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When does an incline become a hill?

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by Stig-OT-Dump, 2 Jun 2008.

  1. Started wondering about this when I was going up a sneaky little rise that looks flat (or even downhill) but gets heavier and heavier on the legs. I mean, that's not a hill.

    And then on the way home, there's a long, gentle incline alongside teh park - but you can spin up it with no bother so that can't be a hill.

    Later on, there is a slope in 2 parts which I reckon would be a hill, if it wasn't for flat bit linking them that gives you a rest.

    So when does it start to count?
  2. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    I classify hills as 'grade' - from 1 (being flat) to 5 being a very steep hill.
    The 'grade' being how much faster i go down it than up it. So if i go up it at 8mph and down at 40mph, that's a grade 5 hill. Up at 18mph, down at 27mph - that's a grade 1.5. Up at 15mph, down at 30mph, grade 2.
    I'd say a 'hill' rather than an incline is anything about 1.5 or more, i.e. if you go up at 75% of the speed you come down or more then it's an incline rather than a hill.
  3. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Penarth, Wales
    The severity of a hill/rise also depends on which way the wind is blowing and how your legs are feeling on the day. When I was recently in China and doing my daily ride, there was one section that looked a gentle rise but with a head wind and me trying to maintain a good cadence without dropping down a gear, it soon developed burning thighs for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. Yeah, it's a funny thing. Epping New Road is on part of my route and it took me a good while to get used to it as there are plenty of sections that look downhill, but are up (and vice versa).

    I know there's a place in High Beech (nearby), called 'Dead Man's Hill', where you can sit in your car with the engine off and roll 'up' it. Must be some kind of optical illusion but I've never really been bothered to look into it.
  5. Haitch

    Haitch Flim Flormally

    An incline becomes a hill when you're talking about it in the pub afterwards.
  6. Robster

    Robster New Member

    A question relevant to this which has been bothering me for a while is:
    Whats the opposite of steep?
    shallow? gentle?
  7. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Staff Member

    Anything you like shallow, slight, nice ;), I think an incline becomes a hill when I don't look forward to it... and I know my cadence is going to drop (and some of the hills in Bristol, my speed will be about 4.5 mph:blush:.)

    I must try out the Bonj hill calculator on all the Bristol hills to define them, although I can see a few exceptions where the road surface is very bad so you don't go down the hill as fast as you could (Wedmore Vale) or where there are no traffic lights and few junctions where you get a really good run down (Parry's Lane).
  8. OP

    Stig-OT-Dump Veteran

    Surely, though, there has to be a minimum height climbed (or distance travelled) otherwise it might just be a ramp or something.
  9. redjedi

    redjedi Über Member

    And when does a hill become a mountain?
  10. yenrod

    yenrod Guest

    A hill is up to around 500 feet then after that its mountain - or something like that :biggrin:

    Actually its this...


    In England and Wales the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has defined "mountain" (as a mass noun) as all land over 600 metres for the purposes of right to roam legislation. This is a close metric equivalent of 2,000 feet (610 m).[5] The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 does not appear to draw this distinction, and in Scotland the term "mountain" is more subjective, often being used for hills exceeding 3,000 feet (914.4 m) listed as Munros. In the United Kingdom the term "hill" is commonly used for all hills and mountains, regardless of height.
  11. Maz

    Maz Guru

    Wot Alan H said...but several pints later.
  12. dantheman

    dantheman Über Member

    but surely the mph figures would be different on different types of bike..- theres two hills i go up at about 10-12 mph (red faced and out of breath, but am still pretty unfit), but go down them at about 22- 25 mph (without pedalling) - on a hybrid bike, which is obviously slower downhill.. i would rate these about 3.5-4 on this scale- is this right bonj???
  13. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    YOu go down them WITHOUT pedalling?! :smile: One question - Why?
    Try pedalling, then the grading system might make more sense. :smile:

    But yes, on a hybrid instead of a road bike the 'grades' will be lower, as your downhill speed will be affected more than your uphill speed. e.g. 10mph up/25mph down, versus 10mph up/35mph down on a road bike.
  14. dantheman

    dantheman Über Member

    i pedaled once, got to 34mph, and then couldnt be bothered to turn pedals any faster...

    maybe ill try pedalling a bit more often... :smile:
  15. davidtq

    davidtq New Member

    Oddly enough I tend to keep turning the pedals down hill even if im on the brakes I somehow feel more "in control" keeping the pedals spinning just below the point of accelerating the bike...