What is a lot of climbing?
I was wondering what you folks consider a lot of climbing during a ride. I live in nothing but hills and I will be riding on the road with this new bike as opposed to riding the flat bike trail along the river on the old junk bike. So far, I've done 2 rides on the 2 nice days we've had this month out on the road and love it. It is so much easier riding up the hills compared to the heavy old worn out Walmart bike. Along with that, I can actually shift it in preparation for getting into the next hill. The old bike was really slow to shift and I would have to stop 90% of the time to lift up the back tire and spin the cranks around to get it to shift down as I lost momentum too fast.
I think that riding on the roads around me is pretty extreme for climbing. I read all the time people posting climbing numbers and average speed on rides and I wonder about what the climbing actually is. It seems to me that it would be far easier to climb 500 feet over the long run if it was a more consistant low grade climb rather than constant up and down.
My example is behind my house. I want to ride about an hour or so daily. I have done this on the old bike, but haven't tried it yet on the new bike. I marked out 5 miles on this road on RidewithGPS.com and it tells me for 5 miles, it is 414 feet of climbing. The elevation difference between home and the turnaround point is only 64 feet with home being the higher. If I look at this correctly, it tells me I am going uphill 414 feet and downhill 478 feet. At that point I turn around so I climb up on the way back 478 feet and am going downhill 414 feet. Total climbing is 892 feet climbing for a 10 mile ride, but because it is almost a constant up and down, that is more 892 feet of climbing in half of the ride or 5 miles.
Is this what you would consider a lot of climbing? Last year on the flat bike trail, I averaged 14-15 mph over 12 miles. When I rode on the roads, I averaged 5 to 6 mph, less than half. One of the problems I have with riding on the road is there really is no break or recovery from the previous climbing because I am back down that same elevation change on the downhill in mere seconds then trudging up the next hill. It was pretty normal for the downhill to be coasting on the brakes at 28 mph at times. The next hill would almost immediately stop the momentum from the 24-28 mph coasting and I would only get about 1/8th or less of the way up the hill before having to pedal again, so the coasting didn't help on the uphills nor did I want it to because there's no exercise gained in just coasting. I certainly couldn't pedal anywhere near 24+ mph on that old bike to get anything out of going down the hills. I could on the new bike, but I don't want to be going that fast anyways, as I said, that was coasting while on the brakes to slow me down. It also would make a lot more gear changes to get to being able to pedal up the hill if I tried to pedal on the downhills.
I can't figure out with a map what the average grade of my hills are, but it appears to be a lot of 5-6% worth of grades. The constant hills would be approximately up about a quarter mile and back down a quarter mile, so like I said, the decents take just a few seconds and then it takes me 10 or 15 minutes to climb back up the next one.
I understand that climbing gets easier and better the more you do, but dagnabbit, I sure would like even an 1/8th mile of flat to ride on every now and then rather than constant coasting and climbing. It is real nice to just take off from the garage rather than leave the kids alone (the youngest won't come for a bike ride with me) and travel to the bike trail but the constant up and down I think will just wear me out.
Sorry, I'm long winded. What do you consider a lot of climbing and would you consider my example a lot of climbing?