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Upshifting to stand and pedal

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Upshifting to stand and pedal

Old 10-01-17, 05:27 AM
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beanbag
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Upshifting to stand and pedal

The typical advice I read is to shift up (smaller rear cog) two gears when transitioning from sitting to standing pedaling. The problem for me is that this change isn't big enough. The usual situation is that I have been going up a hill seated for several minutes at a time and pedaling at about 70 rpm +/-. (This is at about 70% exertion or heart rate) There is a "natural" gear for standing, where I can use my body weight to push down on the pedal. The cadence is kind of low, but it does feel like so is the energy exertion. Usually this transition for me involves shifting 3+ cogs on the rear, or even small -> large chainring, and still upshift one on the rear, i.e. ~1.6x change in gearing.

In order to avoid shifting under too much power, I have to build up extra speed to get enough time to shift all those gears. (coz I am going uphill, so the speed drops pretty fast)

How do you guys deal with this issue, especially on medium to steep hills?

(BTW, my setup is a little weird in that I have super-granny gears because there are a lot of steep hills near me. I run 11-34R and 28-42F)
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Old 10-01-17, 06:30 AM
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Try a higher cadence standing than your "natural" one.

I typically stand when the pitch gets steeper so I end up not having to shift at all.
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Old 10-01-17, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Try a higher cadence standing than your "natural" one.

I typically stand when the pitch gets steeper so I end up not having to shift at all.
Yes, this. Either shift up and stand when you first get to the uphill grade, or shift up and stand when the grade gets steeper than you like for sitting. In either case you will not likely need a three cog change. In the few other cases where you change to standing from sitting with no change in grade, we'll, ya gotta do whatcha gotta do. In any case shifting a smidgen early is easier.
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Old 10-01-17, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Yes, this. Either shift up and stand when you first get to the uphill grade, or shift up and stand when the grade gets steeper than you like for sitting. In either case you will not likely need a three cog change. In the few other cases where you change to standing from sitting with no change in grade, we'll, ya gotta do whatcha gotta do. In any case shifting a smidgen early is easier.
Some people won't need to change 3 cogs because they use cassettes that have huge gaps (like an 11-32).
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Old 10-01-17, 08:16 AM
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You are over thinking it. Just do the shifts as you stand. Keep in mind, people shift while sprinting full out so I wouldn't worry about shifting under load.
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Old 10-01-17, 08:51 AM
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I don't shift to stand. Where does this 'typical advice' comes from? Unless I'm just poncing around, if I am climbing on a small gear and I shift twice, I will most likely end up on way too large of a gear.
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Old 10-01-17, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by beanbag View Post
I can use my body weight to push down on the pedal
This is not an efficient way to climb and wastes a lot of energy.

Climbing out of the saddle is a combination of letting body weight push each pedal while gently rocking the bike and pulling up on the opposite brake hood slightly.

It is a very fluid motion. The body moves up and down very little when done right and as much power comes from the core (oblique muscles) as it does from the legs and rider weight.

Over time a rider can even learn to pull up on the opposite pedal for even more power/efficiency.

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Old 10-01-17, 11:17 AM
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Typical advice is for those who tend to climb in smaller gears at a higher cadence. If you sit at 60, stand at 60. If you sit at 85, try standing at 65. I use triples and typically shift up a chainring. If I'm really tired, maybe I add 1-2 cogs more. I think the OP is talking about long continuous grades, climbs of 20 minutes or more where maybe one does a resting stand every 10 minutes. Those with high VO2max can typically stand at a higher cadence than we mortals who are already maxed out in the saddle. Also, there are those light runner types who climb better up than down, though I've only met a couple of those.

I'm usually climbing with others, so when I prepare to stand I shift under load. If I have room in front, I'll spin it up a bit before shifting but in general I shift then increase pedal pressure to hold my place, then stand gently without dropping back. If I get it wrong, I'll shift the back while standing, even on our tandem. Haven't broken anything yet. On our tandem, if we're climbing in the granny ring I'll only shift the back though I can shift the front on my singles.
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Old 10-01-17, 11:52 AM
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I'm another who doesn't usually shift up to stand. Instead I typically pick a gear that will work for a while seated or will work for the less steep sections, then stand as stittng starts getting hard.

For me, a huge key is supporting a real part of my weight with my hands with my hands far forward . This means that if I want to push down hard, I have to pull up hard with my other leg Climbing standing is, for me, never a "push, push". It also means I can either spin fast or loaf while standing. I can even ride standing and "delete" the pusing part of the stroke to take pressure off my knees. I can also ride any distance I want standing. (I've never tried to see how far I could go but that is simply a matter of "why?" Now, if someone offered me a pot of money to stand and ride "this far", I'd collect.

Biggest standing challenge I have done standing was the 3 miles along a bike path after my seat clamp broke, but what made it hard was riding slowly and navigating traffic and the parking lots we had to cross. I got lucky. A young woman took it on as her task to ride in front of me, navigate, be my "eyes", look over her shoulder and tell me when faster riders were passing.

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Old 10-01-17, 11:55 AM
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PepeM is superman in disguise so .... unless you are batman or something his advice might not apply.

I stand when I need to ... usually to use different muscles because the ones I am using are toast, or to lower my cadence, breathing and heart rate because I am bout to have heart attack or stroke--or both.

If you are using an old friction-shift set-up, shifting on a climb is tough. Modern systems might make a horrible clunking noise, but they will also make the shift.

When you first stand, you will usually drive your bike a little harder forward---take advantage of that moment to shift up. That first standing stroke (in the lower gear still) will deliver more power than you were using seated and spinning .... so that is when to shift.

On steep hills my technique is to not give a crap about anything but struggling upwards. I just want to get off the danged hill before I die. if my bike explodes ... good, I won't have to ride it up the danged hill any more.

{P.S.: Ignore the advice of all these heroes who can climb easily. Those of us who are gravity-challenged understand that we don't stand for the tough sections (not always ...) because they are All "tough sections."

Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Typical advice is for those who tend to climb in smaller gears at a higher cadence. If you sit at 60, stand at 60. If you sit at 85, try standing at 65. I use triples and typically shift up a chainring. If I'm really tired, maybe I add 1-2 cogs more. I think the OP is talking about long continuous grades, climbs of 20 minutes or more where maybe one does a resting stand every 10 minutes.
This is what I am talking about ... except that I am talking about climbs of over 20 seconds. (Carbonfiberboy is Superman at 70---he can actually fly and everything. ) i stand to rest ... which last about three strokes and then I am exhausted standing. But it is three pedal strokes of different pain, at least.

Last edited by Maelochs; 10-01-17 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 10-01-17, 12:18 PM
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On a longish hill, I aim for a cadence I can maintain for the length of the climb. On shorter climbs I will often stand to power up and over with speed. This means shifting to a higher gear. At all times I'm trying to be as smooth as possible with pedaling. When there is a need to shift to a lower gear, I find a momentary easing of pressure on the pedals is sufficient to shift cleanly as the cassette must continue to rotate to accomplish the shift.
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Old 10-01-17, 12:41 PM
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Here's a question: On a tough 30 minute climb, how many minutes would you estimate you stand? I'm guessing I stand about 25% on a tough climb.
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Old 10-01-17, 01:06 PM
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On a 30-minute climb I am walking.

A few years ago I did something like seven miles at 5 -6 percent .... at about five mph, i'd guess. I spent 90 percent of the time seated .... Even nowadays I'd say still way less than 25% ... but for a fit rider that number would climb I think.

Unless I am being paid to do a study ... when I am climbing all I can do is gasp and wheeze. I cannot estimate percentages.
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Old 10-01-17, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
PepeM is superman in disguise so .... unless you are batman or something his advice might not apply.
Quite the opposite. What I meant is that when I am climbing, if I shift up two gears, I will most likely end up in a gear I cannot push. My legs are not very strong, I cannot do low cadence stuff. Even when standing I rather be doing 80+.
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Old 10-01-17, 03:20 PM
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I'm usually a spin to win kinda person, but I've been experimenting with doing a bit more standing.

What's currently working: (1) briefly increase cadence while sitting - like a sitting sprint; (2) pedal with a bit less pressure and quickly shift up two (click click): (3) immediately stand and go! Once I decide to sit again, I usually have enough momentum built up that I can pedal with a bit less pressure and shift back down.

More than anything else, I think that working in single speed climbs 1-2 days a week is helping me get better at standing
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Old 10-01-17, 05:57 PM
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I've never understood the whole 'shift up to stand' thing. If I feel the need to stand, I stand. If I feel like I can sit and spin, I do that. Typically, as I come to a steeper section on the climb and I feel my cadence begin to drop, I'll stand to keep it up. Usually 10 or 12 strokes like that will either get me through that section, or enough increase in speed to spin for a few more minutes.


I single speed my mountain bike and have lost most of my desire to spin up climbs. I'm a masher and ride my gears that way.
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Old 10-01-17, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RShantz View Post
Here's a question: On a tough 30 minute climb, how many minutes would you estimate you stand? I'm guessing I stand about 25% on a tough climb.
How do you measure tough? Steep enough that you're out of gears and can't do more than a 35 cadence seated? Or what? Me, the tougher the climb, the more I sit. So maybe 2 minutes standing out of 30 minutes. If it's a "tough" climb, I'd be at LT the whole way, no room at the top for extra effort at that length.
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Old 10-01-17, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
I've never understood the whole 'shift up to stand' thing. If I feel the need to stand, I stand. If I feel like I can sit and spin, I do that.
If it's a short effort and you're standing to gain extra power by pulling on the bars then you'll need to shift up to avoid spinning too fast. If you're just looking for a break and don't need any extra power then there's no need to shift up.
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Old 10-01-17, 08:13 PM
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I don't understand the folks who don't understand the need to shift to a harder gear when standing. I think our physiologies must be very different. If I don't shift to a harder gear, when I stand up, it will be like spinning out. Yes, I can "spin" (relatively speaking) at 70 standing, but, given the same grade, the bike needs to be in a much harder gear than it was when seated for it to be controlled. The only time I don't feel the need to shift when I stand is to address a marked increase in grade - a ramp of some sort. More often, however, I'll shift to harder gears to keep the cadence down, and I like to use slight increases in grade as opportunities to turn up the heat, so I'll stand and shift to harder gears then, too. What's fun is to continue shifting to harder gears when standing, in order to pick up speed on a climb. But I have to be careful to gauge the end of the climb, because if I have to sit back down before the end, I usually have to send the derailleur WAY back up the cassette - not just two, but sometimes as many as six cogs - because I want to be able to spin easily once I sit back down.
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Old 10-01-17, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
I don't understand etc. .
All this, precisely ...well,except the part about speeding up on a climb.
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Old 10-01-17, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RShantz View Post
Here's a question: On a tough 30 minute climb, how many minutes would you estimate you stand? I'm guessing I stand about 25% on a tough climb.
I did our local HC last Thursday. It took me an hour and 49 minutes. I probably stood for less that 5% of the total time. Im not that strong so I have to sit and spin.
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Old 10-01-17, 09:02 PM
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I have always shifted up two or so gears when standing on the pedals to take a momentary advantage of the increased leverage and weight. This was often enough to open a gap between me and another rider on climbs, a gap which he sometimes would not be able to close. It the normal practice when getting out of the saddle, it surprises me that some people don't understand it.

On very long climbs, I alternate between sitting and standing. I stand when climbing the steeper parts and small rises, and sit when things get less steep or flat. Standing is not so much being able to put your full weight on the pedals, but to be able to make more effective use of your arms and back. I push and pull on the bar as I push and pull on the pedals. Before I start "lugging", I shift down.
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Old 10-01-17, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
I don't understand the folks who don't understand the need to shift to a harder gear when standing. I think our physiologies must be very different. If I don't shift to a harder gear, when I stand up, it will be like spinning out. Yes, I can "spin" (relatively speaking) at 70 standing, but, given the same grade, the bike needs to be in a much harder gear than it was when seated for it to be controlled. The only time I don't feel the need to shift when I stand is to address a marked increase in grade - a ramp of some sort. More often, however, I'll shift to harder gears to keep the cadence down, and I like to use slight increases in grade as opportunities to turn up the heat, so I'll stand and shift to harder gears then, too. What's fun is to continue shifting to harder gears when standing, in order to pick up speed on a climb. But I have to be careful to gauge the end of the climb, because if I have to sit back down before the end, I usually have to send the derailleur WAY back up the cassette - not just two, but sometimes as many as six cogs - because I want to be able to spin easily once I sit back down.
I'm with you here.

Shift up 2, then stand and keep going.
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Old 10-02-17, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I use triples and typically shift up a chainring. If I'm really tired, maybe I add 1-2 cogs more. I think the OP is talking about long continuous grades, climbs of 20 minutes or more where maybe one does a resting stand every 10 minutes. Those with high VO2max can typically stand at a higher cadence than we mortals who are already maxed out in the saddle.
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I stand when I need to ... usually to use different muscles because the ones I am using are toast, or to lower my cadence, breathing and heart rate because I am bout to have heart attack or stroke--or both.
yes, this sounds like me.

To clarify, I am not using the standing posture to "attack" or accelerate. I sort of know what that is (involves pulling up on handlebar), and it takes about 85-90% exertion for me to do it. Usually I have been slogging up a hill for a long time. My legs are tired and my butt is starting to go numb. I use the standing position to rest certain parts, not blow up my heartrate.

If I don't upshift significantly, then my standing cadence is too fast, or if I slow it down on purpose, that means my rear foot is still pushing down on the pedal (instead of pulling), at the same time the rear pedal is lifting up = wasted energy.

I find that the "low energy" standing and pedaling speed is somewhere around 40 rpm. Lean forwards, try to have a lot of body weight on the hands, front foot uses body weight to push down, rear foot pulls up lightly. No pulling up on the handlebar, but weight does shift from one hand to another. Terrible form, body bouncing all over the place, but at least I can keep this up for a long time.

Originally Posted by RShantz View Post
Here's a question: On a tough 30 minute climb, how many minutes would you estimate you stand? I'm guessing I stand about 25% on a tough climb.
Before, when I had 34F 28R gearing, there would be sections where the seated cadence really bogged down, so I had to resort to standing. In that case, maybe 8-15% of the time? Now that I have super granny gearing (28F 34R) I don't lug the engine as much, so I spend less time standing.
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Old 10-02-17, 04:09 AM
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Shifting up (i.e. to the smaller cog in the back) is fairly quick and not very hard on the drive train. I wouldn't worry about going easier for the shift, just do the required clicks and stand up.
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