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Thread: Hill speed

  1. #1
    Senior Member ScottieDog's Avatar
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    Hill speed

    If you were on a hill, hypothetically any hill really, what would be the minimum speed that you would achieve (or see as acceptable) over distance?

    What I mean to say is, the hill could be hypothetically any gradient, because different levels of cyclists will go slower or faster on the same incline.

    But, whatever your level, what would be the minimum speed you would achieve before getting off to walk, or not even attempting to climb it ?

    My case - There are some hills, not even steep ones (I am an unfit noobie) that I slow down to only a few mph, I literally think it might be quicker to walk at some stages of them lol. I know it will get better over time but I am just wondering what people think/do if they think a hill will be too steep to climb at a reasonable pace.
    Last edited by ScottieDog; 10-01-11 at 02:38 AM. Reason: text addition

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    4 km/h. Any slower than that and I'm in danger of falling over ... and it is quicker to walk.

    Fortunately, after working on my climbing over the past 2 years, a hill like that is quite steep. I haven't been below 7 km/h on most of the hills I've ridden lately.

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    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Depends on my gearing. I'll jump off a bike with 42x21 at a higher speed than one with 24x28
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I have actually participated in a hill climb race where runners would pass the cyclists on the up hill portions...

    I will ride until I am in danger of falling over ~3mph(4.5kph) then get off and walk. Most of my bikes are geared low enough I can spin up a hill, but still have a couple that aren't. IMHO sometimes it is a good break to walk a few hills.

    Aaron
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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I have actually participated in a hill climb race where runners would pass the cyclists on the up hill portions...
    I've done the same sort of thing ... we were on a randonneuring event, and I was slogging my way up a hill when a line of runners started passing me.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Depends on my gearing. I'll jump off a bike with 42x21 at a higher speed than one with 24x28
    ^^This. If your gearing is low enough you can remain stable while climbing at very low speeds. I've certainly climbed at 2mph, fully loaded, on a >20% gradient, in a 17 inch gear. And if you can push a fully-loaded tourer up a 20% hill at more than 2 mph on foot, fine. I can't.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Loves to suffer freighttraininguphill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    If your gearing is low enough you can remain stable while climbing at very low speeds. I've certainly climbed at 2mph, fully loaded, on a >20% gradient, in a 17 inch gear.
    +1. I have a 24x34 low gear, which I only have to use on the steepest hills (over 20%). On grades between 13%-20% or so I'm usually in the 24x26 or 24x23.

    I've been as low as 2 mph, maybe even lower momentarily. Never any problems balancing the bike at such low speeds. Here's a video with GPS overlay showing me climbing grades in the high teens between 2-4 mph. The only thing moving around excessively is my head. I had no idea I moved my head around so much while climbing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_NanMq4-xw

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    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Hahaha! All the head tilting makes it seem like you're about to fall over in the video! I gotta get a helmet cam someday. I imagine my climb videos would involve a lot of looking down at my legs/bottom bracket area, then back up to the summit. I typically do much better if I keep my eyes on the summit although it gets tough to hold the head up on some rides.

    And if I had audio there would be a lot of "Oh my God" muttering also.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    Loves to suffer freighttraininguphill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    Hahaha! All the head tilting makes it seem like you're about to fall over in the video! I gotta get a helmet cam someday. I imagine my climb videos would involve a lot of looking down at my legs/bottom bracket area, then back up to the summit. I typically do much better if I keep my eyes on the summit although it gets tough to hold the head up on some rides.

    And if I had audio there would be a lot of "Oh my God" muttering also.
    I know, it looks like I'm drunk! When I use a handlebar-mounted camera I look down a lot on tough sections. It makes it easier for some reason. Other times I actually enjoy looking at the road rising in front of me. It depends on the level of suffering at the time.

    Mine has audio. It's low like all Contours, but it contains the sounds of a suffering female cyclist, which may sound like something entirely different if it's heard by an unsuspecting spouse, so be forewarned!.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I've done the same sort of thing ... we were on a randonneuring event, and I was slogging my way up a hill when a line of runners started passing me.
    Oddest thing I have ever had happen was rolling along on flat ground by myself and I hear something on my left quarter, glance over my shoulder and discover a line of roller bladers drafting... Those guys can really move.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Oddest thing I have ever had happen was rolling along on flat ground by myself and I hear something on my left quarter, glance over my shoulder and discover a line of roller bladers drafting... Those guys can really move.

    Aaron
    Yep, I've had that happen too. During the time I raced bicycles, there was a roller blader team training for the PanAm games in Winnipeg. One of the members of the team also raced bicycles - she and I knew each other. I'd go to a particular park with a 3 km loop and would be riding round and round doing intervals or whatever, when all of a sudden I'd have a line of roller bladers drafting me, with my acquaintance right at the front.

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Yep, I've had that happen too. During the time I raced bicycles, there was a roller blader team training for the PanAm games in Winnipeg. One of the members of the team also raced bicycles - she and I knew each other. I'd go to a particular park with a 3 km loop and would be riding round and round doing intervals or whatever, when all of a sudden I'd have a line of roller bladers drafting me, with my acquaintance right at the front.
    No close calls?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
    No close calls?
    No ... it was actually both funny and a lot of fun. And it rarely lasted very long. Usually they went speeding off past me after a lap or two.

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    No ... it was actually both funny and a lot of fun. And it rarely lasted very long. Usually they went speeding off past me after a lap or two.


    I hate it when they do that!
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freighttraininguphill View Post
    Mine has audio. It's low like all Contours, but it contains the sounds of a suffering female cyclist, which may sound like something entirely different if it's heard by an unsuspecting spouse, so be forewarned!.
    LOL. I'll have some of what she's having - when Harry met Sally, restaurant scene.

    Nice video. As far as I could see, your HR peaked at 193, which makes your ability to sustain an effort in the high 180s pretty impressive.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  16. #16
    Loves to suffer freighttraininguphill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    LOL. I'll have some of what she's having - when Harry met Sally, restaurant scene.
    I just watched that movie clip on YouTube. She's a bit more vocal though!

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Nice video. As far as I could see, your HR peaked at 193, which makes your ability to sustain an effort in the high 180s pretty impressive.
    Thanks. Somewhere during the ride, it peaked at 195: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/108467017

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    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    On my touring bike (a New World Tourist, low gear of 20") and my long-distance bike (a Surly LHT with a 13-30 cassette, low gear of 23.5"), I can get down to about 2.5 mph before losing my balance and needing to dismount. On hills where I can't sustain that speed, my usual strategy is to ride, stop a bit, then continue, mostly because it takes more energy to walk and push.

    I have been on a couple of hills in Ireland where I could not get started again after I stopped because I threatened to tip over backwards. I walked up those until the grade let up a little bit.

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