For any of you that ride on the flat- you can bypass this- but where I live there are a lot of hills. Whether it be onroad or offroad. None of them have the great altitudes to reach that some of you have but you can be talking about a hill that starts at Sea level and gets up to 250 metres or 750 ft. Then the gradient. Not many will be below 5% as we are talking about a ridge that climbs sharply up from the sea to max height and the roads will generaly be old Drovers roads for cattle or Stagecoach routes where there will the occasional flat bit to rest the horses. A long and winding route will take a mile or so to climb 400ft so that is where you will get the 5%. then there are the direct routes straight over the top for less than a mile to reach 750ft. Probably 15% with the occasional steep bit in it.
Climbing these on my mountain bike with very low gearing is not hard. Just grind away and eventually you get there. I was reminded today of the advice that I give all Novices- or non-hillclimbers. Start the hill in a sensible gear that keeps the cadence where you want it. As it gets hard- change down. Harder still? then change down again and again. When you run out of gears and it is still hard- Then SLOW down.
Reason for mentioning this is that Last sunday was the UK's big ride for casual riders. This takes in one hill that is 10% to 15% all the way up for one mile. For a new rider, and at 50 miles onto the ride, this is going to hurt- especially when you get off the bike and walk. I told this method of hill climbing to one of my customers that was on the ride and he showed up his more experienced riding companions by being the only one in his group to climb Ditchling Beacon. He phoned me up today to tell me the good news that he had made the hill. Considering he only started riding 2 months ago to get fit for the ride- he was elated. So elated that he will be carrying on riding.
Attachment is of the range of hills I am talking about- Not high, but enough to say they are an achievement if you climb them. This is one of the offroad climbs but the Roads don't get much coverage from me yet.