots higher in the pantheon of legendary climbs than the Passo dello Stelvio.
It is tantamount with all that is great about the mountains in most people's minds.
The Stelvio Pass has provoked raptures from visitors as diverse as Charles Dickens and Jeremy Clarkson, who declared it the world's greatest road for driving. Those who overcome ride into sporting legend, those who fail curse its snowbound summit.
The routes stats are scary enough in themselves; it’s an unrelenting climb of 14 miles through winding roads along 35 of the tightest hairpins. It gains more than a vertical mile to 2,757 metres, the second-highest paved pass in the Alps.
Image Credit: Jussarian
Known as the hardest climb in Italy, the Mortirolo gains 1,300 meters over 12km, averages an 11% gradient, and peaks at 18%.
Professional cyclists consider it as the most difficult mountain to be climbed in any of the three major tours with Lucho Herrera (1991) naming it the "Queen climb of Europe".
Beginning with a narrow road that leads quietly out the back of a small village, it starts as a typical Italian climb. The road resembles more of a hillside villa driveway than a legendary mountain pass.
With many Italian passes hidden in the woods not allowing you to see much of the ascent, the Mortirolo immediately aims for the sky, and remains that way until the last few kilometres.
Image Credit: Mikel Ortega
A steep mountain road in Asturias, near La Vega-Riosa, in northern Spain, the Alto de El Angliru is arguably one of the most demanding climbs in professional road bicycle racing, having been climbed the first time in the Vuelta in 1999.
With a length of 12.55km, it has an average 9.9% slope. With the steepest part of the climb (known as as Cueña les Cabres ) reaching a 23.6% gradient, the climb does not relent with a further two ramps of 18% and 21% gradient respectively.
Over the entire distance you’ll climb 1,248 metres in height.
Image Credit: Sjaak Kempe
If you dream of riding in the pedal strides of legends, this is your route. It’s probably the most feared and famous climbs of the Tour de France, gaining more infamy in 1967 when British rider Tom Simpson collapsed and died nearly within reach of the summit.
By far the most popular route is from Bédoin, a village on the southern flank of the mountain. The climb starts as the D974 turns out of the village to the east. Following the road for around 6km through the hamlets of Sainte-Colombe, Les Bruns and Sainte Estève, the route makes a famous left hairpin and the climb really begins in earnest.
The gradient almost never goes under 9% from this point to Chalet Reynard, nearly 10km away. It’s relentless, but at Chalet Reynard you can take a well-earned rest and then push on to the final grind to the summit.
Image Credit: Soumei Baba
With 21 hairpins (named after former stage winners), this scenic route is climbed regularly in the Tour de France. It was first included in the race in 1952 and has been a stage finish regularly since 1976.
The climb to the summit starts at Le Bourg d'Oisans in the Romanche valley. The climb goes via the D211 from where the distance to the summit at 1,860m is 11.9km with an average gradient of 8.1%.
I love the fact that ŠKODA started off making bikes and have been supporting cycling both here in the UK and in Europe. The blend of performance and practicality makes them perfect for cyclists. My favourite ŠKODA is the Octavia vRS – it’s sporty and cool, and has been such a joy to drive.
Ed Clancy, Double Olympic Gold Medallist
Date of birth: 12 March 1985
Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Weight: 78 kg (172 lb; 12.3 st)
Meet Ed. A two-time Olympic Gold medallist, an Olympic Bronze medallist, five-time World Champion and a ŠKODA ambassador.
ŠKODA UK enjoys an outstanding reputation among cyclists, and is proud that Ed is able to promote the benefits of cycling and to encourage more British families to take up the sport. He’s supported the brand since 2013 in many activities including advocating the King of the Mountain Jersey design competition where ŠKODA offered school children across the UK the opportunity to design the illustrious jersey which is awarded to the best rider of the King of the Mountain sections in the Tour of Britain. And you’ll see him attending events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed where he shares his triumphant stories as he signs autographs and has photos with attendees.
Away from the track he rides for the GB domestic road team Rapha Condor JLT. Regarded as an explosive sprinter with the durability to match, he competes in both the National Criterium Series and the Tour Series, picking up numerous stage wins in 2013.
In his spare time Ed is an avid motor sport fan. He owns his own trials bike and enjoys competing in or attending events at race circuits around the Country.
In the UK, ŠKODA are very excited about our partnerships with three teams.
Rapha Condor JLT are a UCI Continental team ranked as one of the best in the UK. Owned by Rapha, a cycling clothing company, and London based bicycle manufacturer Condor Cycles, the team includes the talented double Olympic Gold Medallist Ed Clancy. You’ll find the team riding in senior professional events in the UK and second-tier races like the UCI Europe Tour.
Rapha Condor JLT
Team Raleigh were founded in 2010 and ride in professional events across the UK and Europe. 10 riders form their UK based team which consists of mainly British and French riders. Their jam-packed race calendar includes the Tour of Britain, Pearl Izumi Tour Series and Elite Road Series races with forays into Europe, and particularly France to compete in International stage races.
Matrix Vulpine is one of Britain’s most successful women’s cycling team and has been at the forefront of the development of the women’s road cycling scene in the UK for the past 4 years. The team will participate in the inaugural ‘Women’s Tour’, one of the most anticipated sporting events on the world calendar for women in 2014.
The Car behind the Teams
Our cars are made of tough stuff. Things may look hard for pro cyclists in major events, but the cars behind the teams face their own punishments too. From the car scraping on the side of a canyon to a mechanic hanging out of the back to help a rider, ŠKODA cars are always in amongst the action.
Our cars striking exterior, and comfortable interior mean that the support teams who use them can be hands-on on race days – spurring the riders on to do their very best.
Take a look at our flagship model,
First introduced to the range in 1934, Superb models have been synonymous with strong design and powerful road presence for nearly eight decades. With an improved engine range that delivers lower emissions, and markedly improved fuel consumption, the new model line-up is the perfect companion for pro cyclists on their arduous tours. What’s more, thanks to a substantial restyle of both the Hatch and Estate models, the latest evolution reaffirms the Superb’s position at the top of our range offering style, comfort and practicality.
And we don’t just support the pros, we champion all cyclists, and make cars to suit their needs. The ŠKODA Superb Estate has a cavernous boot with an optional handy internal rack that can easily and securely store two bikes. It’s the perfect union between 2 and 4 wheels.
What's more, to celebrate our sponsorship of this year's Tour de France, we've launched unique limited edition versions of the Superb, as well as the Yeti and Octavia. Click here to read more about our Tour de France Special Editions.
The Superb offers an exceptionally spacious interior meaning there is more than enough space for your bicycle, and the vast amount of leg room presents even more than you’d get in an S Class Mercedes. The Estate has an enormous 633 litres of usable space in the boot which extends to 1,865 litres with the seats down. In comparison, the Hatch boasts 595 litres, extending to 1,700 litres with the boot down.
If you don’t fancy going it alone, you can transport even more bicycles with the optional roof bars (available as an accessories item) that fit easily and increase your carrying capacity.
Satellite Navigation System
When you’re on your adventure to tackle one of our Top 10 Cycle Routes, the ‘Columbus’ touchscreen satellite navigation system (with DAB radio) will help you find your destination quickly and easily (available as standard on the Elegance and L&K trims). It is controlled via a 6.5" colour screen, which is also able to display information from the climate control system, telephone and media functions, parking sensors and clock. The GPS system is also able to show a 2D or 3D (birds eye view) map depending on your preference.
Rubber Boot Mat
And the style of your car doesn’t have to suffer. The flexible rubber boot mat (available as an accessories item) means your Superb gets an instant protective layer. It’s easily removable so cleaning the grime from a hard day’s cycling is easy peasy.