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Old 07-25-16, 08:07 AM
Mad bike riding scientist
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Originally Posted by Artfahie View Post
I know... basic... dumb question. I've been getting into the sport over the past two months AND as much as I remember standing on my pedals (as a kid) in my younger days (one-speed back then) I haven't the confidence to try it at this time... Of course, uphill is when you need the energy.... does absolutely everyone do this, or are there others of you that hold back as I do ? I will most likely get around to it... sometimes even the granny gears barely get me through some of these Maine hills.
It's a bit more complicated than "just standing up" or " just shifting up a couple of gears". I certainly wouldn't suggest learning how to stand and pedal on a trainer since it doesn't mimic the motions you need for standing at all.

When I see people who struggling to pedal, the first thing I notice is that they don't understand the underlying rhythm needed. To get a feel for what you should do start slow. Not in speed but in pedaling. Get going at a comfortable speed and put the pedals parallel to the ground and push up off the saddle. You want you legs to be straight which puts you about as high as you can get. Keep a light grip on the handlebars as well. Coast for a little way to get used to the feeling.

Now push down with one leg and stop at the bottom of the stroke. Maintain the light grip on the bars as well. Coast for a little way to get used to that feeling as well. You should also observe what happens to the bike as you push down on that pedal. The bike will naturally tilt away for the pedal that you pushed down on.

Now push down with the other foot. You should immediately notice that the bike straightens up and then tilts away from the pedal you are pushing down on now.

Take another stroke with the other foot and keep up that rhythm of pushing down with one foot and letting the bike move away from that leg. Pretty soon, that rocking from one side to the other will become natural. As you advance, try pulling on the bars with your hand to increase the downward force on the pedal a small amount. You'll figure out which one to pull on.

Many people will tell you to shift up when you stand but I'm not one of them. I find that shifting up leaves me in the wrong gear when I eventually have to sit back down. Shifting up on a climb naturally slows you down as does climbing out of the saddle. When you sit back down in a higher gear, you've lost momentum and you are in the wrong gear to gain it back. You've also expended a lot of energy climbing and increased heart rate. You often need to sit to recover and trying to mash a taller gear slows that recovery. Frankly, when I get out of the saddle to climb, I just increase my cadence rather than increase the gear I'm using. This is a short burst effort for the most part and not really something you do for a sustained amount of time.
Stuart Black
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