Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Flat land vs. hills

Old 07-15-18, 02:43 PM
  #1  
philbob57
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Chicago North Shore
Posts: 953

Bikes: frankenbike based on MKM frame

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 224 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Flat land vs. hills

**Some NYC-specific content**

My hat is off to all you riders who ride hills. (I'd say 'mountains', but at this point, I find it impossible to believe anyone rides up or down mountains on a road bike. Give me a while to get used to the concept, and I'll bow down to mountain road bike riders....

I generally ride on Chicago's North Shore. Now I'm visiting Providence and NYC.

Up hill is bad enough, but the downhills scare the **** out of me. I've been using 35 year old Suntour Superbe brake pads, which have been fine on the flats at my 13-15 mph speeds. Not so fine going from Ft. Washington Ave, down 181st St to the Hudson River Greenway. I just got some Kool Stop Continental pads, and I hope they help.

I used to ride in Providence as a kid. IIRC, I once rode up College Hill. I rode from Providence to Newport. Now ... I wouldn't attempt either.

I bought a 28 tooth chainring for my TA Cyclotouriste (shouldn't that be 'Cyclotourist'?), but I couldn't get it shift reliably at home, so I'm in 45/42-13/26. I walked up 157th from the Greenway to Broadway. I can handle Broadway and Ft. Washington fine, but I haven't found a way I can ride from the Greenway to where I'm staying (172nd and Ft. Washington). I'd love to ride in Central Park, but there's a hill there that seems to steep to walk up.

How does anyone get used to the need to work like hell to go up hills and coast going down? How do you build endurance? I never thought I'd say this, but at least with headwinds, all one has to do is to keep spinning, and eventually you'll get where you want to go. The constant off-on cycling seems inhuman.

I found a Friday parking space last Wednesday, though, and my son taught me the double-parking ropes, so I'm good for a parking space until we leave on the 21st. I guess it's churlish to ask for anything more in NYC.
philbob57 is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 03:10 PM
  #2  
DiabloScott
It's MY mountain
 
DiabloScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mt.Diablo
Posts: 8,530

Bikes: Klein, Merckx, Trek

Mentioned: 57 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2120 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
My hat is off to all you riders who ride hills. (I'd say 'mountains', but at this point, I find it impossible to believe anyone rides up or down mountains on a road bike.
How does anyone get used to the need to work like hell to go up hills and coast going down? How do you build endurance?
I like it *because* it's challenging.

DiabloScott is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 05:03 PM
  #3  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,322

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 123 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2813 Post(s)
Liked 21 Times in 16 Posts
From a flatlander who had to learn to go up mountains ... climb lots of stairs.
Machka is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 05:22 PM
  #4  
CAT7RDR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 159

Bikes: Kestrel RT-!000, Trek Marlin 29'er

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 51 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
The great thing about road cycling is there are limitless challenges. Unless we are an elite uber athlete transferring to cycling, the rest of us have to start near the bottom and work to develop ourselves into proficient amateurs.

The only failure is never trying.

Even if you have to hike a bike up a hill, stay with it.

Take heart, you will get stronger, faster and learn to enjoy your personal mountains.
CAT7RDR is online now  
Old 07-15-18, 05:43 PM
  #5  
GadgetGirlIL
Senior Member
 
GadgetGirlIL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Lisle, IL
Posts: 252

Bikes: 2003 Litespeed Vortex, 2017 All-City Mr. Pink, ~1997 Trek Multitrack 700

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I love rollers! Give me hills any day over relentless headwinds. I'm from the western suburbs of Chicago, btw.

Scenes from the 200K brevet I did last weekend near Fond du lac, Wisconsin.
GadgetGirlIL is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 06:00 PM
  #6  
Biker395 
Seat Sniffer
 
Biker395's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SoCal
Posts: 4,577

Bikes: 2008 Scott CR1 Pro; 2006 Schwinn Fastback Pro and 1996 Colnago Decor Super C96; 2003 Univega Alpina 700; 2000 Schwinn Super Sport

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 421 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 8 Posts
Wow. It goes to show you ... it takes all kinds.

I LOVE climbing. Every Pedal stroke is like money in the bank, and every Pedal stroke gets you a better view. I love pedaling for s goal and the feeling of achievement when you get there. Standing in the pedals, working the bike back and forth, feeling your body respond. It's great!

Then there are the descents! Twisty, curvy thrill rides ... it's like flying. i honestly think that if I lived somewhere without hills, I wouldn't be a cyclist at all.

i totally understand why others don't like it. And believe me ... on a hot difficult long climb, I'm suffering and ready to be done. But I seriously love climbing.
Biker395 is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 06:01 PM
  #7  
Biker395 
Seat Sniffer
 
Biker395's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SoCal
Posts: 4,577

Bikes: 2008 Scott CR1 Pro; 2006 Schwinn Fastback Pro and 1996 Colnago Decor Super C96; 2003 Univega Alpina 700; 2000 Schwinn Super Sport

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 421 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 8 Posts
PS: I hate wind. lol
Biker395 is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 08:16 PM
  #8  
DrIsotope 
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 6,373

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn

Mentioned: 88 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3397 Post(s)
Liked 36 Times in 29 Posts
Man, I would kill for some rollers. We have stuff that looks like this:





It is not friendly to... those of greater mass. Myself included.
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 08:39 PM
  #9  
DeadGrandpa
Senior Member
 
DeadGrandpa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Carolina
Posts: 693

Bikes: Trek 1120, Santa Cruz Tallboy 3CC, Fandango DC-9 MTB tandem, Jamis Renegade Expert, Bike Friday Pocket Llama, Santana Arriva tandem, Bridgestone RB-1

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 214 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I live in the rolling hills area of Carolina. Riding here is a mixed bag of headwinds and moderate hills, and it's a good terrain for general conditioning and endurance building. The bonus part of living here is that two hours of driving gets me to the mountains where I find out how out of shape I really am. A nice 6-8% climb for six unbroken miles of gravel road will build your character, and strengthen your legs, too. Your road bike doesn't have the gearing? Look at this problem as an opportunity to buy another bike.

Or, you can climb stairs in a high rise.
DeadGrandpa is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 09:58 PM
  #10  
Helderberg
Senior Member
 
Helderberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rolesville NC
Posts: 321

Bikes: Had an old Columbia in the 80's, here a used Schwinn hybrid, now a Cannondale Quick 7 & 3.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 93 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
I live in a area that is all hills. If I venture out on to the main roads, where the roads are considerably flatter, but the traffic is very intense where most of the original residents really do not care for the "bikers". What I like about the hills here is that I can roll out of my driveway, hang a right and in 50 yards be heading down a long hill, slow and turn at the bottom and climb back out. Do that three or four times and I have had a good workout. According to Strava in 4.8 miles three days ago I climbed 343ft. in 24 min. at 11.4 average. Not bad for these old 69 year old legs and lungs. I know I have a lot of work to get to even close to what most of you are doing here but I intend to stick with it and improve. My longer rides are slower but in the heat they just suck the life out of me. Still working to get better and the hills here are what I consider a challenge to be won. Sure, that's what I tell myself now, sitting at my computer with the AC working perfectly. When I am on the hill and my lungs and legs are burning what I am saying would get me banned from this Forum.
Frank.
Helderberg is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 10:20 PM
  #11  
Hondo Gravel
politically incorrect
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Hondo,Texas
Posts: 880

Bikes: Motobecane Boris Fatbike, Motobecane Omni Strada Pro,Fantom Pro CX, Fantom X7 MTB, Gravity SS MTB.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 420 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 18 Times in 18 Posts
I live in the Texas Hill County so steep short climbs good enough to develope some climbing endurance. Real mountains that climb for miles will kick my backside but after you crest the top the down hill or mountain feels great like you earned it for climbing. The routes around here are flat and climbs so you get a mix.
Hondo Gravel is offline  
Old 07-15-18, 11:05 PM
  #12  
caloso
Packfodding 3
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 37,834

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1748 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 24 Posts
I live in a completely flat valley. Hills are a 30 minute drive east, but 90%of my rides are flat.
caloso is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 03:40 AM
  #13  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,322

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 123 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2813 Post(s)
Liked 21 Times in 16 Posts
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
From a flatlander who had to learn to go up mountains ... climb lots of stairs.

Further to this ... climbing stairs doesn't help with the fear factor of descending, but it certainly seemed to build the leg strength for climbing.

I went from walking everything in sight, to being able to cycle up Mt Wellington.

This is a pretty good description of the climb up Mt Wellington ... not my description, but I can relate.
https://www.lavelocita.cc/guides-pag...-mt-wellington
Machka is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 09:57 AM
  #14  
rando_couche
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,028
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 124 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
To be able to climb and descend well, you have to do a lot of climbing and descending. Fitness, skills and confidence are all vital.

SP
OC, OR
"It's a hill. Get over it."
rando_couche is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 09:59 AM
  #15  
Biker395 
Seat Sniffer
 
Biker395's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: SoCal
Posts: 4,577

Bikes: 2008 Scott CR1 Pro; 2006 Schwinn Fastback Pro and 1996 Colnago Decor Super C96; 2003 Univega Alpina 700; 2000 Schwinn Super Sport

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 421 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 8 Posts
I guess rather than just wax poetic about climbing, I should offer some advice ... here it is.

1. Low gears first: Get some low gears so you can spin up most hills. They'll give you confidence to tackle them. I personally like gears as low as 27 inches, but go even lower if you prefer. I use a triple and on long climbs, shift into the inner ring and leave it there, doing all my shifting on the rear cassette from that point.

2. Learn how to stand: Click up 2-3 gears and stand on the pedals once in a while. This allows you to breathe better, and rests the muscles that you use when you're sitting and spinning. Your cadence should be fairly slow ... and your motion should be like a stair stepper. Don't stomp on the pedals. Let your weight do the work. If done properly, you'll eventually be able to stand long periods without tiring of it.

3. Pedaling technique: It is very easy to find yourself pedaling against yourself when you're tired. Concentrate on pedaling in circles, and watch your speed go up 1-2 MPH for no extra effort.

4. Take your time: It's not a race. Go up at a pace you are comfortable with. If others are faster, let 'em go. If it is an especially long climb, settle into a comfortable speed. You are going to go slower, so enjoy the stuff that you don't see when breezing by at 20 MPH.

5. Keep your weight down: It is all about power/weight. Losing 10 pounds or so does make a difference. Do enough climbing and the weight will take care of itself.
__________________
Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
www.photo395.com
Biker395 is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 10:06 AM
  #16  
caloso
Packfodding 3
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 37,834

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1748 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 24 Posts
It's possible to train for climbing on flat land: long intervals near threshold (2x20' @ 95% FTP), into the wind, sitting up with hands on the tops or hoods, big gear. Gets you used to the grind.

Oh, yeah. And what Biker395 said: lose weight. I'm going to guess that means cutting out pizza, dogs, Italian beef, Old Style, etc.
caloso is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 10:38 AM
  #17  
DiabloScott
It's MY mountain
 
DiabloScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Mt.Diablo
Posts: 8,530

Bikes: Klein, Merckx, Trek

Mentioned: 57 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2120 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by caloso View Post
It's possible to train for climbing on flat land: long intervals near threshold (2x20' @ 95% FTP), into the wind, sitting up with hands on the tops or hoods, big gear. Gets you used to the grind.
That's probably true for rolling hills, even long hills, the kind the OP is complaining about.

But riding up mountains requires a psychological element and knowledge of the required pacing, that you just have to learn from experience doing actual mountains. I always laugh at the suggestion to begin the climb at the front of the pack and then you can drift back if everyone is faster so you might still be at the back of the pack at the top of the climb. That's just not going to happen on a 2-hour climb... you have to know your pace and ride it.

They don't call it a suffer-fest because it's so much fun.
DiabloScott is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 11:08 AM
  #18  
caloso
Packfodding 3
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 37,834

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1748 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by DiabloScott View Post
That's probably true for rolling hills, even long hills, the kind the OP is complaining about.

But riding up mountains requires a psychological element and knowledge of the required pacing, that you just have to learn from experience doing actual mountains. I always laugh at the suggestion to begin the climb at the front of the pack and then you can drift back if everyone is faster so you might still be at the back of the pack at the top of the climb. That's just not going to happen on a 2-hour climb... you have to know your pace and ride it.

They don't call it a suffer-fest because it's so much fun.
That was my bread-and-butter workout training for the Mount Diablo Challenge, so yeah, the point was to make it a 59 minute climb. :-)
caloso is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 11:47 AM
  #19  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 21,852
Mentioned: 156 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8192 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 67 Posts
Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
My hat is off to all you riders who ride hills. (I'd say 'mountains', but at this point, I find it impossible to believe anyone rides up or down mountains on a road bike. Give me a while to get used to the concept, and I'll bow down to mountain road bike riders....
Prepare to bow.

Last year I rode this:



Around this:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/23235312

The year before that I rode it around this:

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/14890942

Just two examples. Flat tours are usually boring.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 11:57 AM
  #20  
CreakingCrank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 164

Bikes: Two. One daily rider. One with detachment issues.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 53 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Further to this ... climbing stairs doesn't help with the fear factor of descending, but it certainly seemed to build the leg strength for climbing.

I went from walking everything in sight, to being able to cycle up Mt Wellington.

This is a pretty good description of the climb up Mt Wellington ... not my description, but I can relate.
https://www.lavelocita.cc/guides-pag...-mt-wellington
That's good to know as I prepare for a hilly tour in September. I was wondering if stairs would help significantly. I have hills where I live but its so hot here its difficult to get to them, up them, down them and back home before the sun cooks me. I work on the fifth floor ... obvious what I need to do.
CreakingCrank is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 05:09 PM
  #21  
OldTryGuy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SW Fl.
Posts: 4,297

Bikes: 1981 Custom Touring Paramount, 1983 Road Paramount, 2013 Giant Propel Advanced SL3, 2018 Specialized Red Roubaix Expert mech., 2002 Magna 7sp hybrid, 1976 Bassett Racing 45sp Cruiser

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 630 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by caloso View Post
It's possible to train for climbing on flat land: long intervals near threshold (2x20' @ 95% FTP), into the wind, sitting up with hands on the tops or hoods, big gear. Gets you used to the grind.

Oh, yeah. And what Biker395 said: lose weight. I'm going to guess that means cutting out pizza, dogs, Italian beef, Old Style, etc.
Don't forget the highest gear while standing for extended distances. Last Tuesday was 169 miles with 190' of gain here in SW FL. To prepare for Six Gap Century's 103 miles with 11,000' climbing I ride 2 to 3 mile distances standing in high gear numerous times holding 15mph to 17mph on 100 mile rides. My knees WILL NOT PUT UP WITH INTERVALS so I do not do them. I have another "longer distance ride" next Thursday weather permitting and in every 100 miles there will be AT MOST a few hundred feet of coasting.
OldTryGuy is offline  
Old 07-16-18, 05:33 PM
  #22  
Wildwood 
Veteran/Pacifist/Resister
 
Wildwood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Seattle area
Posts: 8,268

Bikes: Bikes??? Thought this was social media?!?

Mentioned: 182 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1660 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 33 Times in 23 Posts
Yes we ride mountain roads.
the beauty of our natural world
the solitude for a healthy inner world
Some things that are not urban.





Wildwood is offline  
Old 07-17-18, 12:05 PM
  #23  
rutan74
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 102

Bikes: Felt ZR3, Specialized Sectur

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Hills, mountains? The suffering somehow makes it worth it. Profile of Mt. Mitchell in NC from Marion, NC. 25 miles of pure hell. But the scenery is nice!

rutan74 is offline  
Old 07-17-18, 12:08 PM
  #24  
caloso
Packfodding 3
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 37,834

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 54 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1748 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
Don't forget the highest gear while standing for extended distances. Last Tuesday was 169 miles with 190' of gain here in SW FL. To prepare for Six Gap Century's 103 miles with 11,000' climbing I ride 2 to 3 mile distances standing in high gear numerous times holding 15mph to 17mph on 100 mile rides. My knees WILL NOT PUT UP WITH INTERVALS so I do not do them. I have another "longer distance ride" next Thursday weather permitting and in every 100 miles there will be AT MOST a few hundred feet of coasting.
I hate to break it to you, but these are intervals.
caloso is offline  
Old 07-17-18, 12:28 PM
  #25  
livedarklions
Michegas Cup Winner
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 3,079

Bikes: Trek FX 3; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; "Motobecane" Fantom CX

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1532 Post(s)
Liked 113 Times in 63 Posts
Originally Posted by Machka View Post
From a flatlander who had to learn to go up mountains ... climb lots of stairs.

Elliptical machine with a lot of resistance also works.
livedarklions is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.