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I haven't been on a bike since I was 17...

Old 03-04-08, 05:16 PM
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villageidiot
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I haven't been on a bike since I was 17...

I also haven't had a 30 inch waist since I was 17. I find that it's easier to motivate myself to ride than to jog so I am hoping I have found something I can stick to.

I have a GT Avalanche 3.0 and I hope to be able to commute to and from work on it this spring and summer in Atlanta. It is an 8 mile trip 5 times a week.

Any tips on hill climbing would be helpful.
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Old 03-04-08, 05:21 PM
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Welcome vi.

Hills - there are lots of philosophies, but seeing as how it's been a few years since you've ridden, I'll offer this.Low gearing and as quick a cadence as you can maintain without winding yourself. If you get winded before your legs burn, pick a slightly harder gear. If your legs burn, easier gear, or slower cadence. You'll find what's right after a bit of experimenting.
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Old 03-04-08, 05:31 PM
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What he said ^^^ . Just remember that the more often you ride up hills, the easier it is. I am a hill specialist .

Welcome to BF!

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Old 03-04-08, 05:34 PM
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And if you have to walk at first, that's okay. You'll get stronger if you keep at it.
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Old 03-04-08, 06:00 PM
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villageidiot
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Thanks everyone. Should I stand up or stay seated when I struggle up a hill? It seems like I am able to push through when I stand, but is it because my seat may be too low?
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Old 03-04-08, 06:02 PM
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A lot of people stand (it's called 'mashing'), but it's better in the long run to sit and spin. Your knees will start to hurt if you overdo it.

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Old 03-04-08, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by villageidiot View Post
Thanks everyone. Should I stand up or stay seated when I struggle up a hill? It seems like I am able to push through when I stand, but is it because my seat may be too low?
Sit and spin. Standing will probably cause you to "blow up" which is simply when you over exert yourself for a short period of time and then you have to sit down and you end up going even slower. Try moving your seat up and see how it goes. I ride a road bike and my legs are slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

BTW-If your bike has mtb tires I'd recommend changing them to slicks for city use. The lower rolling resistance will increase speed a bit and lower the effort you have to put in slightly to keep the same speed.

Check out the commuting forum for some great tips on commuting.
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Old 03-04-08, 07:10 PM
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Just make yourself comfortable on your bike. Everything else will follow. 8 miles isn't that far, you shouldn't have too much of a problem. Don't feel like you shouldn't be standing. It's perfectly fine to come out of your seat when you're climbing.
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Old 03-08-08, 08:46 AM
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Three words: Proper saddle adjustment.
See Sheldon Browns web site.
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Old 03-08-08, 09:27 AM
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I haven't been on a bike since I was 17...

Originally Posted by villageidiot View Post
I find that it's easier to motivate myself to ride than to jog so I am hoping I have found something I can stick to.
Sounds like you've been provided plenty of woids o' wisdom about hill climbing. I'll chime in with a more general tip about getting back into shape.

Over the decades I've gone through several cycles of fitness and fatness, and I've found that consistency is the single most important factor in becoming fit again after lapsing. Decide how often you're going to do your physical activity, then do at least a little of it, at least that often. A little exercise on a regular basis is a whole lot better than none, and can bring surprising results.

You don't have to kill yourself with effort every time. In fact, it's better if you don't, for two reasons:
  • Your activity will stay enjoyable and you won't go through half an hour of mental moaning-and-groaning every time you think about doing it.
  • You can trust your body's conditioning response. Over time (admittedly a little more time as you age) it will adjust to whatever you're telling it to do, and get better at it. You don't have to force the process.

Have fun, and good luck.
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Old 03-08-08, 10:42 AM
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Hi villiageidiot and welcome.

I usually stay seated when climbing unless the hill is extremely steep or I'm charging up the hill.

Stop by Intown Bicycles (near Virginia-Highland/Piedmont Park/Midtown) and say hello. We can offer you tips on riding and can tune up your bike when it needs it. We also have anything you'll need for the commute.

Things have been slow since November so I've only been working a few days a month. Once I start back semi-full time (I'm 63 and semi-retired) I'll be doing my 8+ mile commute (from North DeKalb Mall area to the bike shop).

What part of town are you riding from/to?


I see you posted in the A&S forum about bike classes offered by the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign (ABC). I'm one of the instructors. There are one or two others on here who are also instructors with ABC. Maybe you'll be in one of my classes.


Be sure you stop by the Southeast regional subforum and introduce yourself to the locals in the Atlanta/Decatur thread.
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Old 03-10-08, 10:13 AM
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villageidiot
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Thanks everyone for the advice and the warm welcome.

We rode on the silver comet trail a couple of weekends ago and it was very crowded. I have been riding in the Grant Park/East Atlanta area, which is where I live. The hills are still killing me, but I find it a bit easier if I ride with my wife because she forces me to take things a little easier.

Last edited by villageidiot; 03-11-08 at 08:40 AM.
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