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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 09-12-13, 11:51 AM   #1
mgb
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Standing Clyde

I've been riding pretty regularly for a couple of years but I've never been comfortable climbing standing. It just seemed unnatural, clumsy and fatiguing, so I would always sit and spin the way I was intended to do. Lately I've been trying to learn to climb properly and stand whenever I can on a hill. I'm a little smoother and can go a little longer. I currently weight 260 lbs.

My question for the heavy riders: do you climb standing? Any problems with cranks, bottom brackets, wheels, spokes, etc?

Sheldon Brown warns that this way of riding stresses the bike more and can cause sudden and dangerous component failure. I believe that and and I try not to stress things too much, but it's kind of fun to thrash up a hill and throw the bike around a bit!
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Old 09-12-13, 12:09 PM   #2
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Same here, I am VERY uncomfortable and I am not sure why. At times I feel like I will flip over the handlebars, other times I just feel immediately fatigued.

I think the key here is to keep trying it and trying to build up our tolerance for it.
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Old 09-12-13, 12:12 PM   #3
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There's a rule of thumb based on body weight that supposedly tells you how much you should be standing... and I can't remember it, but for clydes, the amount of time you should stand approaches zero.

I do it anyway and the more you CAN do it the faster you'll get up that hill, but even if you don't like it, it's a nice break for your butt and legs. The trick is to shift up two gears right before you stand up and then shift back down when you sit. Experiment and see what works for you. Like anything, practice will improve your results.
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Old 09-12-13, 12:16 PM   #4
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Having trouble standing on climbs too, (262lbs)
I get instantly fatigued. Tried it this morning on the bridge by the house.
Sat down within a few seconds...

Hmmm.
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Old 09-12-13, 12:22 PM   #5
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I don't like to do it, but atleast 4 times a week I do, as there is a big hill to and from my sons daycare. Remember to shift up about 2 gears, it lets you get more power out of each step.
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Old 09-12-13, 12:22 PM   #6
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I only stand to give myself (butt or legs) a break or to start a sprint. I don't usually run out of gears spinning up hills and regularly pass my three riding buddies on climbs (one a fellow Clyde). And when I stand it is just for four or so pedal strokes. I weigh about 220.
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Old 09-12-13, 12:23 PM   #7
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There's a rule of thumb based on body weight that supposedly tells you how much you should be standing... and I can't remember it, but for clydes, the amount of time you should stand approaches zero.

I do it anyway and the more you CAN do it the faster you'll get up that hill, but even if you don't like it, it's a nice break for your butt and legs. The trick is to shift up two gears right before you stand up and then shift back down when you sit. Experiment and see what works for you. Like anything, practice will improve your results.
I do it anyway too ... done it since I was a kid really.

That said, I've noticed I'm more uncomfortable standing while riding my CX bikes and generally climb seated on it.

My roadie, however, I'm very comfortable standing and climbing on it. I don't do it as often these days as I used to (I imagine I will more as I drop weight) because I've found I can conserve energy (less side to side while sitting) and find a cadence sweet spot by climbing seated.
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Old 09-12-13, 12:25 PM   #8
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Maybe my bike isn't set up right... you're saying it's to give your legs a break? It's torture on my legs... weird.
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Old 09-12-13, 12:39 PM   #9
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your legs are made up from different muscle groups, Sitting will use the calves and rear of upper legs more. Standing will use more of the upper legs and outside quads more as your putting more force into the downward stroke. Since these are larger muscle they burn up faster and tend to hurt a bit more when they do.

I stand allot as well but subject to mostly speed over comfort and only click one gear to keep my leg speed up, if they get going to fast, I'll click another gear while standing in between the power band of the stroke.
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Old 09-12-13, 12:49 PM   #10
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On my hybrid, I stand all the time just for fun. Stand and pedal on flats, stand and pedal on hills.

But two days ago I got a road bike and have been trying to do the same thing, not working out as well so far
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Old 09-12-13, 12:56 PM   #11
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Wish I could stand. I stand just to coast and give the rear end a rest from the saddle. My bike flexes or something as it's just a cheap POS Walmart bike and the chain starts to jump around getting caught by other rear gears if I put too much torque on the pedals.

I can't even give too much torque sitting down. On my flat bike trail, the last half mile I go as hard as I can, but I have to accelerate it up fairly slowly as the chain will start catching even while sitting down.

That's one of the reasons I don't ride on the road. There isn't a flat road to be found and all hills are either extreme short durations up and down at like 6%+ or the easier hills would go on forever. Roads around me are like an oscilloscope reading, just continuous up and down. I can't pedal on the down as they are too steep and just coasting the bike is too fast, so riding on the road would be just 1 continuous uphill pedal non-stop. I'm not into only pedaling uphill for 10-20 minutes and then coast for 30 seconds downhill continuously.

I'd love to be able to just jump on my bike in the garage and go for a ride...
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Old 09-12-13, 01:05 PM   #12
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I stand up a bit. Starting from a dead stop, climbing really steep pitches, etc. Generally I find that I tire really quickly when doing it, and how fast it wears me out is proportional to my weight - when I was 195, I could do it longer than when I was nearly 240 a couple months back. There are some places on my rides, though, where it's pretty much impossible to sit and grind and not come to a dead stop.

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Wish I could stand. I stand just to coast and give the rear end a rest from the saddle. My bike flexes or something as it's just a cheap POS Walmart bike and the chain starts to jump around getting caught by other rear gears if I put too much torque on the pedals.
I believe you've answered your own question about why a $1000 bike is better.
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Old 09-12-13, 01:12 PM   #13
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I stand up a bit. Starting from a dead stop, climbing really steep pitches, etc. Generally I find that I tire really quickly when doing it, and how fast it wears me out is proportional to my weight - when I was 195, I could do it longer than when I was nearly 240 a couple months back. There are some places on my rides, though, where it's pretty much impossible to sit and grind and not come to a dead stop.



I believe you've answered your own question about why a $1000 bike is better.
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Old 09-12-13, 01:41 PM   #14
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As I've lost weight, I do it more and more. I'm really not sure how much is weight loss and how much is improved fitness.

Usually I do it on short, steep sections, just to keep my inertia up. There are a few times I do it on real small rises when cruising at speed because sometime those can break the flow when you have a good rhythm going. Some say go up two cogs, I usually do just one, or if it is a small rise at high speed, not at all. YMMV
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Old 09-12-13, 01:55 PM   #15
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There's a rule of thumb based on body weight that supposedly tells you how much you should be standing... and I can't remember it, but for clydes, the amount of time you should stand approaches zero.
I believe this.

I experienced it first-hand. When I started riding a lot, I was about 260 lbs. When I stood up, it felt unnatural and unsafe. Front end got all wiggly. I sat back down and spun.

But a funny thing happened as I lost 75 pounds. I tried standing and it felt okay. Lost more weight. Started standing a bit more, on hills. Lost more, stood more, etc.

In my current state (well, okay, I back-slid 12 pounds...but I blame it on an injury, but that's another story), I stand a LOT, and not just hills - I stand up and crank away from sharp corners, just to get some speed again.

Same bike, same rider, and it now feels just fine, like it did when I was a kid on my little 20", fixed-gear bike.

So, yes, there is some tipping point (no pun intended) in terms of weight loss where standing starts to work. But if it feels bad now, don't do it, just keep on riding!
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Old 09-12-13, 01:59 PM   #16
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the chain starts to jump around getting caught by other rear gears if I put too much torque on the pedals.
It is entirely likely that your drive train needs adjusting. Is the chain jumping off the front chainrings or off the back cassette cogs? If the rear shift cable is too loose shifts to a smaller cog tend to be easier and shifts to a bigger one tend to be harder, take longer or make a huge racket in the process. You're also more likely to pull the chain off the cog it's on.

It's also possible that it's just a "feature" of low end components but I'd check the set up first before making that assumption.
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Old 09-12-13, 02:03 PM   #17
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Ah, found a refernec to it from Joe Friel at trainingpeaks.com. Note that we are all likely to be in the 3+ category, aka the sitters.

Hill Skills
Technique also has a lot to do with how you go up hills. For example, larger-mass riders (2.3 pounds per inch or greater) are generally better off staying seated on long climbs. Envision Miguel Indurain climbing to see what I mean. Most big riders find that staying on the saddle takes less energy than standing. Occasionally standing, however, may be necessary to relieve muscle fatigue or to increase power briefly due to a sudden grade change.
Smaller riders – those 2.0 pounds per inch or less – generally climb better standing. Marco Pantani in his prime was a great example of this.

What [strike]Lance[/strike] the Price of Darkness did on the climbs in the Tour de France a few years ago is something we can all work on to become better climbers. I often checked his cadence and found it to be in the range of 95 rpm on even the steepest climbs. Raising the cadence takes the load off of the muscles and increases the aerobic-function load. If you have a good aerobic system – as you should if you train properly – higher cadence will make you more efficient.
Also notice this year to see if he keeps his heels slightly raised above the pedals even when seated on a climb as he used to do. This may improve economy – how much oxygen, and, therefore, energy, it takes to pedal the bike. The greatest wasters of energy in the pedal stroke are the transitions from pulling up and back to pushing down and forward at the top, and the reverse of these at the bottom of the stroke. The less energy you waste in these two crucial phases, the more energy you can put into driving the pedal.

Finally, if you want to climb well your attitude must back up your training. Work on what’s going on between your ears every day by reminding yourself, even if you are a “2.5,” how much you love the hills and how much your climbing is improving as a result of all of the effort you’re putting into it. You gotta believe!
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Old 09-12-13, 02:08 PM   #18
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There's a rule of thumb based on body weight that supposedly tells you how much you should be standing... and I can't remember it, but for clydes, the amount of time you should stand approaches zero.
To put this in perspective, heavier pro riders shouldn't stand very much. For almost anybody here, not standing while climbing shouldn't be considered a problem.

That being said, if you want to and are able to stand, it uses different muscles and can give your legs a break.
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Old 09-12-13, 03:23 PM   #19
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I am a light weight 155 lbs and standing wears me out. Sitting is the way to go unless you just need a few pedals to get over a hill. I stand and pedal slow for 50 pedals and it is time to sit and spin. Now I am not in the best shape so a person with a strong heart and good conditioning may be able to get a great benefit in speed over hills by standing and just giving it all they have. This technique is not going to work for me. I need to keep thing slow and steady.
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Old 09-12-13, 03:45 PM   #20
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No standing if heavy,..really?... So at 235 lb I started training long pulls standing in spin, like 10 minute efforts. Then higher cadence standing, which is harder for me. Then standing with hands in the drops, big glut stretch. Took it to hills, both road and mountain, ...terrific. I stand routinely accelerating from lights, jumping small hills, and the occasional long pull on long grade. I'm probably down to 210+ now, but always add in some standing in any bike ride. Once you get the hang of dancing on the pedals it's one of the best things about biking. Now I'm not saying it's the same experience for everyone, but you should give it a real chance.
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Old 09-12-13, 04:51 PM   #21
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At my peak while riding my MTB, I would rarely ever stand (I am 6'1" ,~220) I learned to relax my upper body, and just focus on turning the pedals, trying to maintain a smooth cadence. I only stood if I needed to power over a small hill, or obstacle. And I usually out climbed my riding partners.

I am working on getting back into that shape now. Doing elliptical and weight training when I am not riding.
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Old 09-12-13, 05:04 PM   #22
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I found went on my first ride with clip ins on my road bike and found standing to be easier with them than without.
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Old 09-12-13, 05:31 PM   #23
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I found went on my first ride with clip ins on my road bike and found standing to be easier with them than without.

I have found the same thing too. I tend to go easier and faster if I am standing, and tire faster if seated.
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Old 09-12-13, 08:04 PM   #24
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No standing if heavy,..really?... So at 235 lb I started training long pulls standing in spin...
Yeah, really. I'm saying if you weighed 265 instead of 235, standing would probably feel very awkward to you, like it does to the OP. For you, 235 is a low enough weight for it to work for you.
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Old 09-12-13, 08:24 PM   #25
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When I was younger and in much better shape and lighter as well I hardly ever stood. Sit and spin up the hills. Putting things in perspective I'm a senior now having started riding again as an adult in my mid forties. Several years ago I started going to the Y and working out on a regular basis. Last year when I made the effort to ride more regularly again, I was surprised at how much more comfortable I was standing on climbs. I attributed it to having stronger legs and a stronger core.
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