Cycling down an even flat city road is different from taking on the hills. It is not as easy to climb and descend hills on your road bike. No wonder even seasoned bikers avoid regular runs in hilly terrain. But with the proper technique and a little practice it can be accomplished easily.
You will need to bring each and every one of your proven biking techniques into play. Maintaining good posture as well as balance – both fore-aft and side-to-side are key. As is staying mentally focused on the climb and knowing when to hold back on the descent.
Riding up Hills: – Assuming weather conditions are good — and ride-able paths — riding up inclines on a road bike is a matter of getting the most out of the energy you spend.
Body Posture – Seated
Keeping your butt firmly on the seat and your pedaling cadence high assures a maximum conversion of your energy into power. At its most efficient, the pedaling rate, is between 70 to 90 revolutions per minute (rpm).
However, if you need even more juice:
Lean forward while pushing your rear end to the back of the seat as you push down.
Keeping your elbows flexed, pull on the handlebar opposite from your downstroke leg. This works your gluteal muscles as well as your leg muscles.
Body Posture – Standing
Sometimes when the climb gets very steep, you’ll need even more power than sitting allows.
Keep your body in a straight line over the weighted foot, lean the bike away from the foot delivering the down stroke.
Keeping your elbows loose, lean forward on the handlebars to deliver even more power.
Once the weighted foot completes its stroke, transfer your weight to the other foot.
Shifting Gears During Climbs
It’s all about timely shifting when climbing a hill. You’ll lose all your momentum if you shift too soon. Too late and you’ll have to struggle to get up the hill.
Keep your pedaling pace consistent throughout a climb.
As soon as your speed starts to slow down, shift into an easier gear.
Ease up on the pedals while shifting to take the pressure off the chain for smooth shifting.
The gear you climb a hill in depends on your fitness level and the steepness of the hill. Stronger bikers can ride up a hill in a higher gear while keeping their cadence constant. Beginner or less fit cyclists are likely to use the lowest gear more often.
Mental Approach to Climbing Hills
Apart from proper riding technique, most good riders learn how to motivate themselves into staying the course as long as needed. Try divvying up the route in sections: Then, take them one after another until you can envision yourself making it to the top.
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