Whether you’re a novice or a pro, cycling up hills can be a little daunting. You hit them, you try to pedal, and you try to keep your heart rate down. But even the most seasoned cyclists can still get stuck.
You might be strong, swift on the road, and with lungs like a giant balloon and still find it difficult because cycling uphill is a task that will sap a lot of strength out of you.
Before you can take up such a task, you must be physically fit. The energy required to climb up a hill is double the energy needed to cycle on a regular road or downhill. Your arms, back, and thighs must be in good shape. You must be fully fit for you to pull it off at the first trial.
Cycling uphill is a challenge for many people, but hills could be your friend if you do the right things. You shouldn’t have to find yourself slowing down to a crawl as your breathing becomes strained, or worse, falling off your bike. That’s why we’re sharing some helpful tips and tricks that will help keep you riding up, no matter how steep the hill.
7 tips that will make you get better at cycling uphill
Start Conservatively, But Not Slowly
There’s a common misconception out there that you need to start out cycling fast. But there’s no need to be reckless. The truth is, the first few minutes of cycling uphill can be pretty uncomfortable, but once you’re used to the feel of your bike, it’ll be easier to keep going.
Of course, there’s a time and place for going as fast as you can, but getting out of the saddle and into the rhythm of the bike means you’ll be able to enjoy cycling,
When you start cycling, you have a few options: you can go at it full force and pedal as fast as you can, or you can ease into it and slowly build up your endurance. The choice is yours! What you choose is most likely based on your current fitness level and the surroundings you are in. If you are new to cycling uphill, we suggest starting conservatively and building up your strength and stamina before pushing yourself too hard.
Riding with or without the saddle
While riding up, there are two ways to push, either with the saddle or without the saddle. It is more aerodynamic to climb while seated on the saddle. This position helps you maintain a high power push, so the best way to move while cycling uphill is to sit firmly in your saddle.
On the other hand, when you need to make short bursts of power, you need to ‘stand on the pedal.’ In other words, get off the saddle. This way, you expend more muscle and strength from your torso to pull against handlebars. However, this posture does not last long because power from the muscles can quickly be depleted.
Take Advantage of Mechanical Gears
Gearing is a vital aspect of cycling uphill. When a road begins to tend upwards, you need to be careful about your choice of timing to either reduce or increase your gear. You need to reduce your gear when climbing to find it easier to change when on higher grounds.
There is an electronic range of gears that you can install on your bicycle to change gear on steep hills easily. You should, however, avoid frequent gear changes. You can use gears to manage movement in case of a rollback on a hill.
Maintain a Proper Hand Positioning
Position of hands is key in achieving a smooth ride up the hill. Having your hands on the handlebars will give you enough comfort to fill your lungs with air while breathing. Follow through on many experienced riders, and you’ll notice they like to place their hands in the drop position(under the bars) while cycling uphill.
Practice Breathing well
Breathing well is a crucial part of riding uphill because the body needs more oxygen as it works hard at propelling the bicycle up the steep. Muscles get weaker when deprived of the luxury of much oxygen. When the body lands in a state of panic combined with low oxygen levels, it results in a ‘panic smash.’
Breathing has always been important in any sport-related activity. With practice, You can train your body to withstand certain conditions rather than getting shocked at every hill cycling attempt. Inhaling deep breaths is essential for the well-being and output of your leg muscles.
Nutrition (Top Off Before you start)
The nutritional aspect of cycling is generally known to emphasize energy-giving diets. Before a wild ride, you should not feed heavily and when you do, rest over 30 mins to 1hr before starting your ride uphill because it takes time for food to digest.
While cycling uphill, try to take in some glucose mix or chew some candy bars to replenish your sugar level. If it’s been a while since you’ve eaten and you are approaching a lengthy stretch on the hill, the bar you eat or even a banana that you slow down to eat will increase your fuel shot. You should feel very revitalized after a while.
Spread your weight
Spreading your weight ratio over the bike is essential. Your rear tires give most of the push. When climbing a hill, you are likely to tip over if most of your weight leans towards the back.
You should tuck your elbows in and close to your body and bend your chest over the handlebars. This way, your weight is spread over your bicycle, and pressure is reduced from the back; with practice, traction feels better.
Cycling up hills is perhaps the most mind-numbing fitness activity one can do. The fact that it gets progressively harder to pedal up a hill is a big deal.
For a newbie, Climbing a hill is like trying to swim upstream of a log with each stroke, but in the best-case scenario, you keep moving forward at the same rate as the log. Moving at the same rate as a large moving object is a difficult challenge but can be accomplished
Cycling uphill can be accomplished in many ways, but they all run along with a couple of principles, and most times only way is to let your legs do the work.
We have covered a few tips to assist you, but you should practice and learn more about different uphill techniques.