Cycling up hills, or climbing, as the professionals call it, is one of the toughest parts of a bike ride. It can be a hard slog, even for reasonably fit riders, and some people even pick routes to avoid the slopes altogether. However, it is a shame to miss out on some scenic and enjoyable bike rides. Here are some tips to make tackling those hills seem easier!
Build up some speed beforehand
If it is safe to do so, increase your pace on the run up to the hill, in order to use the momentum to propel you up the slope. The aim is to save you some energy expenditure on the climb, but make sure you don’t exhaust yourself on the run up.
Also be careful to shift into a lower gear as you approach, so you don’t squander the power you have built up. You may need to downshift again as you climb, depending on the steepness of the hill.
Don’t start too strong
Inexperienced cyclists often make the mistake of giving it their all as soon as they hit the slope. However, this means that you will burn out before you reach the top. Start steadily, and hold something back for that push to the top. Switch down the gears until you find a comfortable pedalling momentum.
Stand on the pedals
Lifting yourself out of the saddle allows you to put more weight into the pedals, giving you more power. Keep your upper posture as relaxed as you can, without hunching your shoulders or holding your arms too straight.
Use the diagonal
If there is no traffic, and you are struggling with the steepness of the hill, you could zig zag diagonally to give yourself a breather.
A final thought if you live in a hilly area but want to make the most of your cycling routes—consider a lightweight electric bike, which will give you some extra oomph when you need it most.