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It is okay to walk up steep hills

Old 10-12-22, 11:07 PM
  #51  
raqball
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It's okay to walk if you need to, no shame in doing so.. Just try to go a bit further the next time or heck, even zig-zag it if possible.. Eventually you'll be able to pedal up it and that will be a great feeling..

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Old 10-13-22, 03:44 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by adlai
I feel like so much engineering goes into making it faster to climb hills. From ebike systems to lightweight frames, to the gearing drive train systems.

It's okay to just walk up the hill. If you are pedaling up a hill you're also fighting the rotational force backwards so oftentimes it makes more sense from a physics perspective to just walk up the hill.
I find in practice it has to be a gradient of over 30% before I can maybe walk up it faster than I could cycle. But that's with a lightweight road bike with appropriate gearing. In road biking events I've done over the years I've never seen anyone walking up a hill (while pushing a bike) faster than those cycling, even if the speed difference is small.

Basically if you are physically able to pedal it is invariably quicker than walking with your bike.
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Old 10-13-22, 06:19 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I find in practice it has to be a gradient of over 30% before I can maybe walk up it faster than I could cycle. But that's with a lightweight road bike with appropriate gearing. In road biking events I've done over the years I've never seen anyone walking up a hill (while pushing a bike) faster than those cycling, even if the speed difference is small.

Basically if you are physically able to pedal it is invariably quicker than walking with your bike.
Like you, I can't think of a paved climb I've walked; but I do a ton of gravel and snow riding and I end up walking when the tires aren't able to grip the loose stuff.
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Old 10-13-22, 08:05 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad
Like you, I can't think of a paved climb I've walked; but I do a ton of gravel and snow riding and I end up walking when the tires aren't able to grip the loose stuff.
Agreed that's a different scenario i.e. traction issues. For example it's not uncommon in cyclocross and mtb to walk/run muddy climbs.
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Old 10-13-22, 11:16 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Agreed that's a different scenario i.e. traction issues. For example it's not uncommon in cyclocross and mtb to walk/run muddy climbs.
And climbs with tons of small rocks about the size of golf balls that just give you zero traction. Those are even less fun when descending and doing a tight turn and the bike wants to come out from under you.
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Old 10-13-22, 11:35 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by adlai
I feel like so much engineering goes into making it faster to climb hills. From ebike systems to lightweight frames, to the gearing drive train systems.

It's okay to just walk up the hill. If you are pedaling up a hill you're also fighting the rotational force backwards so oftentimes it makes more sense from a physics perspective to just walk up the hill.
How steep?

But even then, walking up a steep incline on your cleats pushing a bike can't be much less arduous than pedalling up that incline. I dare also say the effort to speed ratio is better cycling than pushing the bike.
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Old 10-13-22, 12:29 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
I ride platforms exclusively, and I just won't give in to a hill on a road. It's an attitude thing, not practicality. If anything, it's a minor ocd on my part. I definitely pay for it when I ride in 90+ degree weather.
I don't ride without real foot retention because I hate not being able to pull up and worse, the thought that if the grade exceeds X%, physics says in cold, easy to calculate numbers that I can stand with all my weight on the pedal and I'll still go backwards. (There's a steep pitch on a climb from Portland downtown to the Zoo where I "test" my fix gear's toestraps. Good straps, I can do those two or three full body pulls and make it. Poor straps, my foot comes out and I'm walking.)

One of these days, I'll formalize the max grade attainable at steady speed for a given gear inch (GI). (This will assume no slippage and no wheelies. Obviously not always possible.)
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Old 10-13-22, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
And climbs with tons of small rocks about the size of golf balls that just give you zero traction. Those are even less fun when descending and doing a tight turn and the bike wants to come out from under you.
But - descending - try a 38c front 35c rear and a 42-12 fix gear. Excellent cantis. Classic English tradition road bike. (My Mooney.) I tried almost your scenario on the Trask River ride with fellow BFers 5 years ago. 3000' down, 18% in many places and 1 1/2" "gravel". Pure blast! Ear to ear grin fun. I'd just plant the the front wheel in the deep "gravel puddles" and plow through. Bike never pulled a surprise on me.

Now that was deep gravel. Big ball bearings on a hard packed dry clay is another story.
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Old 10-13-22, 02:19 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
I don't ride without real foot retention because I hate not being able to pull up and worse, the thought that if the grade exceeds X%, physics says in cold, easy to calculate numbers that I can stand with all my weight on the pedal and I'll still go backwards. (There's a steep pitch on a climb from Portland downtown to the Zoo where I "test" my fix gear's toestraps. Good straps, I can do those two or three full body pulls and make it. Poor straps, my foot comes out and I'm walking.)

One of these days, I'll formalize the max grade attainable at steady speed for a given gear inch (GI). (This will assume no slippage and no wheelies. Obviously not always possible.)

I can't wear any foot retention as any "pulling up" against resistance will just destroy my ankles, but I think I climb pretty well. On a road, I never walk unless the bike is broken, and I climb some pretty steep hills. I don't measure grade, though, so I refrain from comparisons.
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Old 10-13-22, 02:29 PM
  #60  
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It is also OK to stop and catch your breath. I have a 12% grade on one of my routes home that recently did for the first time a couple of weeks ago (500' in about .8 of a mile. I think I calculated that correctly). (Never again, it sucked in 95 degree weather!)

I did it on both my road bike (no bags) and my SUB (sport-utility bike) with 25 pounds of crap loaded in panniers. I stopped three times on the way up on the road bike, four times (I think) on the loaded MTB. No shame at all. Thirty seconds or so to let the heart rate drop, I usually don't even unstraddle the bike.
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Old 10-13-22, 08:32 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
I don't ride without real foot retention because I hate not being able to pull up and worse, the thought that if the grade exceeds X%, physics says in cold, easy to calculate numbers that I can stand with all my weight on the pedal and I'll still go backwards.
Your standing pedal force can exceed your weight, since you can counteract a higher pedal reaction force with an upward pull on the handlebar and not fly backwards (and up) off the bike. (Actually, seated pedal force can exceed body weight and lift your seat off the saddle. This happens to me on steep grades sometimes if I stay fast in a high gear and pull really hard on the bar tops.)

In honor of this thread, today I rode the super steep hill behind the football stadium (I think about 30%) in a 34 inch gear and the thing I was watching for was the front wheel lifting up since I was riding in the saddle.

By the way, the last time I did this route I was running a single speed and the speedometer said I jogged up it at 5 to 5.5 mph. I think I was going a similar speed today when pedaling. So I think 30% may be a good guess at the break even point. It helps to be using platform pedals and running shoes if you are going to hop off and hurry up the hill.

Otto
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Old 10-13-22, 09:49 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by adlai
I feel like so much engineering goes into making it faster to climb hills. From ebike systems to lightweight frames, to the gearing drive train systems.

It's okay to just walk up the hill. If you are pedaling up a hill you're also fighting the rotational force backwards so oftentimes it makes more sense from a physics perspective to just walk up the hill.
It ok to walk, but walking is slow and a symptom of inadequate gearing. You wouldn't have to walk given a low enough granny gear.
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Old 10-14-22, 01:59 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Chinghis
It is also OK to stop and catch your breath. I have a 12% grade on one of my routes home that recently did for the first time a couple of weeks ago (500' in about .8 of a mile. I think I calculated that correctly). (Never again, it sucked in 95 degree weather!)

I did it on both my road bike (no bags) and my SUB (sport-utility bike) with 25 pounds of crap loaded in panniers. I stopped three times on the way up on the road bike, four times (I think) on the loaded MTB. No shame at all. Thirty seconds or so to let the heart rate drop, I usually don't even unstraddle the bike.
Would be easier to calculate in the metric system ^^
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Old 10-14-22, 07:20 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Chinghis
It is also OK to stop and catch your breath. I have a 12% grade on one of my routes home that recently did for the first time a couple of weeks ago (500' in about .8 of a mile. I think I calculated that correctly). (Never again, it sucked in 95 degree weather!)
Tip: if you try this on a big ride, grab a camera when you stop and turn around like you're about to (or just did) take a picture. Saves everyone who passes asking if you're OK.
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Old 10-14-22, 07:24 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Chinghis
It is also OK to stop and catch your breath. I have a 12% grade on one of my routes home that recently did for the first time a couple of weeks ago (500' in about .8 of a mile. I think I calculated that correctly). (Never again, it sucked in 95 degree weather!)

I did it on both my road bike (no bags) and my SUB (sport-utility bike) with 25 pounds of crap loaded in panniers. I stopped three times on the way up on the road bike, four times (I think) on the loaded MTB. No shame at all. Thirty seconds or so to let the heart rate drop, I usually don't even unstraddle the bike.
You gave me a flashback to The Fox (bikepacking ride/race in Northern Minnesota), on day one, the route hits Heartbreak Hill. This thing is only .7 mile (1.1 km) and just 240 ft (75m) ... but it's a wall that starts at 10% and kicks up to 15%. And we were riding a fully loaded tandem, I est 100 lbs (45kg) of bike & gear. I was huffing and mashing getting up the steepest part of this hill when I looked down to see 180 bpm on my Garmin, I haven't seen my heartrate that high in a long time (not even racing CX!). We had maxed out the gears, so I called a stop and we walked the rig a little distance up the hill to get a little shade to recover my heartrate and find a flatter section to restart the fully loaded tandem.

This hill even has a sign!



The fully loaded tandem

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Old 10-14-22, 07:41 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by ofajen
Your standing pedal force can exceed your weight, since you can counteract a higher pedal reaction force with an upward pull on the handlebar and not fly backwards (and up) off the bike. (Actually, seated pedal force can exceed body weight and lift your seat off the saddle. This happens to me on steep grades sometimes if I stay fast in a high gear and pull really hard on the bar tops.)

In honor of this thread, today I rode the super steep hill behind the football stadium (I think about 30%) in a 34 inch gear and the thing I was watching for was the front wheel lifting up since I was riding in the saddle.

By the way, the last time I did this route I was running a single speed and the speedometer said I jogged up it at 5 to 5.5 mph. I think I was going a similar speed today when pedaling. So I think 30% may be a good guess at the break even point. It helps to be using platform pedals and running shoes if you are going to hop off and hurry up the hill.

Otto

To be clear, I'm agreeing with you.

I think standing on the pedals is really the equivalent of running, and your muscles are definitely capable of producing more watts than the simple application of gravity. Not sure how much bracing against the handlebars is responsible for this, I think it's the leaning forward like we tend to do when we run.

Obviously, there has to be a grade where climbing is physically impossible for any given rider or runner. That's why humans invented stairs, ladders, switchbacks, ramps, etc.
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Old 10-14-22, 07:45 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan
It ok to walk, but walking is slow and a symptom of inadequate gearing. You wouldn't have to walk given a low enough granny gear.

That's circular reasoning. If you don't mind walking, then the gearing isn't inadequate. If one doesn't want to walk, but "has to", then you have a point about the granny gear.
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Old 10-14-22, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Chinghis
It is also OK to stop and catch your breath. I have a 12% grade on one of my routes home that recently did for the first time a couple of weeks ago (500' in about .8 of a mile. I think I calculated that correctly). (Never again, it sucked in 95 degree weather!)

I did it on both my road bike (no bags) and my SUB (sport-utility bike) with 25 pounds of crap loaded in panniers. I stopped three times on the way up on the road bike, four times (I think) on the loaded MTB. No shame at all. Thirty seconds or so to let the heart rate drop, I usually don't even unstraddle the bike.

On a very hot day, I will absolutely stop for a rest mid-hill. Risking hyperthermia is just not worth it.
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Old 10-14-22, 07:55 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
That's circular reasoning. If you don't mind walking, then the gearing isn't inadequate. If one doesn't want to walk, but "has to", then you have a point about the granny gear.
If you enjoy walking I'm sure there is a forum for that too. This aint it! :-)
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Old 10-14-22, 08:01 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan
If you enjoy walking I'm sure there is a forum for that too. This aint it! :-)

Really? Who sez? Several people including the OP (not me, mind you) have posted that they actually like the break provided by walking the bike.

I don't think "a bigger cog on the wheel makes it easier to pedal uphill" is exactly a newsflash to anyone btw.
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Old 10-14-22, 08:53 AM
  #71  
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Some years ago I did a charity century and in one flat section the headwind was so strong many riders were walking their bikes, like way more walking than riding. I had never seen that before.
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Old 10-14-22, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Tip: if you try this on a big ride, grab a camera when you stop and turn around like you're about to (or just did) take a picture. Saves everyone who passes asking if you're OK.
LOL, that's great advice. But I think you're betraying your age - these days, just hold the phone up and make murmuring sounds. Obviously it was an important call to make, that's why I stopped
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Old 10-14-22, 10:23 AM
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Itís ok for ME to finish a hill by walking the rest of the way up. Circumstances dictate appropriate actions.
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Old 10-14-22, 10:37 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
I don't ride without real foot retention because I hate not being able to pull up and worse, the thought that if the grade exceeds X%, physics says in cold, easy to calculate numbers that I can stand with all my weight on the pedal and I'll still go backwards. (There's a steep pitch on a climb from Portland downtown to the Zoo where I "test" my fix gear's toestraps. Good straps, I can do those two or three full body pulls and make it. Poor straps, my foot comes out and I'm walking.)

One of these days, I'll formalize the max grade attainable at steady speed for a given gear inch (GI). (This will assume no slippage and no wheelies. Obviously not always possible.)
That climb is brutal. Cudos to you sir.
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Old 10-14-22, 10:44 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Tip: if you try this on a big ride, grab a camera when you stop and turn around like you're about to (or just did) take a picture. Saves everyone who passes asking if you're OK.
Now a days, if you stopped to do that a kid might ask, Hey pops, do you need some help how to work that thing.
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