# Commuting - Road Grade Q: MUP from Hell?

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View Full Version : Road Grade Q: MUP from Hell?

Atomick
09-30-07, 09:44 AM
Hey folks,

I've been really struggling with this one hill going to work; it's mercifully short but absurdly long. It is designated as a MUP. I've got bikes with triples and I'm always in the lowest gear or two, utterly anaerobic, near the top.

I just used MapMyRide to calculate that the hill is 422' long with an elevation gain of 175'. Assuming this data is accurate, does that translate into a 41% road grade?

atbman
09-30-07, 12:50 PM
Assuming your measurement of the length of the hill is correct, how on earth did they manage to get the surface laying machinery to stick to the slope?

Are you sure it's not 422yds, rather than feet?

DoB
09-30-07, 01:17 PM
Yes, that is a 41% grade and steeper than I think I could ride up. Is there any way around it?

I once drove a truck up a 25% grade that was part of a test track and it felt like going up a roller coaster. We could see nothing but sky through the windshield.

Brian Ratliff
09-30-07, 02:05 PM
I have a feeling that your mapmyride measurement for elevation is wrong. You are describing a 10-12% grade slope at the most. 41% couldn't even be paved, much less be ridden up on a bicycle. The maximum for a bicycle to keep the front wheel on the ground is something like 25% (http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=345479&highlight=triathlete).

DataJunkie
09-30-07, 02:24 PM
If you are even slightly off course on map my ride your elevation figures will be trashed. Heck, even if you are completely accurate there is still a rate of error.
20% is a killer grade for pretty much everyone.
10% is hard enough.
I like to take my garmin edge when curious about certain routes.

Atomick
09-30-07, 04:00 PM
Well, thanks everyone - I wanted to make sure that how I was calculating it was correctly (again, we're talking GRADE, not actual degrees/slope from flat). It appears I was, but as Data Junkie said, I also don't 100% trust Map My Ride - well, any system - to be 100% accurate. :D

Topo maps and road maps generally agree, however, about the general rise and run measurements. Something must be wrong with my calculations or the data...Brian, thanks for that link, and atbman, my numbers were indeed feet (accurate or not, of course). This is for the last burn up the hill; as it starts nearly flat, the whole street seems to average about a 9% grade. There is a way around the hill, up a switchback road instead of the MUP From Hell, but with no shoulder and heavy rushhour traffic...doable, though, I've taken it a few times.

In any event, that sucker be STEEP. The grade number seemed crazy high so thanks a lot for your input.

How they paved it, I have no idea. There are apartment buildings almost to the top...and a flattened parking pullout near the top. I see people bombing DOWN it at times but I'm the only person I've seen riding up it (plenty of peds and riders walking, however). Not that I'm hardcore - just out of breath, achy-kneed, and quite possibly stupid! ;)

Today's 1-hour hill drill session did seem a little easier after commuting this way for a month...

-Atomick

Phantoj
10-01-07, 10:59 AM
it's mercifully short but absurdly long.

Say what?

:D

CliftonGK1
10-01-07, 11:36 AM
That would be one crazy insane hill.

My guess is that the 422 is meters, not feet. That would make this hill about a quarter mile long, and 13.25% grade, which seems much more likely.

Atomick
10-01-07, 11:47 AM
Say what?

:D

LOL! Uh, "mericfully short but absurdly steep." Ahem. :D

Even if I fudge the numbers to be a bit more conservative...
0.1 miles x 5280' = 528' run. 170' rise in altitude.
That's still a 32% grade. Rode it this morning again, typical results: next to lowest gear in my triple, out of the saddle - completely gasping for breath at the top. Who needs coffee?

-atomick

n4zou
10-01-07, 12:01 PM
I have a very steep hill close to my house. When they repaved it about 2 years ago they parked a large Dozer at the top and used the wench to pull the paving machine up that hill as it put down asphalt. There are warning signs at the top and bottom warning trucks not to climb or descend that hill. The local bicycle club has contests to see who can manage to climb it. It's always a great show when they do that!

Bill Kapaun
10-01-07, 12:40 PM
"....I've got bikes with triples and I'm always in the lowest gear or two..."
Sounds like you are geared just about right then!

filtersweep
10-01-07, 12:59 PM
There is a hill like that around here--- so steep that all the asphalt ran down and settled at the bottom.

mstrpete
10-01-07, 01:06 PM
I was going to chip in about the hill between me and school, but it's "only" 12% (194' over 1584'), so I'll save my breath for the climb. It's all I can handle right now, though.