General Cycling Discussion - To sit or stand on steep climbs?
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04-28-10, 04:51 PM
I posted a thread about steep climbing cadence a while back. I recently changed from a 14-32 cassette to a 13-34 cassette. I have about a 1/2 mile climb on the road to my house, which has an average of a 12% grade with as high as a 17.5% grade on one part of it. When i attack it, i'm pretty tired after being on the bike for about 1.5 hrs over 17.5 miles, with about a mile left to my house. I also have about 15 extra lbs added to the bike from my school books in my backpack strapped to the rear rack. Recently the best i can do sitting is about 45-60rpms in the lowest gear.
I'm young at 25, but still want to protect myself for when i get older. Am i better off to sit or stand during this climb? Which would be better for my knees and joints?
04-28-10, 04:53 PM
Sitting in the lowest gearing.
I'd say the best thing for your knees is to find a way to go around the hill.
Intuitively, I'd say that sitting in your lowest gear is the best thing to do, but if your cadence is below 60... When my seated cadence starts dropping below mid-60s, I go to standing -- I can get my cadence a little bit higher, and it just feels easier to me.
04-29-10, 07:04 AM
You can walk up stairs, too, right?
Sit or stand, whichever works. You can work on your softpedaling-shifting, too, so you could transition from one to the other.
I mentioned stairs because when I stand to climb, I try to choose a gear that gives similar resistance to climbing a staircase.
Whether sitting or standing, if you're using toeclips or clipless pedals, you can change which muscles are working harder by pulling or pushing through different parts of the pedal stroke during the climb. Standing actually makes this a bit more beneficial because you can let your body weight push through each downstroke, which lets you concentrate on pulling up & over with the other leg.
You'll figure it out. I remember when I was eight years old and used to zigzag up steep hills because I couldn't pedal straight up on my one-speed.
05-01-10, 08:04 PM
What is your gearing up front?
05-02-10, 11:54 AM
What is your gearing up front?
It is 53-39.
05-02-10, 12:19 PM
If you're making this climb regularly and don't feel likely you're straining too much, I wouldn't worry about long-term health consequences - at your age, climbs like this are all good, climbing or sitting. Do what feels best. Generally, most prefer to do at least short intervals of standing if their gearing won't allow them to turn 50+ sitting.
And congrats on using the bike to go to school. You're doing yourself some big favors that will pay off long-term.
But if you care about efficiency, you can climb this hill with less effort if you'd gear lower and remain sitting. You'd be a good candidate for a compact double (34-50) up front. Or if you have enough RD capacity, bigger cogs in the back.
05-04-10, 12:33 PM
I've been mixing it up. at the end of the ride its hard to get out of the saddle but if you're slowing to a stop and have some discomfort in the knees then get out of the saddle for a couple or 3 yards. don't be afraid to get off the bike to rest for 2 minutes, it won't kill you.
mostly, for me, on long climbs at the end of my rides, I'm in the saddle concentrating on keeping the pedals moving and keeping the bike upright. I don't care how slow I go or how slow my cadence is.
05-04-10, 12:39 PM
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