While experienced cyclists have fun climbing hills or mountains, hobby cyclists are often intimidated by steep ascents and struggle to make their way to the top. However, with a little practice, everyone can learn how to conquer every ascent.
1. Before going uphill
Preparation for a hilly ride already starts at home: Bring only what you really need to lighten your weight. Once you’ve started your tour, it’s important to stay calm even while you’re still on the plain before the dreaded ascent. If you’re able to preserve your stamina on flat terrain, this will go a long way when finally riding uphill. Choose an easy gear upon reaching a steep slope and remember to switch gears early in order to not lose speed.
Don’t change gears when you’re in the middle of a very steep slope – the chain might jump out of the chain ring.
2. The mindset
Many inexperienced cyclists break a sweat at the mere sight of a steep ascent. However, it is this fear that makes it difficult to successfully conquer hills and mountains. The goal is to find just the right speed which you can steadily keep up until you’ve reached the crest of the hill. It’s always better to move up the mountain slowly but surely instead of having to dismount after a few meters or reaching the crest of the hill completely exhausted.
Don’t choose your pace based on other cyclists, stick to the speed you’re comfortable with.
3. How to pedal correctly
Pedal in calm, round movements and aim for 80-90 turns per minute. Those who can’t bear to sit all the way can ride out of the saddle for a short period of time at moderate gradients. An advantage of this is that your legs are more powerful when riding while standing. Furthermore, your muscles will be freed up for a short time and you can ride a little faster. However, you should still accomplish most of the climb while sitting in the saddle as riding while standing can cause back aches if done too much and also limits your stability on the bike.
4. Tips for training
Not only your legs should be trained and thus used to cycling uphill but your rump, back and shoulders are also needed for overcoming difficult ascents. A good training shouldn’t start by tackling a few hills at a high pace but you should rather take your first practice climbs very slow and get faster over time. With the right mindset and a well-trained body, even the steepest routes can be fun over time.
Do you have more advice on overcoming hills and mountains? 💪🏻
Tell us about your experiences in the comments! 🚲
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