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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-18-11, 04:30 PM   #1
Chalupa102
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What's your technique for climbing?

I'm just wondering what's your technique when you climb steeper roads (greater than 10% grade) that have some snow on them? Do you sit and spin at a low gear, or do you stand and use a higher gear?
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Old 01-18-11, 05:11 PM   #2
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I ride singlespeed or fixed gear ,so the only way for me to get up hills is to stand up out of my seat and push.A 10% grade road that is snow free is not bad as long as I can get enough speed and momentum. A 10% grade with few inches of snow is not easy, sometimes I just get off my bike and walk, it's not a shame to get off and walk.
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Old 01-18-11, 05:27 PM   #3
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I ride singlespeed or fixed gear ,so the only way for me to get up hills is to stand up out of my seat and push.A 10% grade road that is snow free is not bad as long as I can get enough speed and momentum. A 10% grade with few inches of snow is not easy, sometimes I just get off my bike and walk, it's not a shame to get off and walk.

Damn skippy,
As far as climbing technique---Low Gear--Spin.
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Old 01-18-11, 05:38 PM   #4
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My homebound commute has a short stretch with a lovely 14% grade on it. During the summer, I normally stand and hammer in a middle gear. I sometimes try this in the winter, but if the rear wheel loses traction I end up at the bottom again and it isn't always painless.

It's usually safer to find the granny gear and spin.
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Old 01-18-11, 07:44 PM   #5
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I'm a cadence rider, and it really helps me climb. I do 85rpm plus/minus5 on the pedals, and I shift into whatever speed I need to be comfortable at 85rpm.
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Old 01-18-11, 10:57 PM   #6
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I sit and spin. It seems easier to recover from wheelspin if you're not pushing as hard on the pedals. I'll try to stay upright to keep the weight over the rear tire.
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Old 01-18-11, 11:00 PM   #7
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standing or walking in snow with clipless shoes that are not winter specific = numb toes.

sit and spin, while trying to figure out best weight balance of front/rear.
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Old 01-19-11, 01:14 PM   #8
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10% grade, damn.

I find that anything over a few percent, with slick surfaces, means you have to sit down and "spin." And if it's snow "spin" will mean my lowest gear and about 70RPM.

If I stand I waste energy spinning the wheel out, and it always happens at the worst possible time and may leave me with no momentum. If you do need to stand you can weight back and get a lot more traction, personally I have to really concentrate to do that. When I stand up in the summer it's usually to save my legs and take it easy, so I shift weight to the front.
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Old 01-19-11, 02:44 PM   #9
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spin,spin,spin. 34 tooth gear up front and a 36 tooth in the back. if i removed my front derailer i could manually down shift down to the 24 tooth gear in the front.
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Old 01-19-11, 04:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chalupa102 View Post
I'm just wondering what's your technique when you climb steeper roads (greater than 10% grade) that have some snow on them? Do you sit and spin at a low gear, or do you stand and use a higher gear?
Whatever works. There's really no one way to do anything. It's not impossible to stand and keep weight over the rear wheel. Nor is seated never going to slip.
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Old 01-19-11, 04:05 PM   #11
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whatever makes you more comfortable

i vote for standing and grunting loudly, but only because i ride SS. don't underestimate the power gained by a few well vocalized grunts
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Old 01-19-11, 05:12 PM   #12
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Depends how much snow. Significant snow and it will slow me down so much that I will be in the lowest gear and still mashing (slow rpms, seated, but occasionally standing), and the rear wheel will kind of jerk on each pedal stroke.

Clear pavement, ice or less snow and I will sit and sort of spin. If I was on a fixed bike I would stand more. If I was on a single speed I would make sure my gear ratio was low (or end up hating my life).
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Old 01-19-11, 05:52 PM   #13
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sit and spin as well, though if the hill is bad enough I'm not ashamed to walk it.

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Old 01-19-11, 09:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I ride singlespeed or fixed gear ,so the only way for me to get up hills is to stand up out of my seat and push.A 10% grade road that is snow free is not bad as long as I can get enough speed and momentum. A 10% grade with few inches of snow is not easy, sometimes I just get off my bike and walk, it's not a shame to get off and walk.
Gives you a chance to warm up your feet too.
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Old 01-19-11, 09:10 PM   #15
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On ice? Always sit. Rear wheel loses traction if I try to stand.
Dry pavement? I prefer standing, by far.
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Old 01-19-11, 09:25 PM   #16
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Depends on how steep. If it's too steep, I turn around and ride down it. Much more fun.
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Old 01-22-11, 11:04 PM   #17
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I put the bike into low and slowboat it up the hill (~10kph). Makes traffic mad, but they can pass in the left lane.
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Old 01-23-11, 12:04 AM   #18
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sit and keep em turning in low
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Old 02-04-11, 03:26 PM   #19
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Depends on the temperature. Went on a ride a couple days ago where temps were in the low single digits. Hardpack snow/frozen mud surface on a fire road, around 7% consistent grade, 20% max grade. Out of the saddle, climbing with weight as far back as possible. On 700x32 tires. No problem.

Ride today was up a paved road, max grade of maybe 5%, ice/slush at 31 degrees. Certainly sitting, and then running next to the bike when traction went to zero.

I usually run around 40-45 gear inches offroad, would rather be climbing than descending, and I'm usually pulling 50 pounds of two wheeled trailer with my three year old who loves bike rides almost as much as I do.

Next year I'm running studded tires and climbing however, where ever I want.
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