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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-25-07, 10:02 PM   #1
Elkhound
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Peccavi mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I had a party to go to this evening at the home of some friends who live on Viewmont, which is up at the very tip-top of the ridge by the watertower. I drove.

In my defense, many of the streets leading up to their house have a more than 19" grade. I wanted to bike up there. I even started to bike up there, but I got up just a few yards of where the hill got really steep, beyond Washington, and I just couldn't face it.

Am I a bad person?
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Old 03-25-07, 10:31 PM   #2
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You're not bad. You're just drawn that way.

Do what you can, not what anyone else says you must. If the end of civilization is caused or contributed to in any way by the use of cars - and it just might be - then most of us here are guilty, past or present tense. Try to delay that end, but don't feel too guilty when you can't. At least that's how I figger it.

Nobody here is qualified to give you absolution. Twenty hail Marys should suffice though if it does anything for you.

Hope the party was fun, or else you'll really feel guilty.
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Old 03-25-07, 10:50 PM   #3
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I can't dispense forgiveness either, but hill climbing is a good topic. I'm by no means a good hill climber but it is a fact that I can climb some hills now that I just couldn't do two years ago.

I complained about hills when this forum started. A couple of more experienced cyclists assured me it would get easier with practice and time. I really didn't believe them, but it happened just the way they predicted. A long 19 per cent grade is quite challenging and I doubt that's something I'd ever be able to do without a huge amount of struggle and resting and of course walking, but ever so slowly the smaller hills get conquered.
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Old 03-25-07, 10:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Platy
I can't dispense forgiveness either, but hill climbing is a good topic. I'm by no means a good hill climber but it is a fact that I can climb some hills now that I just couldn't do two years ago.

I complained about hills when this forum started. A couple of more experienced cyclists assured me it would get easier with practice and time. I really didn't believe them, but it happened just the way they predicted. A long 19 per cent grade is quite challenging and I doubt that's something I'd ever be able to do without a huge amount of struggle and resting and of course walking, but ever so slowly the smaller hills get conquered.
And think of the serious rush on the way home...

-D
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Old 03-26-07, 12:17 AM   #5
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I'm not in a position to judge you harshly, because, while I do not drive cars, I ride in them frequently, much to my shame. However, I have to agree with platy and say that a 19 degree grade is something that can indeed be done by mortals. I'm a middle aged man who rides a steel hybrid with panniers stuffed with bottles of beer, or tools, or papers, and I'm pretty sure I ride a lot of hills that are at least that steep every day; some of them are quite a bit steeper, in fact. I'm not riding by in blur, mind you, but I do manage to get to the top of the hill every time. Your very minor sin, such as it is, isn't so much a lack of character as it is a lack of confidence
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Old 03-26-07, 01:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by derath
And think of the serious rush on the way home...

-D
++

The thought of the downhill is sometimes the only way I make it up

Recently hauled a car battery to a recycler for someone up a pretty good grade, that was something, barely made it. Once I got that boat anchor off though I felt like my bike weighed nothing and I had superhuman strength
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Old 03-26-07, 08:52 AM   #7
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Sounds like laziness to me. You'll never get up that hill if you keep driving. Ride it cowboy! Unless you have a physical disability, in which case you might be able to walk.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:56 AM   #8
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And think of the serious rush on the way home...

-D
Tell me about it! You've not lived 'til you hit a 70MPH downhill run on a lowracer. When I get the kids out of the nest, I'm going back up to Tennessee to do the Hilly Hundred again.

To the OP, get a mega-range cassette on that machine, and get going. You're actually lucky; I can only dream about hills like that in my region.
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Old 03-26-07, 10:26 AM   #9
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However, I have to agree with platy and say that a 19 degree grade is something that can indeed be done by mortals.
Not 19-degree. 19 inches/foot.
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Old 03-26-07, 11:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Elkhound
Not 19-degree. 19 inches/foot.
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this one. The slope rises 19 inches vertically for each 12 horizontal inches?
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Old 03-26-07, 09:36 PM   #11
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Sorry; I mistyped. I meant inches/yard. Even the car didn't like it much. I have ridden up there a couple of times but it was (a) before I added the Xtracycle (which, for all its advantages does add significant weight and (b) when I wasn't quite so tired. WV is called 'the Mountain State' for a reason.

Here in Charleston, down by the river it is OK; a a few uphill routes, but nothing that a reasonably healthy person cannot deal with. But, on the West Side, beyond Washington Street the roads become more suitable for mountain goats than anything else; there is a bit of plateau up on top of the ridge, but to get there. . . .

That being said, I am going to talk to my LBS about getting different gears to make steep slopes easier.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:49 PM   #12
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19" per 1 yard is over 52% grade.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:49 PM   #13
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Well that is a steep one. Wheels are always a disadvantage when it comes to going uphill. Sometimes it's better to walk. But it's never better to drive.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:53 PM   #14
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19 inches per yard. That's a 53 percent grade (i.e., 19/36), or 28 degrees. I thought you were talking about a 19 per cent grade. I'd only try a 53 percent grade on foot, with non slip soled shoes and a hand rail.
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Old 03-26-07, 10:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkhound
Not 19-degree. 19 inches/foot.
19 inches of rise for every foot traveled? By my calculations, 19 inches/foot is a 58 degree angle, if I remember my trig correctly. (Tan 58 = 19/12, roughly.) That's not a hill I'd bicycle up, either. Come to think of it, is it even possible to drive a car up such a hill? Actually, if faced with such a hill, I'd take the stairs....

edit: oops, it's 19 inches/yard. That's what I get for not reading all the posts before I respond... In that case, it's only a 28 degree grade (tan 28 = 19/36), which is still pretty scary. Unless my math is off, in which case I'm sure someone will tell me real soon... In any case, it's still a tough one to bike, esp. if it's long.

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Old 03-26-07, 10:38 PM   #16
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Should have jogged it. Nothing gets the blood pumping like a good hill jog. If you pushed your bike, you could even still ride it down.
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Old 03-26-07, 10:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Roody
Well that is a steep one. Wheels are always a disadvantage when it comes to going uphill. Sometimes it's better to walk. But it's never better to drive.
Yeah, how far is it? Sounds like the best tool would be legs on pavement.
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Old 03-27-07, 07:29 AM   #18
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Summary:
  • 19 degrees
  • 19 percent
  • 19 inches/foot
  • 19 inches/yard

All of these except one are steeper than any paved road in the USA. Somehow I'm skeptical that any of them are correct.

Edit: I discovered that Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh is unofficially measured at 37%, which is steeper than 19 degrees. This means that that only two of the measurements are steeper than the steepest paved road in the USA.
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Old 03-27-07, 09:12 AM   #19
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I looked at a topographic map and found the ridge Elkhound mentioned. It looks like typically there's an ascent of 200 feet vertical for 700 feet horizontal up to that ridge.

That's a 200/700 = 29 per cent grade, or arc tan(200/700) = 16 degree slope. It could easily be somewhat steeper in places.

19 per cent is the steepest hill I've climbed and for me that requires walking the bike. Hats off to anyone who can do a 29 per cent hill.
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Old 03-29-07, 11:45 AM   #20
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Yeah, don't feel too bad about not climbing that hill on a bike. And who knows? Even if you had ridden up, you'd be riding the brakes all the way down. This is all assuming you're completely sober for the trip home as well!
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Old 03-30-07, 12:30 PM   #21
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I try to think about the reward I'll get on the way down.

I also look at it as building potential energy and i'll let Newton drive me down the hill (favorite line from "Appolo 13" movie was "Newton's in the drivers seat now").

Nothing beats the downhill reward, and after two years commuting up my 'hill' I have to admit they do get smaller (with the added benefit of me getting stronger).

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Old 03-30-07, 08:24 PM   #22
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This thread can veer into a larger issue: Houses that really are 'car dependent'. Yes, this home in question is reachable with a bicycle, but, man, what a slog! I'm thinking of houses on steep hills, remote canyons, and out in the so-called exurbs. These are NOT places in which to own homes when (not if) gas really gets expensive. Many people buy homes in more remote areas because they get 'more bang for their buck'. It's the comparative cheapness of energy that has made this possible, and increases in the cost of energy could tip the scales the other way. It'll be interesting to see how this all works out...

And, no, Elkhound. You're not a bad person. You wanted to visit your friends!
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Old 04-02-07, 02:29 PM   #23
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I am saving my pennies to get a Stokemonkey; then no place will be inaccessible.
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