Posted by: dean | June 30, 2009

Climbing skillzz to pay the billzz

revoramble 045

sussex tpk, longest hill in morris county according to

I’m pretty much bicycle obsessed at this point in my life unless music takes over, plus I’m bored at work so I thought I’d offer some tips for riding up big hills.  When you can pedal on flat ground nearly effortlessly, hitting hills that slow you down to walking speed is kinda demoralizing.  I hope you find this helpful.
So you see this big hill coming, realize before the hill starts that ok, this climb is gonna make just riding along a good bit harder, prepare for a bit of agony if the hill is long/steep and you’re already tired.  Take a sip of water, unzip your jacket or jersey and give yourself some easy pedaling time before the hill starts. 
Right before you hit the hill and begin to slow down, shift into a lower gear early and get your legs spinning, that way when the hill does slow you down your legs wont get bogged down, pedaling slowly and struggling along while your searching for a good gear. Going up you’ll wanna spin the pedals pretty fast, faster than you think. This is taxing on your lungs but not your legs, the reason for this is your lungs can recover much faster than your legs. Pay close attention to your breathing, if it gets outta hand, gasping almost and your eyballs start popping out, slow down, gear down and just spin a bit easier. Common advice is if your legs are tired spin faster, if your lungs are tired spin slower – find the happy medium. Dont be afraid to use all of your gears.  Dont Worry about going slow, Be Happy!,

Relax your upper body, neck, shoulders, jaw, everything, its a waste of energy to be tense. Slide up on your seat a half inch or so, the hill is pushing you towards the rear of the bike, sliding up will recenter you over the pedals. If you can, slide your hands to the very most outsides of the handlebars, sometimes I grab onto the ends, this kind of opens up your chest and makes breathing a bit easier.  

If the hill is very long, and your having a tough time break the climb up in your mind into manageble chunks, like, ok I’m gonna pedal to the telephone pole, then pick the next target…maybe just the next telephone pole or that mailbox.

Relax, its just riding a bike. Look around enjoy.  Start slow, especially if it your first time on the hill, it can be hard to know how to manage your energy, if you have energy left near the top use it if you wanna look awesome cresting the hill strong.  Sort of like unrolling a carpet… it starts slow but really gets moving at the end.  Dont use all your energy to just crest the hill…remember you still have to get back up to cruising speed when things flatten out which will take some energy.

Kind of alot of nuances right? Thats what I love about cycling.





  1. Excellent advise on those hills. I think it is important to learn how to ride really slow in the granny gears. I noticed when hills come up, people ride faster than they should. I think from fear of falling over, and they end up getting winded before the top and give up.

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