"...... and on the eighth day derailers came into being.  All was well in the Universe for the people had more than one gear."

Lets talk about hill climbing technique for a moment. One of the most common mistakes I notice folks make when climbing hills is not down shifting soon enough. (If at all :>)   They will stay in the same gear that they were riding in on the flats, and try to muscle the bike up the hill. That will work for a while, but if you are riding in a very hilly area, or for 60 or 70 miles, after the first few hills you will not have anything left for the rest of the ride.

Your cadence shouldn't change much from riding on the flats to climbing up a hill. In other words, if you ride at 70 to 80 rpm on the flats, you should try to do the same up the hill by downshifting until you can maintain the cadence. Even if it means getting down on your "Granny Chain Ring". That's why it is there. :>) 

The rule of thumb for hill climbing is that if you are going faster than 4 mph (walking speed) you are doing just fine. Don't become frustrated and walk because you are only going 7 or 8 mph up hill because you are doing great.  If your cadence is up, and you are spinning and feeling good, then stay with it.

Make sure when you get your bike back from it's pre-Freewheel check up that you can access all of your gears from the smallest, to the biggest. Last year I came across a young lady who was trying to make it up a steep hill. Her cadence had fallen to about 30 rpm and she was in trouble. As I came up beside her I suggested she downshift. She replied that she couldn't because the chain would pop off the chain ring. We stopped, and I adjusted the front derailer for her so she could start shifting and she did just fine from then on. So make sure all of your systems are working properly before you leave home.

On a related matter, lets visit leg cramps for a second. When pushing up hill for long periods of time I have a tendency to develop leg cramps. These can be caused by many things, but in my case it is usually due to a loss of calcium and dehydration. I always carry a roll of Roll Aids or Tums with me. When I feel a cramp coming on I will eat a couple of these and drink a half a bottle of water and I am good to go. Because they are absorbed quickly I usually don't even have to stop and wait for them to kick in. I just back off my peddles a little, and after 5 minutes or so and then I am fine.


All pictures and material on this site © Klent Harkness, All Rights Reserved. All information offered on this site is advice only. I am not a Physician and I am only relating personal experience and my own opinions  on this site. Please seek the opinion of  your personal Physician  before starting any exercise or diet program. I get an annual physical and my doctor monitors both my exercise and diet programs. Yours should to.  .....Klent