There’s no need to be afraid of uphill climbs. It’s just another way of riding around on a bike to the greater amusement of yours (and a better health). Follow these simple tips and you’ll enjoy every climb.
- Think positively about uphills!
Studies have shown that just looking at a climb makes you nervous and increases your stress levels, and your heart rate increases. This mental and physical stress drains your energy. Take a deep breath, shift into an easier gear, think of something good and relax before heading uphill.
- Should you sit or stand?
Sitting when going uphill is definitely more efficient as you lose more energy when you stand on the pedals, so you’ll have to expend more energy to maintain your pace. However, if you want to maximize your acceleration for an attack, such as during a race, then you’ll have to stand up. Paradox? Simply put, “Sit whenever you can, stand when you absolutely have to.”
- Drink constantly.
Your muscles are like a sponge. The more fluids you give them, the better they work. Drinking fluids consistently will help you cool down and prevent your body from dehydrating. It is recommended to buy a drinking system to keep you hydrated at all times.
- Pedaling technique.
Push the pedals in as hard as you can, and in the bottom position, pull up with maximum acceleration. Contact shoes will contribute to this. So if you want to maximize your climbing efficiency, you need to buy contact shoes.
- Think like a biker.
Imagine that you are a good biker. Imagine climbing in perfect form and repeating to yourself, “I am definitely strong enough…. I am a strong biker… I pedal like a boss…” Before you realize it, you will be at the top of the hill. Even if the words themselves are just yet to become true.
- Don’t try to be macho.
Despite the previous tip, you should also feel free to go to the lowest gear. And if your bike still has three star cranks, then use the smallest sprocket.
- Keep moving.
A common mistake cyclists make – especially the new ones – is staying in the same gear for too long when going uphill. This lowers the cadence (frequency of pedaling). Feel free to change gears to maintain your rhythm.}
- Know how to sit on your bike.
Sit as far back in the saddle as possible when going uphill. This will give you maximum power and traction. If you have to ride standing up, do not lean or push on the handlebars. You will shift your center of gravity and free up the rear wheel, reducing traction and causing the wheel to slip. Try to stand as straight as possible with your arms straight too. And, of course, try to avoid roots, rocks and bumps.
- Pull the handlebars.
When the climb gets super steep, pull on the handlebars as you pedal. And never push the handlebars down. This is a good approach – it will multiply your power and traction.
- Lose some weight if needed.
Lighter weight means more chances for a swift uphill climb. It is never too late for you, nor for your bike. Lighten up! The trick is that you can quite easily reduce the weight of your bike. In general, it is a good idea to keep the bike about as light as humanly possible.
All these tips presented above can help you a lot when you start practicing uphill riding. You’ll make the needed progress much easier and safer. Still, remember: the rides up and down mountains or hills, through forests and bumps are not as easy as hitting smooth city roads. Yeah, it’s not exactly the same as biking in Central Park.
Biking in general is about good calculation and preparation. So be frank with yourself about what you’re capable of, know what you need to get up that hill, and you’ll be just fine. It applies to any other task at hand as well!