Are you struggling with cycling uphill? We heard you, and you're not alone! Here are some tips and tricks for tackling the hills with great efficiency.
1. Don't let your weight pull you down
There is a basic fact that if you have a good strength-to-weight ratio you will find hills easier. Strong legs and core and less body fat will make the sheer physical act of propelling yourself and the bike up an incline easier.
2. Yes, your heart matters
It will also help if you are cardiovascularly fit. Training to improve your heart and lung capacity over months and years will assist the more arduous task of riding uphill. While strong legs are important, so is the ability to keep going while spinning the pedals.
3. Lighter Bike = Easier Flight
A lighter bike is easier to ride uphill. If you can afford a lighter bike then there is no doubt this will make cycling uphill a whole lot easier!
4. Keep your bum up!
Studies have bee done to find out if it’s better to sit down or stand up while cycling uphills. It has been found that road cyclists generate the perfect level of power while conserving energy by remaining seated until the gradient hits 10%. Then, with your heart pumping hard, it’s time to stand.
However, when the incline becomes event steeper, let’s say more than 25%, it might seem like an impossible task to stay standing while still pedaling. Some people also find they need to sit down to keep the front wheel on the ground. Then again, it’s said to be 25% faster to ride standing up so that hard, steep section will be over much faster!
If you are a heavier cyclist, there could be more beneficial if you stay sat down. Having a lower center of gravity can help with general power to weight ratio.
You’ll need to try it for yourself and see what works best. Most amateur riders will find they do a mix of in the saddle and out of the saddle riding when cycling up long ascents.
5. Hold Your Position
It is all too easy to fall into the trap of sitting back of your bike with your arms straight, your back bent rounded and your heels pointing down as you pedal laboriously. The problem with this position is it doesn’t use your stabilizing core muscles and can easily throw off the rhythm of your stroke.
Instead, the best hill climbing position is a flat back with bent elbows. Bend at the hips to achieve this. This has the advantage of lowering your center of gravity. Making sure your chest is open thanks to a flat back will allow your lungs to work properly. If you are bent over your lungs will be compromised.
6. Watch Your Momentum
If you see a climb ahead use the flat or descending section before it to build up speed. Even if you are going faster than you normally feel comfortable with try to resist pulling the brakes (obviously, within the realms of safety!) and as you then begin the climb you’ll have the benefit of a short natural push upwards. Make sure you use the gears and pedals efficiently, as soon as you start to lose momentum.
7. Focus, Focus, Focus
Instead of worrying about falling off or not pedaling, imagine yourself at the top of the hill. Keep thinking about how you will feel when you get there. Stay focused, breath efficiently and keep turning the pedals as you ride uphill. Also, tell yourself you can do it. You will get there if you believe you can.
It's not that hard, is it? Keep these tips and tricks in mind and we guarantee you that you'll be riding uphill like those experts you see on TV!