No matter who you are- a green hand or an old hand, I mean, for cyclists, you must encounter the hills sooner or later. You may flinch for the first time. Or you may head on fearlessly like me. But buddy, you are in need of both intelligence and courage to conquer the hills. So here are some useful tips for hills on the bike.
Practice makes perfect
Practice is always the best way to overcome the difficult point. The better way to conquer the hills is to climb. You'd better climb a hill once a week. Every time you climb a hill on the bike, you should be at the moderate intensity and keep your heart rate between 85 percent and 95 percent of your lactate threshold. But for a higher intensity workout, you should perform 5- to 10- minute hill-climbing at slightly above lactate threshold. When you reach the top, ride downhill to recover and enjoy the process which cannot be described beyond words. But then, you need to head up again and again. Just practice it 3 or 4 times.
Lighten your load
Attention! The load here not only means the weight of your bike but also yours. Power-to-weight ratio is important for successful climbing. For example, if you are racing climbing the hills with a fatter guy(I don't mean to look down upon fat men), both of you are the same in climbing the hills, but you must climb faster than him. That is because you don't have to increase power to overcome the additional weight. But the fatter guy did.
Another load is the weight of your bike. Try to reduce the weight of moving parts, notably the wheels, tires, and pedals. But anyways, it is far more effective to reduce your body weight. So if you want to climb the hill better, you can lighten your load.
Get a better equipment of your bike
You know, climb a hill requires a wide range of gears. So you need to equip your bike with large sprockets and a wide range of gears. Due to the laborious hills climbing, you have to spin more easily than flat road biking. Large sprockets are much easier to spin. And a wide range of gears is good for the diverse terrain.
Make a plan for every climb in advance
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Facing with different hills, we need to develop different strategies. A plan for a long steady climb is different from the one for a shorter, steeper hill. For instance, if you are climbing a short steep hill followed by a downhill, you can ride at a higher intensity than you do on a long hill in that you can have a chance to recover immediately.
Stay seated on the saddle most of the time
Of course, you can stand for a while. It will be better actually. But most of the time, you should stay seated, keeping your weight back and holding handlebars over the top. And your hands should be about 2-3 inches from the center stern to allow breath easily. After all, climbing a hill is an aerobic exercise. So you need the open chest to breath much more easily in case of lacking oxygen. To all intents and purposes, staying seated on the saddle can reduce stress on the cardiovascular system.
Shift gears while going uphill
If you can change gears effectively, it will do a great deal to climb. Shifting gears need skills actually.
* Change gears before each terrain gradient. Keep pedaling while changing gears to maintain momentum. It aims at keeping your effort as constant as possible.
* An experienced cyclist will get a better knowledge about the fact that a low gear is good for going uphill. The higher gear is for going back down.
But, it takes practice to shift gears just as a duck to the water. You need to grasp the skill to change gears based on the pace and power. So don't be upset. Just keep doing it.
Bear in mind that you are a good climber
Don't underestimate the effect of psychology. It can make a big difference for you. You may notice the strange things that despite two cyclists climbing the same hill, one is a better climber than the other. Why? It is exactly the mental effect that affects on cyclists. That's to say, if you believe you can, you can. If you believe you can be a good climber, you can!
There are several cycling tips on conquering the hills. You should keep them in mind. And do them in action. The first and most important step is getting out and climbing. Action speaks louder than words. You should put them into practice. Anyways, I have mentioned confidence on tip 7. First, confidence will be increased as you have more and more climbing experiences. Second, climb according to your ability. If you try a hill beyond your ability for the first time, your confidence may erode. Last but not least, you'd better break a long hill into several smaller parts. For instance, break a 10-mile ascent into four 2.5-mile ones. In general, believe in yourself. And believe my cycling tips.