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Do you believe this is true?

Old 08-01-23, 09:43 PM
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I and my buddy from Little Rock just climbed a hill this past week which his Garmin measured at 20%, but fortunately for us it was not a long climb. I think you could have walked your bike up more quickly than I was riding and I had to remain in the saddle and spin my way up as I didn't have enough gear up front in order to keep me from lifting my front wheel off the ground when I tried to get out of the saddle.
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Old 08-02-23, 12:07 PM
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I believe the person wrote that. and its veracity has no bearing on my experience.
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Old 08-02-23, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Such ruling grades do exist. ACAs route in Arkansas has sections around 23%. With low enough gearing and perhaps “delivering the newspaper”, one could probably get up a section of 25%. But not me.

BTW…You overlooked the Angliru, which has been used in La Vuelta. And I think 12 lbs. would be under the legal UCI limit.


Better living through arithmetic.

(1551-145) gives you 1406 meter climb. Over 19 kilometers, or 19,000 meters, that gives you (1406/19,000) 7.4% average grade.

The very steep part is roughly an 800 meter climb to the top over a 7 kilometer stretch... (800/7000) 11 1/2% OUCH!

If I recall from my touring days the Grosseglockner south from Brucke to Heilegenblut, the climb was 12% for 12 kilometers.

But I still say "OUCH!" to all of you crazy riders out there who endure steep climbs here and there. Good luck and Godspeed!
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Old 08-02-23, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
On another forum, a member posted that they did a 25% climb with a loaded bike. My personal experience had me on a 15% climb on a naked bike and it was the toughest climb of my life. A quick search of the Tour De France and Giro d'Italia, the toughest climbs they have listed were mostly about 20% and these were pros on 12 lb bikes
Do you believe that was doable, or the gradient rating was flawed or just a miscalculation by the rider?
I've done a few short 25% jeep road climbs on a loaded bike. And one that measured over 30% for a few feet.

24x46, so I was ready for it.

Some say it's easier to walk than ride up something like that, but I disagree (unless there are stairs next to the route )
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Old 08-02-23, 02:45 PM
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Coincidental to seeing this thread, last night I rode a short steep grade nearby that my Garmin indicated peaked at 25%. The Garmin showed 20+ percent for a minute or so. It was tough, to put it mildly.

Per Strava, I've ridden this climb three times, and one was on my recumbent. Holy crap, I'm impressed with my former self. Last night I barely kept the bike moving, which is probably 2/3 the weight, more stable at low speed, and presumbably has a more efficient drivetrain than the bent.

I bet my younger self, on an upright bike, could have gotten my 200 lb self on a loaded touring bike up that climb. Not by putting out a constant mega watts, but by surges of power, good balance, and persistence. A kilometer of that? No.
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Old 08-02-23, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
For me the limit was at the short part of a hill in Five Islands Campground on Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Canada where my inclinometer said 17 percent. It got steeper, but I quit pedaling at 17 percent.



But, I was not trying very hard, heart rate was 105.

I camped there a few nights, I do not recall if the photo above was when I first arrived with a loaded bike or if it was while I was camped there and went over to the camp office to use the wifi riding an unladen bike. I climbed that hill a few times, when it got to steep I got off the bike to finish it.

One other bicyclist was camped at the campground, this was her first bike tour, she said she tried to make it up the hill and could not.

That was four years ago, thus I was 65 years young at that time. For me, I quit pedaling and start walking when my heart rate monitor says that is the right thing to do, percent grade does not matter to me, heart rate is the deciding factor. Or, for this hill, I knew that I could not climb it, so why try?

Every once in a while, someone asks me where to get an inclinometer like that. They are in stock again. But, you must be at a constant speed (no acceleration or deceleration) for it to read correctly. The bubble changes size slightly with change in temperature and barometric pressure, I leave mine loose enough that I can re-calibrate it (twist it on the mount by hand but tight enough that it stays there) to correct it for the uphill part of the scale when on flat ground. I have no connection to the manufacturer.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01L5GL3A8/
Nice. While checking your inclinometer choice out on Amazon I also saw a few using, I presume, some kind of brass ball bearing within something that's curved in the opposite orientation than what you have uses. What prompted you to go with one using an air bubble that rises instead of a ball bearing that sinks?
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Old 08-02-23, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by estasnyc
Nice. While checking your inclinometer choice out on Amazon I also saw a few using, I presume, some kind of brass ball bearing within something that's curved in the opposite orientation than what you have uses. What prompted you to go with one using an air bubble that rises instead of a ball bearing that sinks?
I am not sure if that was available at the time. I bought my first one in 2013 or 2014. My first tour with it was Pacific Coast in 2014. They were out of stock for years, but I bought a second one a few months ago for my light touring bike.

If I had seen that one with the ball, I probably still would have bought the one with a bubble. I am a retired Geological Engineer, took a couple surveying classes in college, used surveying gear as part of my job, that surveying equipment had level bubbles, so I am used to level bubbles.

To reiterate, your speed has to be constant for a level bubble to be accurate. And if you are stopped (speed stays constant at zero) they are very accurate. So, if you get one, keep that in mind.

When a GPS tells you your percent grade at a low speed, the accuracy is not very good. It has to calculate the distance and difference in elevation at two points to determine that. And the GPS units on handlebars are not accurate at all for such measurements. Elevation data by GPS is usually about half as accurate as horizontal measurements. But to calculate percent grade where you expect it to be accurate to one percent, that elevation data would need to be spot on. But a level bubble is very good at that sort of thing.
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Old 08-02-23, 09:57 PM
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Did a hill climb TT that ended with a 300m long 22% finish, I was running a 38ring with 32cog, it was circa 2000 and I was in the best shape of my life at that time. I managed to pass 4 people on the climb by realizing it was faster to sprint past them on foot than wrestle with the climb, couldn't imagine doing steeper and loaded. I do believe someone with modern gearing and a lot of determination could do it with a lightly loaded touring bike, if they're in excellent shape but not for any real distance and they'd probably be faster walking. Don't think I'd want to do it.
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Old 08-11-23, 11:44 AM
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Been up the east side of Pacific Grade on Hwy 4 in the Sierra several times loaded. It has a maximum grade of ~24-25%, but that's just a few tens of meters on the inside of a really tight switchback. But following that is an extended stretch of some hundreds of meters at 10-12% before the summit at 8000 feet. (the altitude doesn't help, for sure)

I also did these passes on weekdays when traffic was very light.

https://www.dangerousroads.org/north...de-summit.html
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Old 08-11-23, 01:22 PM
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No. The world is full of bullsh*tters. Look around us.
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Old 08-11-23, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser
Been up the east side of Pacific Grade on Hwy 4 in the Sierra several times loaded. It has a maximum grade of ~24-25%, but that's just a few tens of meters on the inside of a really tight switchback. But following that is an extended stretch of some hundreds of meters at 10-12% before the summit at 8000 feet. (the altitude doesn't help, for sure)

I also did these passes on weekdays when traffic was very light.

https://www.dangerousroads.org/north...de-summit.html
What I find amazing about such grades as I approach them from miles away (say, in the mountains) is they look ABSOLUTELY vertical! I say, "there is no way I can do that!" When ya finally see the climb it is not as bad as you thought, but still tough. I've been a granny gear guy from day one (my current bike lowest gear is 26 front 36 back) so I'm usually singing on the way up....
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Old 08-11-23, 02:19 PM
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Many times I have done 25% of a loaded climb, then I got off and walked.
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Old 08-11-23, 02:55 PM
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Last week I had 2km of 10-12% on an unladen 25Kg bike, with gearing low enough to do it, but with hot sun at 35-41C (95-106F). Half way up I figured walking was the more leisurely option. When it reduced to 7% I got back on. I daresay if it had been a cooler 17C, I would have cycled all the way up.
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Old 08-11-23, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Roughstuff
What I find amazing about such grades as I approach them from miles away (say, in the mountains) is they look ABSOLUTELY vertical! I say, "there is no way I can do that!" When ya finally see the climb it is not as bad as you thought, but still tough. I've been a granny gear guy from day one (my current bike lowest gear is 26 front 36 back) so I'm usually singing on the way up....
Hah, that's the good part about Ebbetts Pass and Pacific Grade, you can't see any of the road ahead--too many trees and mountains.
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Old 08-11-23, 11:22 PM
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My girlfriend and I did a bike packing trip of breweries in Vermont (The Gravel Growler). Hilly as hell. One of the big ones was App(alachian) Gap, 2.7 miles with the last stretch about 19.3%. I had two front bags a frame bag, and oversized seatpack. Anna had similar load but rear panniers. We both managed without dismounting but that last stretch took forever at like 8RPM. Anna did a little paper-boying.

It was worth it. The beer was great.









25% seems unimaginably difficult but perbaps with a really strong rider over a short distance? Sure.

Last edited by john m flores; 08-12-23 at 05:31 AM.
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Old 08-12-23, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
......that last stretch took forever at like 8RPM.....

8 RPM?
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Old 08-12-23, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
8 RPM?

That would take forever
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Old 08-17-23, 01:25 PM
  #43  
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Out in the Western USA the toughest sustained climb I ever did was California's "Nine Mile Canyon Road," which leads up to and over Sherman pass. I was on the Sierra-Cascade bicycle ride but I often took side trips and alternatives for variety and love loop through loop tours. I was lucky it was early summer, since temperatures in the canyon can soar when the sun's rays reflect off the canyon walls. But it was still warm. I was rewarded with snowfall at Sherman Pass (9,200') the next day. Grades vary but there sure are some steep portions!
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Old 10-06-23, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
On another forum, a member posted that they did a 25% climb with a loaded bike. My personal experience had me on a 15% climb on a naked bike and it was the toughest climb of my life.
Do you believe that was doable, or the gradient rating was flawed or just a miscalculation by the rider?
Gearing has everything to do with it. My Surly DT has a 3x10 drivetrain geared down just under sixteen gear inches (22tx36t on 26" wheels). I did 1200 miles of the Pacific coast from Oregon to CA in 2019. I turned away from the coast on Timber Cove Rd in Jenner, CA (toward Cazadero). The sign said 18% for two miles. I was pretty overweight and out of shape that year, but I was able (barely) to pedal up this hill with a total vehicle weight (rider, bike, food, water) a bit over 300 pounds. At 16 gear inches, you're going about 2.6 mph at a comfortable cadence. That's a 23 minute mile.

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Old 10-06-23, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Brett A
The sign said 18% for two miles.
Ride With GPS indicates 1.9 miles between the Coast Highway and Seaview Road with an elevation gain of 890 feet for an average of 11.3%.
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Old 10-07-23, 06:57 AM
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The steepest documented grade I've seen was this one in the Yorkshire Dales:



I was on a tour, but on an unloaded day trip. A local told me I'd be walking my bike so of course I had to tough it out and ride it. I was on my first touring bike with a granny gear, in 1983.
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Old 11-17-23, 09:05 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by tcs
Ride With GPS indicates 1.9 miles between the Coast Highway and Seaview Road with an elevation gain of 890 feet for an average of 11.3%.
Hard to know from here what info goes into determining what a sign reads, But I'd venture to say an 11.3 percent average means it was likely 18 degrees or more for some stretches. Google maps, set to bicycle directions, says 2.0 miles and 955 ft gain FWIW. Which, if I've done the math correctly, is also just over 11 percent grade overall.
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Old 11-17-23, 11:31 AM
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Joining the fray...

It's nice to bolster and say, I did that! I rode that % grade. As you get older, at least for me, it becomes a question of "Is it worth it?" I know the self adulation that comes from climbing a steep hill loaded or unloaded. Been there, but now, I look at it, more cautiously. At 60+, I ponder, "Will I screw up my knees?" Having dealt with knee issues that ended my touring in my 20's, I am grateful that I can ride again and I want to conserve that ability as along as I can.

Cheers,

Rod
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Old 11-17-23, 11:42 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by teachndad
Joining the fray...

It's nice to bolster and say, I did that! I rode that % grade. As you get older, at least for me, it becomes a question of "Is it worth it?" I know the self adulation that comes from climbing a steep hill loaded or unloaded. Been there, but now, I look at it, more cautiously. At 60+, I ponder, "Will I screw up my knees?" Having dealt with knee issues that ended my touring in my 20's, I am grateful that I can ride again and I want to conserve that ability as along as I can.

Cheers,

Rod
I think with the right hearing I'll keep doing 15% hills on the roadbike for quite a while. I have a 26x26 low right now, and I feel like I'm almost ready to move to 30x32, maybe for my 56th birthday. Then 26x32 when the time comes.
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Old 11-20-23, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Such ruling grades do exist. ACAs route in Arkansas has sections around 23%. With low enough gearing and perhaps “delivering the newspaper”, one could probably get up a section of 25%. But not me.

BTW…You overlooked the Angliru, which has been used in La Vuelta. And I think 12 lbs. would be under the legal UCI limit.


I wonder if my Prius can handle it! 😉
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