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Gearing for Austin

Old 02-09-10, 11:45 AM
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Gearing for Austin

Hi All,

Just moved from houston to Austin and curious what gearing most people use. I currently have 42/52 chainrings and a 12-25 cassette on my road bike. My first ride i went down Southwest Parkway to Barton springs Blvd over to Bee Cave. The hill at the end of Barton springs Blvd kicked my butt. I had to get off and walk. Granted i'm not in the best of shape right now, but should i swap out my cassette for riding around Austin?
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Old 02-09-10, 12:54 PM
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I've got a 39x23 low, which is about the same as your low. Coming from Houston your legs just aren't used to the hills, and you may need to work on your climbing technique. You'll get there.

Oh, and that wasn't Barton Springs Blvd; that was Highway 71. Unless you've discovered a wormhole.
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Old 02-09-10, 05:22 PM
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I bet the OP is referring to Travis Cook Rd, which becomes Barton Creek Blvd. The hill there is around a 20 percent grade IIRC.

ETA: That's the ascent out of the Barton Creek canyon just before you get to Bee Caves Rd. Maybe a 15% grade.

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Old 02-09-10, 07:34 PM
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I ride a compact double with an 11-28 cassette. Perfect for pretty much any terrain :-) next year join us on the Hugel!
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Old 02-10-10, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Platy
I bet the OP is referring to Travis Cook Rd
Huh. Never knew about that road.
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Old 02-10-10, 08:31 AM
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My road bike is 52/42/30 with 12-28 7-spd cassette

I can ride all but the steepest hills around here in my 42 chain ring. The big granny gear in the back helps...
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Old 02-10-10, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Platy
I bet the OP is referring to Travis Cook Rd, which becomes Barton Creek Blvd. The hill there is around a 20 percent grade IIRC.

ETA: That's the ascent out of the Barton Creek canyon just before you get to Bee Caves Rd. Maybe a 15% grade.
Yeah, that's the one i was talking about. The hill up to Bee Cave Road seemed incredibly steep and i had to push the bike. Can't remember ever having to do that before. Maybe a 28 low gear would help?
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Old 02-10-10, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by oneandahalflegs
Yeah, that's the one i was talking about. The hill up to Bee Cave Road seemed incredibly steep and i had to push the bike. Can't remember ever having to do that before. Maybe a 28 low gear would help?
Here's a link to a cyclist who recently blogged about "Hail Mary Hill":

https://bikenoob.wordpress.com/2010/0...-learned-anew/
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Old 02-10-10, 11:26 PM
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I've ridden the livestrong ride the last 3 years, but that's after a couple thousand
miles in my legs. With moving and everything, i haven't had much time on the bike at all. The weather has been cold and rainy and even sleet today. I've been back in the gym and on the trainer this week. Have a session with a personal trainer tomorrow after my job interview in the morning. My first interview since moving. I'm going in with perfect pants!

That hill will be a good fitness guage this summer.
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Old 02-12-10, 06:46 PM
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I also have a compact double, with a 34 x 28 for my low gear. Because I'm old and slow, I have always had trouble on that Barton Creek Blvd. hill, and had to walk it again two weeks ago...but once I'm in better shape after the winter doldrums, I'll be able to climb it again.
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Old 02-13-10, 06:58 PM
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Tried the hill again today. Conserved energy knowing what was waiting and made it up! Legs and lungs were burning but i made it!
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Old 02-13-10, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by oneandahalflegs
Tried the hill again today. Conserved energy knowing what was waiting and made it up! Legs and lungs were burning but i made it!
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Old 02-16-10, 08:32 AM
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I'm riding a compact (50/34) these days with a 12-25 cassette. My other bike has a 52-42-30 with a 12-27 for when I want to play mountain goat. I avoid going through Barton Creek until later in the season and my legs are stronger, as there is no easy way out once you descend to creek level. I typically enter it from Travis Cook, so unless I go out that way, the choice is either through to Bee Caves up Hail Mary Hill, or out Lost Creek Blvd, which is no picnic either.
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Old 02-16-10, 09:35 PM
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So, the options for crossing Barton Creek are:

1 - Barton Creek Blvd at Hail Mary Hill

2 - Lost Creek Blvd, also steep hills

3 - The Mopac bridge over Barton Creek about a mile south of the intersection with 360 (There is a shoulder on the southbound side, but you have to ride in a Mopac traffic lane when going northbound because there's no shoulder.)

4 - The 360 bridge over Barton Creek at Barton Creek Mall (Similar to the Mopac bridge situation, you have to ride in traffic going north.)

5 - Barton Springs Rd at Zilker Park. Easy, but you will have to basically take a route through downtown Austin to cross the creek there.

I read occasional reports of some kind of design work being done to add a bicycle lane of some kind to the Mopac bridge over Barton Creek, but at best it's only in the planning stage.
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Old 02-27-10, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Platy
So, the options for crossing Barton Creek are:

1 - Barton Creek Blvd at Hail Mary Hill

2 - Lost Creek Blvd, also steep hills

3 - The Mopac bridge over Barton Creek about a mile south of the intersection with 360 (There is a shoulder on the southbound side, but you have to ride in a Mopac traffic lane when going northbound because there's no shoulder.)

4 - The 360 bridge over Barton Creek at Barton Creek Mall (Similar to the Mopac bridge situation, you have to ride in traffic going north.)

5 - Barton Springs Rd at Zilker Park. Easy, but you will have to basically take a route through downtown Austin to cross the creek there.

I read occasional reports of some kind of design work being done to add a bicycle lane of some kind to the Mopac bridge over Barton Creek, but at best it's only in the planning stage.
Bump.

3 would be my closest option but i don't think i want to ride on Mopac with no shoulder, so i either have to do 5 which is ok, but it's much more convenient to ride to SW Parkway and take that way. May try route 2 tomorrow. If not, i can drop down to Barton Creek on my MTB. Either way, it's a win win. Should be great weather.
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Old 03-01-10, 12:29 PM
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Went down Lost Creek yesterday. I think that was harder than Barton Creek Blvd. Definitely could have used another gear.
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Old 03-02-10, 12:19 AM
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Well, 1-1/2 Legs, I guess it won't be long before you're real good at climbing the Austin hills.

I often chug slowly up the hill going east on William Cannon up to Westgate Blvd. A couple of weeks ago I was passed by a casual rider who went straight up that hill on a mountain bike - sipping coffee from a travel mug all the way up! I don't think he even bothered to downshift, either.
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Old 03-02-10, 12:57 PM
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I just use a 3 speed Shimano, don't know what the gearing is, but its pretty darn low. (I can't shift as fast as I want to, to third.) I may regear so I can get a bit of speed on the flats. (Or maybe I need a 7/8/14 speed?) Given the sort of utility/cargo Bike riding I do, I wouldn't want to go too high.
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Old 03-02-10, 08:11 PM
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We'll see. Hope to get some miles in this month if the weather cooperates.
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