Beginners Guide To Tackling Hills

Tempting as it is to throw everything you've got at a hill, you've got more chance of staying on your bike all the way to the top, if you take it easy!

So, focus on getting up the hill, not how fast you can do it. Drop your pace. Drop your power. Breath easy. Spin slowly.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 03/05/2014 - Cycling - Yorkshire, England - Fat Lad at the Back. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 03/05/2014 - Cycling - Yorkshire, England - Fat Lad at the Back.

  1. KEEP TALKING!

If you can't talk, you're probably pushing too hard and you’ll soon run out of puff! Remember, this isn’t about pushing yourself as hard as you can, it’s about pacing yourself!

 

  1. YOU’RE A TORTOISE NOT A HARE

it doesn’t matter how slow you go, just keep the wheels turning nice and steady - you're gaining fitness, not winning the Tour de France.

 

  1. KNOW YOUR GEARS

At the risk of stating the obvious, get to grips with your gears. There’s nothing worse than going into a hard gear, instead of an easy gear half way up a hill. You’ll lose momentum and end up having to get off.

 

  1. DROP YOUR GEARS

Unless you like pushing big gears, give yourself a break and start dropping down as soon as you need to. Don’t push through the harder gears and ‘save’ your easy gears for later, as you’ll burn yourself out. Get organized as you approach the bottom of the hill and start dropping a gear, so you maintain your momentum.

 

  1. TRY STANDING UP

Riding out of the seat uses different muscles and allows you to use your body weight to push the pedals, but it is something that you may need to practice on short inclines until you’ve got your technique sorted. Once you’ve been out of the saddle it’s tough sitting back down if you don’t have an easier gear left, but it can often be enough to just get you over the brow of a hill.

 

  1. IT NEVER GETS EASIER

To paraphrase the words of Greg LeMond, It never gets easier, so don't expect it to, but you WILL get faster!

 

  1. IF IT CLICKS, FIX IT

If you’ve got anything that clicks or clanks when you turn the pedals or wheels, fix it, even if it's just something on your clothing, otherwise you’ll be notified of every single revolution.

8. DROP YOUR HEELS

Shift your weight back in the saddle and drop your heels to engage your glutes and give your quads and knees a break.

 

3 thoughts on “Beginners Guide To Tackling Hills”

  • David Uprichard

    I have lost a stone in the past 2 months and the hills really are easier if you can do so.
    Select the gear before you need it even perhaps before the hill and spin.
    Consider a 3 chain ring set up if, like me, you live in a hilly area. It is so nice to know you have a place to go if it gets too tough.

    Reply
  • Jamie Taylor

    Don't avoid hills, embrace them. You will improve. Climbing gives a real sense of achievement. Break the hill down in sections and don't be afraid to change position to bring other muscles into play whilst other muscles have a deserved rest. Also don't be macho, nothing wrong in changing your cassette to a 30 or 32. Even the pros sometimes do this. Enjoy, achieve, cleanse your soul.

    Reply
  • Mike Gerrard

    I have 48/33 with an 11/36 cassette. Set up for touring/camping but I find it very useful even if I'm unladen.

    Reply
Leave a Reply