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Cannot cycle uphill.

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by JamieRegan, 14 Jul 2017.

  1. JamieRegan

    JamieRegan Well-Known Member

    I have just bought a BTwin 900 AF. It seems like a quality machine but I'm struggling with it.

    Background: I'm 46, 16stone but general fitness and endurance is ok. I've ran 3 marathons in my 40s. I cycled 250 miles over 5 days on my hybrid 4 years ago.

    I've never had a road bike before and I know it'll take some getting used to. I also accept I'm not the fittest and I'm quite heavy, but I literally cannot cycle up a hill of any kind and I can't believe it's purely down to fitness. I still have my 12 year old hybrid that I managed to cycle up the An Clisham on the Isle of Harris and the Rest And Be Thankful and I can get up any hill on that, albeit slowly.

    I can easily sustain 20-25 mph on the flat.

    Am I missing something?

    Is there a problem with my bike?

    Shouldn't it be easier on a road bike than a hybrid?
  2. Welsh wheels

    Welsh wheels Lycra king

    South Wales
    You're right, it should be easier on a road bike as they are normally lighter and have more gears. Where on the handlebars are you holding when you are attempting to cycle uphill?
  3. Dec66

    Dec66 Veteran

    West Wickham
    You can always move to Norfolk.:okay:

    OK, now I have the daft joke out of the way, I'm going to ask the most basic of questions; you are changing down the gears, I take it, and not trying to go up on 50/12?

    Assuming you are; when you're approaching a hill, do you change down in plenty of time and get a good cadence going, rather than trying to struggle up in too high a gear?

    Sorry if it sounds like I'm teaching my granny to suck eggs, but I'm just trying to eliminate the obvious rookie stuff (you say you had a hybrid which you could climb on so I guess you're not a total newbie).
    phantasmagoriana and Mort like this.
  4. Mr_Grieve

    Mr_Grieve Well-Known Member

    I suspect the gears on the BTwin are not low enough for you. According to the Decathalon website the lowest gear is 36/28 - first is number of teeth on the front and second number of teeth on the rear when both at their lowest. Lower at the front and higher at the rear is easier. I'm a similar weight to you and have 34/32 which I sometimes need. Your hybrid is likely to have a triple at the front with lower gear available. Easiest way to get lower gears would be to change the cassette at the rear. BTW it looks like a good bike but the gearing is more suitable for lighter (and in my case fitter) riders.
    Banjo, slowmotion and NorthernDave like this.
  5. graham bowers

    graham bowers Über Member

    NW Leicestershire
    The answer is in the gear ratios. I would expect the hybrid to have a lower bottom gear than your road bike.
    If this is your bike:


    A 36 / 28 bottom gear is probably the reason - not a problem with your bike per se, just the wrong specification for the job it has to do. Rest and be thankful is stated to be 15%. The legs of Garth would be needed with a 36/28 bottom gear.

    I've answered as straight down the line as I can........................................
  6. Doobiesis

    Doobiesis Senior Member

    Poole Dorset
    You just need to up your fitness and learn how to cycle with a road bike. It's not a gear forgiving hybrid, it's half the battle learning how you gears work for you.

    Are you using the clipless pedals/shoes? As that'll help. Keep at it, you'll get it right soon enough.

    I've been cycling four years and I'm the same age as you, and I still struggle up hills. I hate them!
    RichardWHardwick and Cycleops like this.
  7. oldfatfool

    oldfatfool Veteran

    How did we ever manage with only 5 gears .....
    PMarkey, ChrisEyles, Rooster1 and 4 others like this.
  8. johnnyb47

    johnnyb47 Über Member

    Maybe cycling on the flat for a few weeks would help you tackling the hills for the future..It will give you a gentler curve of upping your fitness levels and losing a little weigh.
    After a few weeks you could then try some small climbs, and as you start to find them easier you could then tackle the bigger ones. When I first got back in the saddle last year I could barely do 10 miles but now I can cover 70..It's supprising how quickly your fitness can improve in such a short time pedaling a bike.
    All the best .
    RyanB98 likes this.
  9. Cycleops

    Cycleops Veteran

    Accra, Ghana
    You don't say how it is since you last cycled. If it hasn't been for a while then you may just need to build your fitness, it's always a struggle at first. I remember struggling with hills and it did become easier over time. Seems like your fitness might have suffered since you last rode your hybrid four years ago. Loosing a bit of weight wouldn't do any harm.
    Just check the bike to eliminate any problems there. Are the brakes binding? Then at least you'll know it's down to you!
    Good luck.
    johnnyb47 likes this.
  10. Lee_M

    Lee_M Über Member

    if I could easily sustain 20-25 on the flat I'd not bother going up hill
  11. S-Express

    S-Express Guest

    General fitness/endurance is not the same as cycling fitness/endurance.
    cyberknight, Alan O and johnnyb47 like this.
  12. graham bowers

    graham bowers Über Member

    NW Leicestershire
    With the legs of Garth ?-))
  13. Tenacious Sloth

    Tenacious Sloth Über Member

    Huntingdon, UK
    Two things work well to increase your performance going up hills.

    1. Lose some weight
    2. Practice riding up hills as often as possible. Change your normal routes slightly to include more climbing.

  14. ColinJ

    ColinJ Hillfinder General

    I'd guess that you are confused about how the shifters work on your road bike and are selecting much too high a gear for climbing?

    (If you can climb on the hybrid bike then you should be able to on the road bike if you select a similar gear ratio.)
  15. I can`t cycle downhill, that`s more embarrassing!!
    Truth, ChrisEyles, Rooster1 and 5 others like this.