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It is okay to walk up steep hills

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It is okay to walk up steep hills

Old 10-11-22, 09:00 PM
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adlai
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It is okay to walk up steep hills

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.
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Old 10-11-22, 09:04 PM
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If you need to walk, walk! Keep riding keep going up hills and you will get better on them.
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Old 10-11-22, 09:19 PM
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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.
Thanks for granting permission. I mean, I have felt such shame when walking my bike up hills, but now I'm free.
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Old 10-11-22, 09:22 PM
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We have hills in our summer place in the Bighorn foothills that I avoid do to the excessive effort only to gain a big time braking decline, I love my lovely rides through the more gentle hills..
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Old 10-11-22, 10:06 PM
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We have some pretty steep roads here. The casual riders walk it most times, the serious/professional riders just avoid those roads
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Old 10-11-22, 10:12 PM
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The steeper the hill the smaller the mechanical advantage a bike has over jogging, i reckon under most circumstances there is a breakeven point where running becomes more efficient. The hill I live on tops out at 19% and its about at that point for me, I think running is faster but im terrible at running.
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Old 10-11-22, 10:18 PM
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I got passed by someone walking, carrying a bag of groceries, while riding up a very steep hill.

However, it is never, ever, acceptable to walk up a hill, unless you break your chain or crankset powering up the hill, and you are losing in excess of a pint of blood per hour from the resulting injury.

HTFU.
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Old 10-11-22, 10:21 PM
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Do I like to walk? No! Have I walked? Yes. Are bicycle shoes crap to walk in for anything longer than a few yards? Yes! Have I walked further than that? Oh, yeah. Walked most of a marathon (I was guiding a very slow wheelchair athlete) in bicycle shoes. Thankfully they were mountain bike shoes.


Know what is even worse? Walking down a hill because it is too steep and rugged. Done that too.
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Old 10-11-22, 10:57 PM
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Living in an area that is mostly up and down I have to be very selective in my short neighborhood routes. I am only good for climbs of less than 100 meters. My problem is that I don't want to give up and walk. I just have to keep going. To the point where my heart is pounding in my head, my lungs are burning, my front wheel is wobbling and my vision is getting narrow... Then... I step off and try to stay on my feet walking till recovery. Lately recovery is fleeting with nocturnal cramps on the horizon. I don't like to walk with a ride-able bicycle at my side. It's my Cone of Shame...

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Old 10-11-22, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Know what is even worse? Walking down a hill because it is too steep and rugged. Done that too.
Did a new climb on my road bike which ranged from 14-17% for about a quarter mile until my heart was at 185 and my legs were screaming. What I didnít bargain on was the decent. I was very concerned about my disc brakes overheating and fading with zero run offs. As a result, I stopped 3 times to let the rotors cool. The heat coming off them was unreal when I placed my hand within a few inches.
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Old 10-11-22, 11:16 PM
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My commute is like that. This is why I go through piles of pads and rotors (as I am also paranoid about crashing).

Added in Edit: Here is the profile,



Last edited by Polaris OBark; 10-12-22 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 10-11-22, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark
My commute is like that. This is why I go through piles of pads and rotors (as I am also paranoid about crashing).
You must be a monster climber. I bow down.

I have only surrendered to two hills and walked. One was at the end of a very long ride on a 90 degree day with a 12% climb and I was past exhausted. The other was on the one I mentioned before since I was out of air and my legs were on fire. Itís a matter of personal pride that I donít walk any climb so I donít have to wear that cone of shame.
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Old 10-12-22, 12:28 AM
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Absolutely. Even the pros do it.



I gotta frequent this subforum less often.
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Old 10-12-22, 02:58 AM
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Getting off the bike and walking uphill doesn't mean that you are weak or out of shape. It simply means that your gear ratio isn't low enough for the hill or the hill is just too steep. I ride singlespeed and consider myself to be a pretty strong climber but there are times where I had to get off the bike a walk because the gear ratio was a little too high for that particular hill.
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Old 10-12-22, 04:28 AM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
We have some pretty steep roads here. The casual riders walk it most times, the serious/professional riders just avoid those roads
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Old 10-12-22, 05:15 AM
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I know it's just a matter of stubborn pride, but I just won't walk a bike uphill on a road unless I've got a flat, broken chain, or other mechanical. On dirt, I have no pride because I know I suck at it.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with doing whatever you think is best to get over the hill. I have asked people if they were ok when I saw them walking up what I would consider a pretty easy hill, but it was just to see if they needed help. I'd rather risk embarrassing them with the question than risk leaving them stranded in distress.

Last edited by livedarklions; 10-12-22 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 10-12-22, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
You must be a monster climber. I bow down.

I have only surrendered to two hills and walked. One was at the end of a very long ride on a 90 degree day with a 12% climb and I was past exhausted. The other was on the one I mentioned before since I was out of air and my legs were on fire. Itís a matter of personal pride that I donít walk any climb so I donít have to wear that cone of shame.

I have the same thing and I know it's totally irrational. Last Saturday, I had this weird thing happen to me when I didn't realize the road took a very sharp rise on the other side of a blind curve. I started the hill in way too high of a gear and got about 50 feet from the start of the slope before I really came to a stop as it was too late for downshifting to do any good. I ended up turning around, going back to the approach to the hill, and climbing it in a "do over". I was fine approaching it in an appropriate gear. I felt kind of silly doing the
backtrack, but was going to be damned if I was going to let the hill "beat" me.
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Old 10-12-22, 06:38 AM
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I live on a hill . It is very steep and the locals use it as a gym for walking up and down. It is about 4 blocks long and I can make it 2 blocks , then it’s walking. I see a couple of guys that live up here ride up but they have modern bikes or mountain bikes with low gearing. I ride classic ten speeds so I walk every week. I thought I could build up the strength but after twenty five years….it ain’t happening! I made it once on my ten speed , I think I was 45 at that time and I did switch backs at least 4 times. At 68 I’m afraid , as Popeye would say, “I am what I am”. One guy puts his bike in his car and parks at the bottom of the hill ‘cause he got tired of walking back up , but I figure walking up the hill after my 40 mile loop is still exercise.

My water break after waking up the last two blocks.
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Old 10-12-22, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
Getting off the bike and walking uphill doesn't mean that you are weak or out of shape. It simply means that your gear ratio isn't low enough for the hill ....
+2

My old Sears 10-speed (2x5) was awful on hills. Back when I lived in Peoria IL, there were various hills up and out of the river valley that I had to walk; they were too steep for that particular bike. And that was when I was in my twenties! Now thirty years later I can ride them no problem because I have more favorable hill climbing gears.
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Old 10-12-22, 07:20 AM
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Climb on the bike until you've got to get off. (Make sure you're well practiced at clipping out!) Then walk. Sometimes it's surprising how quickly using a different set of muscles will refresh you!
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Old 10-12-22, 07:24 AM
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I have low enough gears to handle all of my normal hills. But sometimes when I ride elsewhere, that's not low enough. Walking is just one more gear.
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Old 10-12-22, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
The heat coming off them was unreal when I placed my hand within a few inches.
I sometimes mountain bike at a place where the parking is down a very steep hill. I was loading my car and a guy parked across from me came down the hill, looked at his front rotor and grabbed it. He jerked his hand back and started shaking it.
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Old 10-12-22, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
I know it's just a matter of stubborn pride, but I just won't walk a bike uphill on a road unless I've got a flat, broken chain, or other mechanical. On dirt, I have no pride because I know I suck at it.

.
The last time I remember walking on a road climb I broke the freehub body near the top of a steep little climb. It felt like the chain snapped and I didn't fall over, (I don't know how I got unclipped in time). It was so steep I couldn't walk up it on Look Delta cleats. I got over into the dirt and was able to walk to the top.

For 16 years I lived in a house with a steep driveway. It was only about 50 or 60 feet and had a right turn in the middle. If it was wet my 2 wheel drive truck would not go up it. I had an S-10 Blazer and it would go up in 2wd but would slide all over. I just put it in 4wd when the surface was wet.

Anyway after a long ride I could climb it on the road bike but the sudden full-on sprint when I was already tired made me feel like my heart was going to quit. I tried taking my shoes off and walking up it because I could not walk up it in road cleats. I even left some flip flops at the bottom sometimes.

Last edited by big john; 10-12-22 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 10-12-22, 07:49 AM
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The lowest gear on my comfort bike is 21 gear inches. That equates to about 5 kph @50 rpm. At this speed it takes about the same effort, perhaps less to just walk the bike. But the gravel hill that's most challenging for me only has short sections steep enough to require high effort, so it's better to just muscle through it until it eases up where 8 - 10 kph can be sustained.

But I have no problem walking up some hills too, Even if I can ride them. I often walk my bike on flats like in parks anyway, Or as a change of pace after a long ride.
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Old 10-12-22, 08:07 AM
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Kabuki, that is a beautiful bike and a nice shot of your riding area.

Mike
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