We love a good steep climb here at GCN, well maybe except for Lasty, but we know that a lot of riders hate them and sometimes even avoid riding them altogether! So Emma and Si have some tips to improve your riding on steep climbs, and even learn to love them.
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The crucial difference between a steep and a gradual climb, is that you’re not moving very fast. This sounds really obvious but it deserves consideration: because the speed is so slow, one has much less forwards momentum…and a lot of backwards acceleration due to gravity.
This means that if you stop putting force through the pedals, your bike stops moving and you risk falling off. ie the dead spots in your pedal stroke, which you can usually coast through with the forward momentum of riding on the flat, are actually a challenge on a steep climb.
It’s a personal choice as to whether you prefer to stay seated or stand on climbs. But it’s a good idea to train specifically what you struggle with - that gives you more options. I trained at overgeared seated efforts for when I had to sit on longer steep climbs. If conversely you struggle riding out of the saddle - well, practice it! It’s a really useful technique for steep hills because you can get so much more torque through the pedals when you stand.
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