If you’ve taken to cycling up hills, good on! We can’t say we’re jealous, but we admire the effort nonetheless. Chances are, though, that you found a challenge or two along the way. After all, cycling up hills is the hardest kind of cycling there is. So how can you streamline your uphill cycling? We’ve done our research, and of course learned from experience, to come up with a few tips. So have a read, and see if you can use them to your advantage next time you’re cycling against gravity.
You’re fighting gravity, so how do you gain an advantage? Reduce weight to cycle up hills!
The first tip we have for uphill cycling is the simples: lighten up! The major difficulty of cycling up a hill is the fact that you’re fighting against gravity itself. And we all know that it is a losing battle. So you’re going to need to learn how to stack the odds in your favour when you’re cycling hills. The first step is to take off as much weight as possible. Leave Go-Pros behind, and your backpack at home. Some of the professionals even take to leaving their water bottles at the bottom of the hill – but in Queensland heat, that mightn’t be a great idea. Whatever you do, though, try to cut down on weight as much as possible. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make when you’re cycling uphill.
A lot of us learn how to avoid hills on our training routes, but cycling up them often is more helpful
Even the most committed cyclists probably lean towards avoiding hill climbs where possible. They’re tough, demanding, and often painful. But, the more you take on uphill cycling, the better you’ll become. It doesn’t take long to notice a difference, either. One day you’ll be panting on the side of the road, and the next you’ll find yourself a little higher up. Sure, you might still be panting on the side of the road – but at least you can see your improvement! That is one excellent advantage to uphill cycling: you can measure your progress easily. That means you can set goals, beat goals, and enjoy a sense of achievement that doesn’t come with many other sports.
Cycling up hills on a road bike is a lot like driving a car: You have to learn how to select the right gear
If you throw your mind back a year or two, you might remember learning to drive a manual car. You might also remember that sinking feeling of shooting uphill in the wrong gear. Well, if you’re new to uphill cycling, you may need to get used to that feeling again! Picking the right gear is absolutely vital when you’re cycling uphill. More importantly, though, you need to pick it at the right time. That’s where practice is key.
Learn how to pace your uphill assent: cycling too hard too soon will burn you out quickly!
When you’re approaching a hill and the adrenaline is pumping, it’s easy to commit overzealously. And for a while, it will pay off. The increased momentum will push you forward, and each pedal will be easier than you expected. That is, until the adrenaline wears off. Then you’ll be left with leaden legs and a pumping heart. When you’re hill climbing on a bike, you need to learn how to pace yourself!
Finally, train with experienced cyclists – learn how they do it, and match their cycling speeds up hills
Finally, learn from the pros. There are cyclists out there who have learned how to cycle up hills without breaking a sweat. If you can find them, and tag along on a ride, you’ll learn a lot. It will be painful, but you’ll learn a lot! They can also point you towards the right gear for the job. So get in touch with the experts and see what you can learn.