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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 08-17-13, 09:47 PM   #26
Roody
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My ride to class was downhill and the ride home was all uphill.
When I rode to school it was all uphill both ways.
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Old 08-17-13, 09:56 PM   #27
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When I rode to school it was all uphill both ways.
In Florida, where I grew up, there weren't hills, but there were other obstacles.



Head currents put head winds to shame, and lets not even talk about riptide.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 08-17-13, 10:52 PM   #28
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I'm currently hanging out in the hilly city of St John's NL as opposed to the very bike-friendly terrain of Des Moines.

How do you hilly city folks do it? Even though I am a reasonably fit 59 year old, I huff and puff up the hills. Some of them are hitting over 10% grade and I tend to walk those. Luckily I have a mtb here that is geared pretty low...but even then.

Despite that, I see a lot of cyclists tackling hills w/o electric assist... like they are going on flats.

Will I ever get used to these hills?
Hills are pretty easy once you reconcile yourself to the fact that they're inevitable, and, in Seattle, they are. I have mountain bike gears on my touring/commuting bike (LHT), and I'm not ashamed to to use the small chain ring and take it kind of easy on the uphill half of my daily rides. In the beginning, I charged up the hills as fast as I could in high gear, but it didn't take me very long to figure out that going a little easier is almost as fast, and a lot kinder to the knees and IT band. Also, it helps to remember that, in city traffic, it doesn't matter what you do personally; traffic, intersections and terrain are going to more or less ensure that your average speed is always about 10-15 mph, so you may as well relax and enjoy yourself....
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Old 08-17-13, 10:52 PM   #29
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Art, did you carry pepper spray for the sharks or just clobber them with your U-lock? Also I bet it was pretty easy to stop for those water breaks you like.
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Old 08-18-13, 08:20 PM   #30
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I have mountain bike gears on my touring/commuting bike (LHT), and I'm not ashamed to to use the small chain ring and take it kind of easy on the uphill half of my daily rides.
A good touring bike with 44-33-22 chain ring and maybe a 32 or 34 ring in the back is a big help on hills.

On top of a good range of gears, tire selection is a big factor. I was riding an MTB with 1.95 inch knobbies. I would have preferred something like a 32mm slick for city riding.
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Old 08-18-13, 08:24 PM   #31
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If you had a nice set of Pugsley tires, you could probably ride upside down
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Old 08-20-13, 02:54 AM   #32
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I'm currently hanging out in the hilly city of St John's NL as opposed to the very bike-friendly terrain of Des Moines.
Will I ever get used to these hills?
At first I thought the "NL" meant Netherlands, and I was going to tease you mercilessly for thinking the terrain was hilly. (Yes, yes, I know there are a few areas with hills there.)

For the one really steep, really LONG hill I have to get over to get to the college where I take my classes, I leave my bicycle at the bus station at the base and take the bus over. For my have-fun go-fast stuff, I've noticed a marked improvement in my hill-climbing ability since I've started lifting weights, specifically squats, deadlifts, step ups, lunges, and Bulgarian split-squats.

Oh, and my rule is that as soon as I drop below 4 mph, I get off and walk because I can walk 4.5 mph up a hill.
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Old 08-20-13, 09:32 AM   #33
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At first I thought the "NL" meant Netherlands, and I was going to tease you mercilessly for thinking the terrain was hilly. (Yes, yes, I know there are a few areas with hills there.)

For the one really steep, really LONG hill I have to get over to get to the college where I take my classes, I leave my bicycle at the bus station at the base and take the bus over. For my have-fun go-fast stuff, I've noticed a marked improvement in my hill-climbing ability since I've started lifting weights, specifically squats, deadlifts, step ups, lunges, and Bulgarian split-squats.

Oh, and my rule is that as soon as I drop below 4 mph, I get off and walk because I can walk 4.5 mph up a hill.
Two great suggestions! I never heard the second one expressed that well. A good rule of thumb makes life easier.
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Old 08-20-13, 11:11 PM   #34
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Another Seattleite here. Hills are mostly mental, the trick is to shift down early, keep your cadence up and set back a little and don't go forward with full effort.

My house is 42' above sea level and every place I need to go is up hill and most of those hills are 300-450 feet high. I do use a normal rear cassette on my main bike with a compact front (50/34 and 13/26) but I will be putting on a larger cassette the next time I need to replace the chain. But I pull cargo with my Bob trailer with that gearing.

With no trailer I tend to maintain 20mph without traffic and to do this I need about 202 Watts, at a 3% grade that same number of watts will only let me go about 11mph. The 4.5% grade I am going to climb right after I post this message will slow me down to about 7 mph at the same output. This output is about 2.5 Watts/Kg and I can at my current state of fitness maintain that output for an extended period of time If I try to kick it up to about 3Watts/Kg I burn out within an hour.

So ignoring all that fancy math the answer is to keep your effort within your sustainable power output range or remember to go slow and don't burn yourself out and remember when you go up hill you also get to go down hill at some point in the future..
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Old 08-21-13, 06:08 PM   #35
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Another Seattleite here. Hills are mostly mental, the trick is to shift down early, keep your cadence up and set back a little and don't go forward with full effort.
That's clearly the answer. If you have low enough gearing you can do this and succeed.

But a question: what size/type tire do you run on these hills?
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Old 08-22-13, 12:32 AM   #36
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I took a big old swig of the gatorskin koolaid a few years back. So I run hardshells on my one bike that only takes 700x23c tires to help reduce pinch flats and the normal 700x28c gatorskin (ultras) on my other bikes.

But any of the modern tires with breakers in them are probably fine. To be honest I size them for the potholes and not the hills
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Old 08-22-13, 06:08 AM   #37
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That's clearly the answer. If you have low enough gearing you can do this and succeed.

But a question: what size/type tire do you run on these hills?
I'm running Continental Sport Contacts 26x1.6 on my Hard Rock.

I let my breathing control my power. I breathe deeply and freely. I find a gear where my legs can convert that into a comfortably fast cadence, if I can't maintain a pace, I take a break, catch my breath and then go work on another section of hill. One important thing that I don't hear mentioned is that as you ride hills again and again, you will learn them and you body will know how to climb them. You will learn exactly where the inflection points where a street gets steeper or flatter are. You'll learn the necessary pacing.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

Last edited by Artkansas; 08-23-13 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 08-23-13, 08:14 AM   #38
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One important thing that I don't hear mentioned is that as you ride hills again and again, you will learn them and you body will know how to climb them. You will learn exactly where the inflection points where a street gets steeper or flatter are. You'll learn the necessary pacing.
So true. If traffic allows... An amazing amount of energy can be saved watching the road surface of the hill (or flats). Riding the side or tire groove can have an energy sucking off camber surface or rough pavement. The crown between the tire tracks is helpful although not always the best way. Listen to your legs.
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Old 07-13-14, 06:12 AM   #39
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I'm currently hanging out in the hilly city of St John's NL as opposed to the very bike-friendly terrain of Des Moines.

How do you hilly city folks do it? Even though I am a reasonably fit 59 year old, I huff and puff up the hills. Some of them are hitting over 10% grade and I tend to walk those. Luckily I have a mtb here that is geared pretty low...but even then.

Despite that, I see a lot of cyclists tackling hills w/o electric assist... like they are going on flats.

Will I ever get used to these hills?
How is the climbing going? I am such a flatlander and have been struggling with the hills of Hobart since we moved here about 9 months ago. And yes, like you, I see people going up the hills like they are riding flat ground. I don't understand how they do it.

One thing I have noticed is that if there is little or no traffic on the hill, I can usually manage it not too badly. I'm as slow as molasses on a cold winter day, but I can cycle to the top. But if there is lots of traffic, my heart rate soars and I can't do it.
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