Easy and Simple Guide About How to Tackle the Hills When Cycling
Every cyclist can admit that hills can be tricky. Even if you’re the most experienced cyclist, the hill right by your doorstep could be a fair challenge. It can be even harder if you come across a hill that you’ve never ridden before.
On the Fat Lad at the Back sportive (The Big Fat Bike Ride) aka still the friendliest sportive around, all of the four routes weave their way through–our home–the Yorkshire dales which deliver challenging hills but give back breathtaking views. These hills can be very daunting and seem impossible to get over, especially if you have never ridden them before.
To help ease the worry to the riders who are new to the Big Fat Bike Ride or cycling through the Yorkshire dales, we asked our past sportive attendees what advice they would give for tackling hills and this is what they suggested.
Don’t be ashamed to get off and walk
Getting off your bike when the hills are kicking your butt is not a sign of weakness. Hills get easier and more enjoyable over time but no one’s bothered about how you get up the hill as long as you get there with a smile. Plus if you walk up the hills, you get the bonus of enjoying the fabulous views.
Know your gears
At the bottom of the hill, start off with the lowest gear and shift your gears, where needed, as you progress up the hill. This helps keep up a tempo and distracts you from the fact that you’re going up a hill that is only designed for 4x4’s.
Shift your weight
If you tip your weight to the back of the heel, this will engage different leg muscles to help keep you going whilst giving your normal muscles a rest. Give all your leg muscles a chance to rest for a bit by alternating your weight distribution
Just take a breather
If you aren’t feeling up to walking, get off your bike and take a quick rest. Allow your heart rate to slow down and gather your breath. Another good opportunity to look at the views around you and take some pictures. When you feel like your breathing is steady, you can get back on your bike and take it easy.
Don’t compare yourselves to others
Probably, the worst thing that you could do is to compare yourself to other riders that go past you. Everyone attending the sportive is riding at different levels with differing levels of experience; each rider has different strengths and weaknesses and different cycling styles. Some are new cyclists and others are cycling fanatics. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. You know your limits and how you like to cycle, so don’t be put off by the number of cyclists that might be going past you. You might even catch up to them by the next hill.
Sing a tune
If you have a favourite song, why not sing it! You can either sing out loud or in your head and use the rhythm of the song to pedal in line with the beat. This keeps up your momentum and you can have a jolly little sing-song. If you lose your breath, you’re pushing too hard.
The FLAB sportive is NOT about smashing PBs and being the first ones to cross the finish line. It’s about having fun, experiencing the community’s camaraderie and appreciating what Yorkshire has to offer. So relax, smile and keep cycling.
Does the Big Fat Bike Ride tickle your fancy? Click read more about our 2022 Sportive, such as what’s included, the different routes, and to buy your tickets.