I made my first climb attempt on a grade so steep I was having trouble keeping the front wheel on the ground. I am not sure of the grade, but my riding partner has a 705 which was reading in the twenty something percent. He said he was not sure of the second number, but the first was a 2.
The incline only lasted about 3 blocks, but it was more than I could manage. There were many problems, but the overweight and worn out old engine was probably the major factor.
First was my gearing. I have a 50/34 compact on my road bike, which is good. But my cassette is a 12/25. I could have used a much higher number on the cassette.
Second was the front wheel. I was having trouble controling the bike because it is hard to steer with the front wheel coming up. I almost lost it a couple of times. My partner was laughing later about watching my front wheel. He said it was not just bouncing up, it was staying up quite a bit. Anyway, this basically frightened me and contributed to my aborting the climb at about 2/3 of the way up.
Third was the fact I was breathing so hard I decided it was best I shut down. Part of the breathing was from the effort to climb and there was some contribution from fear of falling over.
Therefore, for the first time in quite a while I walked the rest of the hill, a bit embarrassed. My partner said I did well getting off the bike. He said the first time he attempted to climb this hill he fell over and lost a lot of skin in the process. Also he had trouble standing when he did get up. I unclipped before it was too late and was able to walk up it.
I will learn how to distribute the weight to keep the wheel on the ground and someday I will ride this short monster, I think.