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Tackling Hills: Got Technique???

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Tackling Hills: Got Technique???

Old 03-31-11, 10:41 PM
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Dakota82
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Tackling Hills: Got Technique???

So, what would you would be the technique to riding up hills, if any? I have never had a decent bicycle to begin with but, I will be fixing that one tomorrow for sure; gonna go get a hybrid bicycle for sure tomorrow.

Anyway, what are some tips for riding up hill where you getting back the most from your out put?

The Basic technique I applied recently is to speed up before meeting the hill and then pace my way up the hill. I do not stand up on the bike and remain seated. I find that the momentum + the pacing is very helpful. Decent speed and minimum effore I believe. However, doesn't work to well with really steap hills but, of anyone could be so kind to share your advice, I would greatly appreciate it.
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Old 03-31-11, 11:07 PM
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Switch to a lower gear before you start climbing.
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Old 03-31-11, 11:53 PM
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Switch to a lower gear and spin your way up. And do it often. Spinning refers to a higher pedaling rpm or rate. The more you climb the better you get at it of course
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Old 04-01-11, 01:00 AM
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That kind of reminds me, #1 Dakota82. I believe that was the very first question I asked when I joined.

Momentum is good, but unless it is a very short hill, don't arrive at the beginning with your legs burning and your lungs heaving.

Once you get comfortable with the new bike, you might consider clipless pedals. I used to have the problem of hitting the hill in high gear and suddenly dropping into low. There was so little resistance at first that my feet came flying off the pedals. It was an unpleasant sensation. Also, being clipped to the pedals lets you apply at least some power for the full cycle. It can actually make a difference on a hill. Put clipless pedals off till you get very familiar with both the bike and riding on streets.
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Old 04-01-11, 01:49 AM
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Becoming a good climber requires one thing more than anything else... before you learn how to spin in smooth circles, maintain a pace where you can stay in your aerobic range and not over stress your muscles and joints, develop a higher lactic threshold, and know when to stand or sit you need this.

Mindset... you need to learn to love to hate climbing as it is hard work and it will punish you and push you to your limits and it never gets easier although you will get better at it.

You only get good at something if you do it a lot.

I used to be a monster climber... at 140 pounds I was pretty light and if the hill was short and steep I would make like Marco Pantani and get into the drops, stand on the pedals, and hammer my way to the top and could do this over some very steep grades for a kilometre and climb 1000 feet at a stretch. And then I would ride back down and do it again... and again... and again.

People asked me how I could hit the bottom of a climb and seem to pick up speed on the way up... it was that love and hate moving me along and all they had was hate which is nearly not as strong.

But we don't sty young forever and after fragging my back and doing some nerve damage I can't stand up and hammer those hills into submission anymore but I can still climb fairly well and I have yet to find a climb where I have to get off and walk and we have some short climbs here that top out at 22 %.

My friend is a great hill climber and she never gets out of the saddle and makes her way up hills with fluid grace by spinning away at a comfortable cadence in a proper gear and one can take lessons from her on this.

On long climbs you will be sitting and spinning most of the time and on really steep grades you can try pushing down with your heel just a little on the down stroke to engage the calf muscles a little more and this will take some stress of your upper leg muscles.

Don't look at the road right in front of you... look up and to where you are going.

My youngest daughter is 11 and weighs all of 45 pounds... she can climb some long steep grades faster than most adults and she either sings her way up or adopts the mantra "I don't see no stinking hill" and explains that if she can't see it, it's not there.

She has the mind set down pat.

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Old 04-02-11, 09:30 AM
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Couple of things as to form... This assuming you'll be on a roadster. Move back on the saddle a bit to allow more leg extension, and sit up and use the top-of-the-bar hand position. This will allow better chest expansion and ease breathing to a small degree.
If you have clipless pedals, you'll find they assist climbing to a fair degree. You can "pull through" the bottom of the pedal stroke; the motion has been described as "wiping mud off your shoes".
Standing can be a help, but tends to work best for smaller riders. The pros you see "dancing on the pedals" tend to be the littler guys; big riders are generally sitting and slogging it out in an optimal gear.
If you do stand, you'll find shifting UP a couple of gears will work better.
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Old 04-02-11, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
...

My youngest daughter is 11 and weighs all of 45 pounds... she can climb some long steep grades faster than most adults and she either sings her way up or adopts the mantra "I don't see no stinking hill" and explains that if she can't see it, it's not there.

She has the mind set down pat.

Dang. My 10-year-old daughter weighs at least twice that. And it's all muscle, too. Her "gag award" from last summer's swim season was the "Muscle Girl plaque".
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Old 04-02-11, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by achoo View Post
Dang. My 10-year-old daughter weighs at least twice that. And it's all muscle, too. Her "gag award" from last summer's swim season was the "Muscle Girl plaque".
She has just undergone a growth spurt and has probably gained a little weight (we have no scale) but is still very petite... people often mistake her for being much younger.

She is not underweight and is a very fit kid and likes to tell people she has never been sick a day in her life... which is true.

She was born to be a cyclist.
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Old 04-02-11, 01:43 PM
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This thread is enormously helpful. Thank you, all. Sixty Fiver, you rock BTW. :-D
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Old 04-02-11, 02:04 PM
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Hill technique depends on your condition. You can attack a hill in a big gear or you can finess the hill in a low gear. Then there's the "I don't know if I can make it" option.

1. Don't run at it. Make sure that you're breathing easily when you reach the base of the hill.
2. Shift into your easiest gear before you start climbing.
3. Pedal as slowly as you can and still keep the bike upright.

Not exactly styling, but you'll get up some hills that would have stopped you otherwise.
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Old 04-02-11, 02:42 PM
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Half-step gearing is a great boon in hilly territory. It's nice to know exactly what the next shift is going to be, and how it's going to feel when the shift occurs.
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Old 04-02-11, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
Half-step gearing is a great boon in hilly territory. It's nice to know exactly what the next shift is going to be, and how it's going to feel when the shift occurs.
Really? Half-step gearing made sense to me back in the days of 5-speed freewheels. It doesn't make so much sense to me with a 9-speed cassette.
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Old 04-03-11, 08:40 AM
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I've found that training on small hills with my single-speed makes climbing the big hills on my touring bike easier.
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Old 04-03-11, 02:43 PM
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younger days , not 200# then , standing on the pedals and keeping a reasonable cadence,
got me over many a climb., still in the middle of the field ,
like on the Stinson Beach to the top of Mt. Tam ride..
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Old 04-04-11, 07:18 PM
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I think Sixty Fiver is wise. It is necessary to be fit and then to embrace the challenge. I like the techniques in the link.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRFNK...eature=channel Of special interest to me is the instruction to relax, be smooth and waste no energy. As an old guy, I have no extra energy to waste.
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Old 04-04-11, 07:36 PM
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If this won't get me up a hill I should probably flag down a ride.





I really only need this kind of stump pulling low when my bike is dressed for touring or when I am pulling my trailer.


Last edited by Sixty Fiver; 04-05-11 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 04-04-11, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
Switch to a lower gear and spin your way up. And do it often. Spinning refers to a higher pedaling rpm or rate. The more you climb the better you get at it of course
I taught my son, "Drop a gear and hammer it" Basically exactly what you posted is what I mean...
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Old 04-05-11, 10:28 AM
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Dakota,

Hill technique really depends on what your hills are like. Here in central FL, we have some short steep hills out towards Clermont. The crank up the speed and hammer up them works pretty well on most of them. There are a few that are a tad too long for most people to pull that off. They blow up before they reach the top.

If a hill is really steep like over 15%, you are probably not going to be able to sit and spin unless you have really, really low gears. When you stand, your cadence goes from 100 rpm (or so) down to 50 rpm which effectively makes your gears much, much lower. For my riding around here, I opt for tighter gearing and if I hit a steep hill, I am out of the saddle.

Now if I go someplace like Colorado which has climbs of 7 miles at 7% (very long and not so steep), I just use a triple and spin up. Of course, if you go to North Georgia, you can get hills of several miles long which can be fiendishly steep (28% max on Brasstown Bald) and there one uses low gears, standing, hope, luck and prayer.
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Old 04-05-11, 10:50 AM
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This thread makes me miss the days when I would hit a short hill at speed, stand up and sprint to the top... this is something that lighter riders have an easier time with as you are moving less mass up the hill.

Used to lay down enough torque to bend some good quality parts this way and bring up the point that some bikes are more flexible than others and standing and hammering can cause enough frame flex to throw off the shifting and unexpected gear changes when you are laying it down can be really unpleasant.

If your cables are routed under the bottom bracket ghost shifting under high torque loads is more likely to happen... for this reason I always preferred really stiff frames.
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Old 04-06-11, 01:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Really? Half-step gearing made sense to me back in the days of 5-speed freewheels. It doesn't make so much sense to me with a 9-speed cassette.
Who the heck rides with one of those inherently-duplicative cogsets? And if they do, why have two rings up front? With the ubiquitous 39/53 rings and the 11-26 9-speed, 6 are dupes, giving you an effective 12-speed. With the 11-32, it's even worse, with the 52/11 and 52/12 being total hero gears and basically unuseable except on long descents and 7 dupes giving you, essentially, 9 gears to use. Plus a heavier rider such as myself has to deal with chain stretch and accelerated wear.

Half-step isn't dead and 7-speed is, contrary to industry efforts, alive and kicking as well.
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Old 04-06-11, 01:44 AM
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A well set up half step is a beautiful thing.
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