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  1. #1
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    Bent Climbing Techniques

    Fairly new to recumbents. Are there any hard-fast rules on climbing with a bent as compared to climbing with an up-right?

  2. #2
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums! As you cant stand and mash the pedals, your best bet will be to sit and spin. I have only done a few miles on a bent, I noticed the muscles used on a bent are quite different then on a standard bike. It may take you a few weeks to be able to go up hills on your bent as fast as on your upright.

    Im sure some of the bent riders here will be able to give you some more information, or a few tips; stick around.

  3. #3
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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    I've heard two schools of thought on the subject. By far the most prolific is the "gear down and spin" group, which is probably the best advice. On a long steady climb, it is far kinder on your knees to spin in the abscence of the ability to stand-and-mash. The other group favors the leverage of "mashing into the seatback", assuming your bent features a rigid back as opposed to a mesh back. This produces greater ascending speed on short climbs (I emphasize "short"!) I read somewhere that most people actually generate greater leg power from pushing out against back resistance than they can in an upright position relying on gravity (think of leg pushes in weight lifting on a Universal machine.) I personally vary technique depending on the steepness and duration of climb - it helps to know the terrain in advance, though.

    Eddie
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Goatbiker's Avatar
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    The rules for climbing don't change for a 'bent. One hand for the bike, one hand for the ladder.

  5. #5
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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    Originally posted by Goatbiker
    The rules for climbing don't change for a 'bent. One hand for the bike, one hand for the ladder.
    That's rich!
    Of course, climbing on foot is an entirely different activity (if only I could hoist my SWB onto my shoulder as easily as I do my MTB.) Stairs are a definite challenge, however I've never had a reason to ascend a ladder!
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bentboy's Avatar
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    I live near the top of a steep hill, to steep to spin with my present gearing so I slowly mash and mash, I feel like an old locomotive trying to climb over the mountains , my legs feel like a couple of tree trunks when i finally get home.
    Last edited by bentboy; 05-06-02 at 03:18 AM.

  7. #7
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    Hi! I'm new here and I'm new to recumbents and bought a Canondale 2 weeks ago. I am up to 4 miles per ride. My problem is HILLS. I can't seem to steer staight while going uphill. I go from side to side and yesterday I wiped out before I landed in a stickerbush. I just had some roadrash and , of course, my neighbors were watching and had a good laugh.

    So, anyway, any thoughts to going uphill or should I forget it until I get my "bent" legs stronger?
    :confused:

  8. #8
    Senior Member Andre's Avatar
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    Hi Much,
    A big key to getting uphill straight is to keep your upper body relaxed and keep your grip on the handlebars loose. When i'm climbing hills i never close my hand around the grips, i just let my hands hang loose by the fingers, without the thumb gripping at all. You must also keep at the hills, that's the quickest way to build the bent legs.
    Andre
    I yam what i yam-popeye the sailor

  9. #9
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    >You must also keep at the hills, that's the quickest way to build >the bent legs.

    Wah. But I don't *want* to!!


    Sigh...I've only been riding a couple of weeks. I can go 8-12 miles on the bike trail in a couple of hours most evenings if I take the long route around the hill, but the hills here just *kill* me...

    I know I'm a wimp, but after I climb the 4-5 block hill between me and the college campus, I have hardly any steam left to ride the trail. Sure sucks the enjoyment and the feeling of accomplishment out of riding.

    When I avoid the hills I come home pretty good, feeling like I might actually be able to call myself a real cyclist some day, but after a couple of hills I come home half dead, and it's sooooo embarrassing to be the fat old lady who has to walk her bike up a hill.

    I want so bad to be able to commute to work and class on my bike, but it's literally uphill both ways. I feel like it's going to be forever before I can do it.

    Oh! And I actually have a real question...is it better to rotate easy days and hill days with a day off riding once in a while to give my legs time to rest in between? If I have a push myself on a challenging ride, the next night when I hit the first little uphill my legs are already feel fatigued. Advice? What's the best way to build up my riding muscles fast yet maintain some enjoyment and feeling of accomplishment in the ride??

  10. #10
    Senior Member Andre's Avatar
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    when i started riding to work,34 miles round trip, i would just go 2 times a week and as time went on i increased to 3 and now i do 4. It is all just a matter of you becoming acclimated to your route, you may not be able to ride as much as you would like to at first. Taking your time and building up your weekly commuting is really the best way because bike commuting is supposed to be enjoyable, so relax, go slow and walk up those hills if you have to.The time will come when you have your bent legs and you will be amazed at how much stronger you feel and how good your legs look!
    Andre
    I yam what i yam-popeye the sailor

  11. #11
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    It is a lot harder getting in shape for climbing that riding flat land. I believe it is good to take flat rides for conditioning while your legs are recovering from hill climbing. When I commuted, retired and riding everyday now, was when I expermented with different technics like spinning, pushpull pedal strokes and such. It kept my little mind occupied while rideing the same route every day. Karl , I wish this had spell checker!
    Ride to eat, eat to ride

  12. #12
    Senior Member bentrider's Avatar
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    I have toured with my bents in a number of locations where there are steep hills and carrying a very heavy load (40-45kg) and the one thing I eventually found the most useful for those ardous climbs was a good low gearing. I have a 24 speed on one bent with a at least a 20 gear inch as my lowest, on the other bent I have and use more frequently (a 21 speed) I use a rear cog 14 to 34 (Mega Ring). This will get me up some of those 17% grades that occasionally pop up, though I haven't found a hill that at least I can't walk up.
    bentrider
    "More than a little bent!"

  13. #13
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    Okay, I'm new to this forum and this series is old, but one thing that no one has pointed out:

    On a "wedgie" when you climb a hill, your body position changes, so you end up using different sets of muscles than on level ground. But on a bent, your body position doesn't (shouldn't) change, so you use the same muscles whether climbing a hill or running level.

    Also, drop a gear and spin. If you mash your back into the back of the seat, you can power the pedals more than is possible on a wedgie (on a wedgie, the most power you can deliver is your own body weight). This may be okay in the short run, that is, if you climb hills very infrequently, but in the long run, you will end up over-stressing your knees.

  14. #14
    N_C
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    One thing no one who has posted to this thread has pointed out yet is what kind of hills are we talking about.

    I have learned that on rolling hills, where there are 2 or 3 hills, one right after another, these are all over NW Iowa, once you climb the first one by spinning up it in a lower gear you want to pedal down the other side as hard and as fast as you safely can so you can power and mash your way back up the next one with out having to gear down as much.

    I have found by doing this and only gearing down when I really need to I'm already halfway up the next hill and the rest of it is easy. Plus its really fun when you have a series of 3 or 4 rollers in a row.

    On a 'bent you kind of get the feeling that you are on a roller coaster. I never had that feeling on a wedgie.

    But on hills that have a flat part before the hill starts you need to gear down and spin your way to the top.

    I have also found on the steeper and longer hills that are not part of a series of 3 or 4 rollers that I should unclip at least one foot. The reason for this is if I lose momentum and am about to fall over I can plant my foot to prevent from doing so. I usually fall over when my speed gets as low as about 4 to 5 mph on hills. So I try to keep it at 6 mph or above.

  15. #15
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    I live in SE Ohio and we have hills that vary in length and grade. Going into town, there is a hill the .7 mile long about 10 % grade. I will spin for part of it sometimes. But mostly I use a slow mash and then when I get a little tired then I do a slow pull. This alternates the muscles that I use. Sometimes I will move forward in the seat a little bit and this changes the angle of attack and changes the muscle use.

    About the steering bit, I now use my pedal strokes to move in the direction of which foot I am using. I then slightly correct with the tiller. In other words, I push with right foot and slightly steer to the left to keep me centered.

    Rarely do I spin up a hill because they are to long.
    Gary

  16. #16
    Bent_Rider
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    If want hills go here.
    In California Sierra Nevada.

    http://www.deathride.com/
    4 times completed on Vision R45

    or here to Sonora Pass
    http://www.chainreactionbicycles.com/sonora_gateway.htm

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