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  1. #1
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    Hitting the Hills

    Just wondering if there is a proper way to ride uphill. I noticed most people will put there bike in a lower gear and stay seated the whole time, while I do the total opposite. I would have the bike in the middle chainring, highest to second highest gear, standing, and stomp down with my body weight. I just cant stand peddling a lot and not going anywhere. The reason Im asking is because I can see that this puts a lot more stress on the bike in general and probably not good in the long run.

  2. #2
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Go for the highest gear that you can deal with. How do you climb hills properly? Finish them.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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  3. #3
    Keep on climbing
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    The bike can take quite a bit of abuse. What you're describing (slow mashing cadence) sounds brutal on your knees and ankles though.
    "There is more to life than increasing its speed" -- Mahatma Gandhi

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
    Go for the highest gear that you can deal with. How do you climb hills properly? Finish them.
    So I guess what your trying to say is there is right or wrong way of climbing hills, but just what your body can handle

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinF View Post
    The bike can take quite a bit of abuse. What you're describing (slow mashing cadence) sounds brutal on your knees and ankles though.
    No I never had pain in the knees or ankles. That acutally has never even cross my my mind since the foot never leaves the pedal there should not be any type of shock in the joints.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Depends on the hills.

    Rowan and I completed the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge here in Australia this year, all of the climbs (but one which was short, but extremely steep) varied between 22 and 48 km. I'm not going to stand and stomp for 22-48 km.

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    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    The stand and stomp technique sounds like a good recipe for a short ride. You can finish off a hill that way but it won't work on a hill of any length. You will eventually meet a hill that simply makes this impossible. Also, the knee and ankle issue does not have to do with impact through footstrike.

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    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Drop View Post
    So I guess what your trying to say is there is right or wrong way of climbing hills, but just what your body can handle

    You'll toughen up physically and mentally as you progress through the season. Hills are friends and you'll notice this at some point. Over the course of time you will develop your own riding style. Most of us like to slip back in the saddle a little and let the glutes and hams take some of the load. As you approach the hill you want to initially be shifting down on the chainring only and then find the gear you want according to the steepness, wind conditions and your energy stores.

    I have a 12sp so it's easy. I approach on the tall chainring and on the #3 gear of the freewheel so when that starts to get tough I just slip off to the smaller chainring and it's right there, no change in cadence or difficulty....of course at that point speeds are declining with the incline.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    If I have energy, I like to stand. If I'm on a ride with people faster than I am, then I often end up needing to sit and spin because I just don't have that extra oomph to stand and charge the hills.

    What I do just depends upon my mood and how much energy i have at the moment. Like OldsCOOL says, so long as you get to the top it's all good.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    There are certainly many variables. One is the length of the hill. Short hills you might sit through them, or do the whole hill standing. I've done rides with single climbs of 4000-5000' and total climbing of 12000'. On the longer climbs I change things up, sitting, standing, varying cadence, pedaling with heels up, heels dropped, etc. to vary how the muscles are used.

    Generally lighter weight riders will tend to stand more than heavier riders.

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    Senior Member Koobazaur's Avatar
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    Heh, I'm glad Im not the only one who HATES the lower gears; something about moving my legs madly and going at 3km/h just feels wrong and wasteful. Plus, I do like the physical sensation of stressing my muscles on higher gears as I push them.

    So with that, I tend to keep my gears fixed while I bike and stand up on really tough hills. I will also stand up randomly to relieve my legs for a bit (let some other muscles take the load) and just because it feels fun to alternate. But I keep hearing its pretty bad for the bike (especially on high gear / steep incline) so i've been reconsidering.

    How does standing up damage my knees and joints? It's still a fairly smooth, low impact motion, just in a different position. Is it just the stress of it? Because then, well, I guess I might as well stop biking altogether if that's gonna be my worry.

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    Can someone explain what cadence I should try to keep on longer hills, because I feel much more lactic acid build up when riding seated on a hill, while when im standing I feel more muscle tension, but none of that burning feeling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.Drop View Post
    Can someone explain what cadence I should try to keep on longer hills, because I feel much more lactic acid build up when riding seated on a hill, while when im standing I feel more muscle tension, but none of that burning feeling.
    Cadence is down to you but I normally ride at around 90 to 95 cadence on the flat or slight uphill. This will drop to around 70 on the steeper hills and less than that on the walls that i have to climb occasionally. I will get out of the saddle when the cadence drops too low and no more gears but this will only be for short periods.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    mashing ins't great for cartilage either
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    Senior Member knurly's Avatar
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    On long hills, I usually find myself tacking. Yep thats me, all over the road with an idea that my course is less steep.

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    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knurly View Post
    On long hills, I usually find myself tacking. Yep thats me, all over the road with an idea that my course is less steep.
    It is less steep, you are making switchbacks. Just be sure no cars are coming. I do it sometimes too, if I'm trying not to work too hard, like the cool down after my ride home.
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  16. #16
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    I was wondering the same thing..

    Like others have said, it really depends on my mood and energy. If I am tired I usually sit and spin, but if I have energy I sit down and hammer it up the hills, or I stand and mash. Standing and mashing work better up really steep but short inclines, but sitting and hammering it works best for longer, less steep inclines. If I had to choose one position that I like the most it would be standing and mashing.
    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. - Jiddu Krishnamurti

  17. #17
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    This is a great topic. I find that I actually ride hills differently depending on which of my two bikes I am on. If riding the mtb commuter bike I find myself standing more (not just on hills) and if I am riding my cyclocross bike I tend to drop back in the saddle and spin more.

  18. #18
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    There's no right answer. How do you get up the hill? Just remember the old cheer: Sit down, stand up, fight! fight! fight!
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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