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Thread: hill gradients

  1. #1
    Still can't climb
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    hill gradients

    I've seen a few posts mentioning monster steep hills of 20%. This really confuses me because I once found a hill that was so steep (but thankfully short) it was hard even to walk up. The road sign said 10% so I can't imagine 20%. Is this a bit of BF exaggeration?

    Can someone post some pics of steep hills and state their gradients?

    Thanks

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    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    I can't post a Pic, but there is a hill over near SeaTac, in Wa State that has a very short 21% grade on it.

    There are sections of some of the secondary road climbs throughout the various Mountain areas that had short sections of 20+%.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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    Senior Member thePig's Avatar
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    It can be really hard to tell the gradient from a photo. On a bike (particularly when it is loaded) 10% or more is steep and anyone that says otherwise is lying. There are very hills / mountains that have gradients of more than 10% for any great distance.

    Anyway, have posted photo which has a good sideways view of a road. The stretch going from right to left is 15%. This came after cycling 4 miles at 10%....I was in pain.
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    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    I can't post a Pic, but there is a hill over near SeaTac, in Wa State that has a very short 21% grade on it.

    There are sections of some of the secondary road climbs throughout the various Mountain areas that had short sections of 20+%.
    Downtown Seattle coming off the ferry docks, try heading up Marion St. or Yesler Way, sections of 30%+ grade.

    IIRC:
    10% = 1.2" rise per 1' of run
    20% = 2.4" rise per 1' of run
    30% = 3.6" rise per 1' of run
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  5. #5
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by coasting View Post
    I've seen a few posts mentioning monster steep hills of 20%. This really confuses me because I once found a hill that was so steep (but thankfully short) it was hard even to walk up. The road sign said 10% so I can't imagine 20%. Is this a bit of BF exaggeration?

    Can someone post some pics of steep hills and state their gradients?

    Thanks
    A formula for grade calculations taken from somewhere on the Internet:

    ***
    grade = vertical_climb / horizontal_distance

    where both vertical_climb and horizontal_distance are both converted to
    the same measurement units. So if a hill goes up 264 feet in 2 miles,
    then we can first convert 2 miles to 10560 feet -- so the grade is then
    0.025 = 264 feet / 10560 feet, which is 2.5%.
    ***
    Keep in mind you can have more than a 100 per cent grade. The grade of a 90 degree angle is infinite. A 100 percent grade is a 45 degree angle, where one foot of horizontal distance climbs one foot.

  6. #6
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thePig View Post
    It can be really hard to tell the gradient from a photo. On a bike (particularly when it is loaded) 10% or more is steep and anyone that says otherwise is lying. There are very hills / mountains that have gradients of more than 10% for any great distance.

    Anyway, have posted photo which has a good sideways view of a road. The stretch going from right to left is 15%. This came after cycling 4 miles at 10%....I was in pain.
    Amen, brutha!

    Quote Originally Posted by coasting View Post
    I've seen a few posts mentioning monster steep hills of 20%. This really confuses me because I once found a hill that was so steep (but thankfully short) it was hard even to walk up. The road sign said 10% so I can't imagine 20%. Is this a bit of BF exaggeration?

    Can someone post some pics of steep hills and state their gradients?

    Thanks
    There are quite a few of them around. Usually, though, anything approaching 20% is for a very short distance, especially here in the US. Like 20 yards or something. I have (somehow) ridden up a local climb here in SoCal, called May Canyon. It has a couple very short pitches of 22-21%, like maybe 10-yards or so. Most of the climbing is around 7% with shallow sections thrown in for an overall average of like 4-5%. I'm afraid I don't have any pics, as I was busy doing other things at the time.

    Here's the hardest climb according to climbbybike.com: the Scanuppia - Malga Palazzo in Italy (7.5km, 17.6% avg):




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    Senior Member Jay68442's Avatar
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    The June 08 issue of Bicycling magazine listed the 5 hardest climbs in the US.
    1. Canton Ave, Pittsburgh 35% grade for a tenth of a mile

    2. Kingsley Hill Rd MA. 19.2% grade for a 1/2 mile
    3. Lincoln Gap East VT 16% for 1 mile
    4. Mt. Washington NH, 12.1% for 5 miles
    5. Onion Valley Rd. CA, 8.3% for 10 miles

    The most I have seen is 12% on a ride I did just the other night. Unless you are using a computer with an altimeter you would just be guessing.
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    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Since I ride past this hill often, I measured the grade on this hill with a level, measuring the height on the low side with the 4 foot level horizontal. (See other discussions in BF: the difference between measuring along the slope or measuring the horizontal distance is minor) Grade = height / horizontal distance

    This is Monastery Street in Cincinnati. The bottom section is a consistent 18% grade. I can climb it quite easily in my 34 - 26 gear, but I'm balancing on the bike, going about 3 mph, with only one pedal stroke a second (30 rpm).




    It's really difficult to show the grade. I kept the camera horizontal.

    * * * * * *
    I posted this link recently in BF. I really like this picture:

    Check out Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh. It's 37%

    They include it on the Dirty Dozen hill climb. Youtube video --wow.

    Last edited by rm -rf; 05-09-08 at 03:33 PM.

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    http://www.csgnetwork.com/inclinedeclinegradecalc.html

    That's my favourite incline/decline calculator.


    Hey, rm -rf if you ever get to the west side of Cincinnati try Grand Ave. in Delhi, from Queen City Blvd up to W. 8th St. 419 feet of gain in 1.5 miles, with a couple of 15% sections thrown in for fun.
    In the summer my friends and I used to bike it, and when they'd close it down during the snow emergencies in the winter, we'd see if we could make our way up it in our Jeeps.
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    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    From the Cascade Bicycle Club:

    Seattle's Highest Hills and Steepest Grades
    1. East Roy Street between 25th Avenue and 26th Avenue on the east side of Capitol Hill @ 26%
    2. East Boston Street between Harvard and Broadway on the west side of Capitol Hill @ 23.8%
    3. The Queen Anne Counterbalance (Queen Anne Avenue near Galer Street) @ 18.5%

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    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
    ...the difference between measuring along the slope or measuring the horizontal distance is minor) Grade = height / horizontal distance
    It's the difference between the sine of the angle and the tangent of the angle, and it is indeed minor for small angles. http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/sincos.html

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    Grizzled Curmudgeon keithm0's Avatar
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    Notable climbs in the Seattle area: http://www.bicycleclimbs.com/ClimbLists.aspx

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    Senior Member kokomo61's Avatar
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    I've been using this ride to train for a hilly century coming up. (check out the elevation profile!) Most of the ride is do-able, but there's one section that comes right after a tough 8-10% climb. It flattens out to 3-5% for about a mile, then as soon as I saw the next section, I said - "you've gotta be shiatting me." It looks like it goes straight up, but it varies between 12-15%, and tops out at 17%.

    There's another section that's similar, but mercifully shorter. Again, a 13-15% climb. At least that's what the Garmin says.
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    Senior Member funrover's Avatar
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    Now I want to try these hills!

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    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    My policy is it's better NOT to know, until after you've climbed it.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

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    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Here's one of my training hills. 111 feet rise in 629.2 feet, or a 17.64% grade. It's nasty, believe me. Turn on the elevation.

    http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...e/526734181563
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  17. #17
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Here's one of my training hills. 111 feet rise in 629.2 feet, or a 17.64% grade. It's nasty, believe me. Turn on the elevation.

    http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...e/526734181563
    The short hill on Lucas Road that troubled me so much last year is about 16-20 percent.

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    Here's one of my training hills. 111 feet rise in 629.2 feet, or a 17.64% grade. It's nasty, believe me. Turn on the elevation.
    I just did a google street view of that ride, pretty nice looking.

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    Senior Member piette's Avatar
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    This is one of my regular daily routes:

    http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...auna/416793492

    Their is two climbs that are 12% according to my Trek ACH and numerous climbs of 8-9%

    Jeff

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    Still can't climb
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    Woa! Some seriously nasty looking hills especially Mkadam's. Remind me never to ride in seattle. I do have a friend there who asked me to visit but he's not a cyclist.

    Those 15%+ pics look about the steepness of part of the hill i was on. Maybe the road sign was average for the hill because the early part looked less steep but half way up it looked like some of the pics. Thankfully there are no long hills that go on for miles round my routes. All the hills are less than a mile. But going up and down lots of short sharp hills for miles still knocks the stuffing out of me! I could avoid the steep ones by sticking to the main roads but thts not as scenic. I would rather go along the patchwork of country lanes through the villages and stop at the pub when it gets too much.

    Have you ever felt that you just can't turn the pedal even standing? It happened to me when I first got clipless and panic set in when I realised what was about to happen...the crank stopped, desperately tried to get my foot out with no forward momentum and a 0 mph keeling over in slow motion. Right in front of the village pub with everyone outside enjoying the sun. Oh the shame of it.

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    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    My daily route home takes me up 4 of the better hills in Redmond, WA

    Woodinville-Duvall Rd. from 522 to Avondale
    128th from Avondale to Red-Wood Rd.
    116th from Red-Wood Rd. to Avondale
    finish with either 133rd St, Novelty Hill, or Union Hill to Redmond Ridge.

    None of them are really steep killer-hills, but they're all 7-10% average for at least 1 mile with a short steep section thrown in for fun.
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  22. #22
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Actually, wouldn't a vertical grade be undefined? X/0=undefined, after all.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    A formula for grade calculations taken from somewhere on the Internet:

    ***
    grade = vertical_climb / horizontal_distance

    where both vertical_climb and horizontal_distance are both converted to
    the same measurement units. So if a hill goes up 264 feet in 2 miles,
    then we can first convert 2 miles to 10560 feet -- so the grade is then
    0.025 = 264 feet / 10560 feet, which is 2.5%.
    ***
    Keep in mind you can have more than a 100 per cent grade. The grade of a 90 degree angle is infinite. A 100 percent grade is a 45 degree angle, where one foot of horizontal distance climbs one foot.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

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    I'm so thankful I don't live around some of these inclines as they kill me! I am planning on working some regular hill riding into my weekly ride. Doing a little poking around I found a good explanation of why they use gradient instead of just giving the angle of incline.

    "The reason for using percent of incline instead of angle, is that percent gives a direct way to assess the
    effort required to move forward against the grade, whereas the angle in degrees does not readily reveal
    this information. For example; a 5% grade requires a forward force equal to 5% of the weight of the
    object (above and beyond the force it takes to overcome surface resistance on flat ground at the same
    speed)."

    Source: http://www.geocities.com/sidestreetl...ade.html#table

  24. #24
    Senior Member Jay68442's Avatar
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    Here is one of my regular rides. There is one climb that is 12%, you see it around mile 7. But the beginning of the ride hurts the most. It varies between 2-5% for the first 2+ miles.
    http://www.mapmyride.com/view_route?r=11039584
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  25. #25
    Senior Member landshark1's Avatar
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    Why can't they just rate hills by degrees?

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