When will I be strong enough to get up hills?

Newbietocycling

New Member
I have just purchased a new bike. Before this one I hadn't ridden a bike for four years. To add to the newness of it, this time round I am carrying a heavy three year old on a seat on the back!
We can cycle to town easily enough as it's just 2 miles downhill. However on teh way back there are some really steep hills and I cannot manage it! I had to literally push the bike up today and i was even out of breath doing that. Yes I have it in a low gear but it is just too much for me!

Does anyone have any tips on how I can slowly accustom myself to hills? Do any of you experienced cyclists have to push the bike up hills with a heavy load or do you just get more and more used to it over time? I can't imagine myself ever being fit enough!!

Bear in mind - today was only the first time i have tried to ride this bike up a hill. and it's a lovely hybrid one so perfect for my needs. :-)

would really appreciate any advice, even on how to hold my posture up hills, etc....

by the way - am a girl..
 

Chrisz

Über Member
Location
Sittingbourne
Firstly - keep at it! It will get better.

Next, pick a point on your hill (2nd lamp post, first drain, number 36's front door etc.) as an aiming point - you can't get off until you reach it. Gradually select aiming points further and further up the hill until you can manage the whole thing :wacko:

They never get easier - you just get up them slightly faster LOL :biggrin:

By the way, the fact that you're a girl counts for nothing (unless you're posting pics :sad:)
 
1st...try it without a young passenger to see how you do. Depending on the hill, I would expect you to get much further without a child.
2nd...rinse and repeat until you can reach the top.
3rd...add Child to the mix. Repeat.

Tips. Go slow in a low(or lowest) gear. do not try and rush to the top, in fact do not look up at the top. For some reason this seems to make a difference. Slow and steady is the order of the day.

PS. Just got overtaken by a 'girl' on my way home who was moving like the proverbial. It isn't a sex thing, it is a fitness and technique thing.
 

TVC

Guest
Chrisz has got it, don't set the top of the hill as your target, work up to it with small increments. Think about your speed as well, don't go too fast at the bottom, most beginners make the mistake of racing at a hill to get as far up as possible before they run out of juice. Approach the hill relaxed and start at a gentle pace.

Remembering back, when I first got back on a bike there were several hills near home that I struggled up, now I don't even notice them. Still though there are a couple of really nasty little climbs that I'm yet to get up in one despite being a 100 mile rider - one day though, I will.

Small goals and enjoy it - that's the only way.
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
+1 to the 'it'll get easier', but with the caveat that:

It may never be 'easy'. But you'll find as you get better and fitter, you recover so much more quickly. I still crawl up hills, but the minute I'm at the top, they are forgotton.

Get your little passenger to cheer you on....:wacko:


Actually... On a tandem once with a friend, he asked me to take one hand off the bars, and push gently against his back, by way of an experiment. I did, and he said it was uncanny, it felt like I was pushing him along. Obviously, I wasn't, because we were moving along together, on the same bike. It was just a psychological boost. Now, that was on the flat, but...

Maybe get your little passenger to give you a push too!
 

adds21

Rider of bikes
Location
North Somerset
Arch said:
Actually... On a tandem once with a friend, he asked me to take one hand off the bars, and push gently against his back, by way of an experiment. I did, and he said it was uncanny, it felt like I was pushing him along. Obviously, I wasn't, because we were moving along together, on the same bike. It was just a psychological boost. Now, that was on the flat, but...

Maybe get your little passenger to give you a push too!
My little one did that when he used to be in the child seat. Usally accompanied with "Faster Daddy". Now he's in a tagalong, so at least can help a little!
 

PpPete

Guru
Location
Chandler's Ford
Careful with those young un's ....
Broke 30 mph on the tandem at the weekend with 9 y.o. as stoker. He's been high about it ever since. And now he's really keen to push on the uphills, because he knows there's a chance of thrill the other side.
Little beggar is turning into a right little adrenaline junkie!
 

Debian

New Member
Location
West Midlands
Newbietocycling said:
I have just purchased a new bike. Before this one I hadn't ridden a bike for four years. To add to the newness of it, this time round I am carrying a heavy three year old on a seat on the back!
We can cycle to town easily enough as it's just 2 miles downhill. However on teh way back there are some really steep hills and I cannot manage it! I had to literally push the bike up today and i was even out of breath doing that. Yes I have it in a low gear but it is just too much for me!

Does anyone have any tips on how I can slowly accustom myself to hills? Do any of you experienced cyclists have to push the bike up hills with a heavy load or do you just get more and more used to it over time? I can't imagine myself ever being fit enough!!

Bear in mind - today was only the first time i have tried to ride this bike up a hill. and it's a lovely hybrid one so perfect for my needs. :-)

would really appreciate any advice, even on how to hold my posture up hills, etc....

by the way - am a girl..
I remember it well. I hadn't ridden seriously for ages until I took up cycling again about eight years ago and even small hills used to kill me.

As per previous advice just keep practising and aim for a point slightly further up the hill each time, even if it's only a yard further. Also, don't look at the top of the hill, concentrate on the next ten yards - then the next ten yards - then the next ten yards; that way, in your mind you break down the obstacle into manageable chunks which makes it seem easier. This worked for me.

Finally, don't try to use too big a gear. Change down and spin the pedals faster, not too low though. It's difficult to put into words but there's a point where your legs are spinning fast enough but not so fast that you feel that your legs are "windmilling" with no real effect and when there's just enough resistance to pedalling to be comfortable but not so much that your legs start to hurt. Find this ideal point and spin your way up the hill, even if you are only moving at walking pace. You will climb slowly but you'll be able to keep going further. As you get stronger you'll find that this comfortable point occurs at higher and higher gears.

Persevere and things will quickly improve just like they did for me. I ride hills now that the mere thought of used to terrify me and I think - what hill! :smile:
 

JtB

Black Lives Matter
Location
North Hampshire
My experience commuting (with panniers) is that even a small amount of additional weight over the back wheel makes hills appreciably more difficult.
 
OP
N

Newbietocycling

New Member
WOW!! - wasn't expecting so much great advice, and thanks to the poster who pointed me in the direction of that other thread! I guess I should have searched earlier! Thanks to the poster who appreciates how hard it is with the extra weight on the pannier too :-) makes me feel better.

Thanks so much to all of you in fact. Some real gems of advice in there. I will definitely mark out little targets for myself, and not be too upset if I can only manage walking pace as this did putme off a bit. I love t he suggestion about trying to take on the hill without my son but I have no one to leave him with, so I guess I will have to try asking him to push me along instead! I love that idea too!!

and LOL I will put pics up if I reach my goal, as I suspect I would look pretty damn hot if I had a toned enough body to make it up that hill. Honestly, I was panting for breath and feeling like I was going to faint just APPROACHING it!! I definitely won't look up - I was so doing that, hadn't thought of it putting me off.

In fact while I am here... might as well ask.. going TO town isn't as hard hillwise but to be honest the downhill slope is all road with driveways along it, and I go SO FAST on the bike down it, it is a truly terrifying experience. Is it common for people to go over handlebars or does it just feel like it?

thanks again!!
 

JtB

Black Lives Matter
Location
North Hampshire
Newbietocycling said:
to be honest the downhill slope is all road with driveways along it, and I go SO FAST on the bike down it, it is a truly terrifying experience. Is it common for people to go over handlebars or does it just feel like it?
wow, that sure sounds like one steep hill, no wonder its so difficult to pedal up. If its any consolation, I've only been over my handle bars once.
 

Debian

New Member
Location
West Midlands
Shaun said:
wow, that sure sounds like one steep hill, no wonder its so difficult to peddle up. If its any consolation, I've only been over my handle bars once.
+1

If it's that steep then no wonder you have problems pedalling up it - it would terrify me! ;)

I'ved been over the handlebars many times, never on the road though, only when mountain biking.
 
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