My only incentive is to get stronger and faster as I get older. Never going to race, but I believe if you're going to do something physical you ought to try to improve. At my age (66) some tread remains!
I'm riding with a 50-34, 11-32 cassette. On today's solo ride there was one significant climb, 3 miles with a 2 mile stretch that varied from 9.5% to 12+%. I could get up this climb ok, but in my lowest gear I was strength limited at about 60 rpm and couldn't get my HR above 130 bpm or so. I'd be at 150 bpm on the tandem and I don't think we could make it up this hill
My question is this - I can climb with the 34-32 combination, but would the training effect be better in a lower gear to better balance cardio and strength? I could easily put on an 11-36 for serious climbs or change to a triple.
I also recognize that intervals would be the best training regimen, but I just find I get more satisfaction out of climbing something.
BTW, took me 28 minutes to do the 3.1 mile climb so I've got lots of room for improvement. Still, i'm pleased in having gotten up given we did 35 miles on the tandem the day prior.