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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-23-09, 09:47 AM   #1
FZ1Tom
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A question of balance....

So I took a ride this morning, first time in about 10 days (yeah, I need to be riding more frequently). It was pretty good, despite the hot and muggy conditions.

Question: Until now I didn't feel very safe getting up out of the saddle on uphills (with clipless pedals too). After getting the bar ends and raising the stem, etc, I elected to get up and crank on some of the very steep uphills, the worst of which is probably a RR grade crossing. As nice as the trail is, this place is pretty hazardous. The MUP crosses the street, then turns 90 degrees right and goes up (30 percent slope maybe?) to an unfinished gravel crossing. Yet the street has a nice smooth steel crossing (I bet that does get slick in the rain tho!). Lots of folks probably just ride up the street then jump to the trail on the other side, and I do that going down.

Well anyways. I learned not to gear down TOO much or you can almost lose control when you spin out. And LBS mechanics are STUPID...not only did the dipwad loosen my brakes (see other thread, got that fixed tho) he didn't even tighten the left bar end enough! Sure enough when I got up and cranked and pulled, then pushed, it nearly rotated out of my hand enough to pitch me over the front....right before I hit the RR tracks too

So....go a little higher gear and you might be suprised. I'm beginning to wonder if 24 or 27 speeds is really so necessary or not

Despite the conditions and the efforts of the LBS to kill me (I had to tighten the bar end up when I reached the turnaround point....that's why I always carry my bike tool with me, despite the weight) I made the 11.5 miles in 54 minutes,

So, do most of you larger Clydes have a harder time balancing out of the saddle, or enough that you feel safer staying put?

Tom
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Old 06-23-09, 10:46 AM   #2
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No problems balancing out of the saddle for me...I had been uncomfortable standing on the pedals for a long time, then, one day, I noticed I was standing to pedal when taking off from stoplights.
I just started doing it without thinking about it.

I have to be careful standing on hills, though. I'm good at busting spokes that way.
Never had a spoke problem sitting and spinning on hills.
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Old 06-23-09, 10:52 AM   #3
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I have this discussion a lot with the friend that I ride with the most. I have about 100 pounds and 6 inches on him. He is a stand while climbing type of rider, and I am a sit there and spin kind of guy. It's not that. He can usually climb a hair faster, but he gets a lot more tired while doing it. Yes you can get more power in short bursts by standing, but it will come at the expense of endurance. Save the standing for that final sprint. I will agree that 98% of the time, you only need a few gears, but that other 2% they are quite useful.

On another note, I would doubt that your hill was a 30% grade. I don't think Missouri has anything that steep in the state.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FZ1Tom View Post
So I took a ride this morning, first time in about 10 days (yeah, I need to be riding more frequently). It was pretty good, despite the hot and muggy conditions.

Question: Until now I didn't feel very safe getting up out of the saddle on uphills (with clipless pedals too). After getting the bar ends and raising the stem, etc, I elected to get up and crank on some of the very steep uphills, the worst of which is probably a RR grade crossing. As nice as the trail is, this place is pretty hazardous. The MUP crosses the street, then turns 90 degrees right and goes up (30 percent slope maybe?) to an unfinished gravel crossing. Yet the street has a nice smooth steel crossing (I bet that does get slick in the rain tho!). Lots of folks probably just ride up the street then jump to the trail on the other side, and I do that going down.

Well anyways. I learned not to gear down TOO much or you can almost lose control when you spin out. And LBS mechanics are STUPID...not only did the dipwad loosen my brakes (see other thread, got that fixed tho) he didn't even tighten the left bar end enough! Sure enough when I got up and cranked and pulled, then pushed, it nearly rotated out of my hand enough to pitch me over the front....right before I hit the RR tracks too

So....go a little higher gear and you might be suprised. I'm beginning to wonder if 24 or 27 speeds is really so necessary or not

Despite the conditions and the efforts of the LBS to kill me (I had to tighten the bar end up when I reached the turnaround point....that's why I always carry my bike tool with me, despite the weight) I made the 11.5 miles in 54 minutes,

So, do most of you larger Clydes have a harder time balancing out of the saddle, or enough that you feel safer staying put?

Tom
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Old 06-23-09, 12:49 PM   #4
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Ugh yes the weather has gotten HORRIBLE here! Going to be nasty all week, of course its always crap here during the summer. I need to start riding in the morning around 5am!
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Old 06-23-09, 04:06 PM   #5
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Ugh yes the weather has gotten HORRIBLE here! Going to be nasty all week, of course its always crap here during the summer. I need to start riding in the morning around 5am!
This time of year, i do most of my rides between 9-11pm. I live for riding at night (the hills disappear). besides, I'm better lookin in the dark
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Old 06-23-09, 05:16 PM   #6
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Um... FYI very few public roads in the U.S. exceed 11% grade and all of those are on the east coast.
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Old 06-23-09, 05:46 PM   #7
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Okay, whatever! It's a RR grade crossing, pretty steep 50 feet however you care to look at it

Previously, I had downshifted to the 28T (small) ring and the big cog, however at this ratio you can barely spin it fast enough to move the bike and I moved so slowly as to almost get the bars crossed up (kinda hard to spin 120rpm and keep your balance, get crossed up at that cadence and you'll find it awkward indeed ). Not to mention it took so long I got pretty winded. So best to get some momentum going and up the slope quickly, before you get winded.

Keep in mind I'm only talking about a 40-50 foot long section that rises about 7 or 8 feet, not an extended hill climb. I'm no math expert, but isn't slope rise over run? I always got that grade vs. slope stuff mixed up

Tom

ps: found the formula. assuming the RR tracks are 8 feet above where the trail crosses the street, and its 40 feet from the crossing to the RR tracks, the rise over run is 8 divided by 40, which is .2 times 100 = 20 percent. So, I was only 2/3rds right. 30 percent would be a 12 foot rise, and I'm pretty sure it's not THAT much.

Last edited by FZ1Tom; 06-23-09 at 06:01 PM. Reason: figured out how to calculate gradients
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Old 06-23-09, 05:57 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FZ1Tom View Post
Okay, whatever! It's a RR grade crossing, pretty steep 50 feet however you care to look at it

Previously, I had downshifted to the 28T (small) ring and the big cog, however at this ratio you can barely spin it fast enough to move the bike and I moved so slowly as to almost get the bars crossed up (kinda hard to spin 120rpm and keep your balance, get crossed up at that cadence and you'll find it awkward indeed ). Not to mention it took so long I got pretty winded. So best to get some momentum going and up the slope quickly, before you get winded.

Keep in mind I'm only talking about a 40-50 foot long section that rises about 7 or 8 feet, not an extended hill climb. I'm no math expert, but isn't slope rise over run? I always got that grade vs. slope stuff mixed up

Tom
If it is a 8 foot rise over 40 feet you are still only talking 20%.
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Old 06-23-09, 06:00 PM   #9
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Um... FYI very few public roads in the U.S. exceed 11% grade and all of those are on the east coast.
Uh, no. I regularly ride 18% grades out here in CA, and I know there are streets in San Fran that break 25%. There are some mighty steep roads out here.

Let's see, say 50 feet long, 8 feet gained. I think that's 10 or 11%
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Old 06-23-09, 10:51 PM   #10
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Divide vertical rise by horizontal run and multiply by 100 to get percent slope. In other words, it's 100 times the tangent of the angle.

Filbert Street and 22nd Street in San Francisco are two of the steepest navigable streets in the Western Hemisphere at a maximum gradient of 31.5% (approximately 17). One section of Stanyan St, at Belgrave, hits 33%. The sidewalk-only section of Broderick street (between Broadway and Vallejo streets) is actually steeper, at 38% grade. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filbert...(San_Francisco)
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Old 06-23-09, 11:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FZ1Tom View Post
Okay, whatever! It's a RR grade crossing, pretty steep 50 feet however you care to look at it

Previously, I had downshifted to the 28T (small) ring and the big cog, however at this ratio you can barely spin it fast enough to move the bike and I moved so slowly as to almost get the bars crossed up (kinda hard to spin 120rpm and keep your balance, get crossed up at that cadence and you'll find it awkward indeed ). Not to mention it took so long I got pretty winded. So best to get some momentum going and up the slope quickly, before you get winded.
That gearing and cadence would give you a speed of about 8 mph. I don't think anyone should have difficulty riding that "slowly".
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Old 06-24-09, 02:02 AM   #12
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True, 8mph up a 20% grade sounds pretty fast indeed!

I honestly don't know how fast I was spinning in what seemed like too low a gear. Besides the point, anyways. What I was mainly asking originally was if anyone felt like they were too awkward because of their size to stand and crank up hills (whatever their length) without risking a fall because they were going too slowly to keep their balance (and if clipless pedals tended to exacerbate this effect). I think practice makes perfect, and I made a point of getting out and hammering once in a while going south, even though it's mostly flat to slightly downhill, to get some extra speed and momentum built up. Hopefully I get to where I can actually climb real hills without fear of keeling over in front of traffic because I stalled out and went backwards

Tom
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Old 06-24-09, 08:12 AM   #13
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No, you are not alone in feeling too awkward to stand and pedal. I don't know that it has anything to do with my size and weight (6'6" and 250 lb) but I'm not comfortable enough with my balance on my bike to pedal standing at much any speed. I also feel spinning up a hill in my lowest gear is best on my knees, which I don't want to over stress due to a touch of arthritis. So I haven't really even tried pedaling out of the saddle.

When I'm a bit exhausted from a long ride my balance gets worse. Sometimes when I hit a steep hill (8 or 10% according to my Edge 305) near the end of a ride I worry a bit that there isn't enough left in the legs to maintain my forward motion and I'll just slow to a stop and fall over without clipping out. Luckily that hasn't happened yet, but sometimes it seems like a distinct possibility.

BTW, as near as I can figure the math, me going up a 10% hill at 5 MPH is about 300 watts of power. I can handle short hills at that speed. Me going up a 20% hill at 8 MPH would require 960 watts. Not going to happen any time soon.

Last edited by LandKurt; 06-24-09 at 08:20 AM.
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