How To Bike Uphill Without Getting Tired (5 Tips For Easy Climbs)

cycling uphill

Whether you’re cycling for fitness or fun, biking uphill is never an easy endeavour. Steep inclines require a bit of determination, strength, and training to master without feeling spent afterwards.

If you try to avoid hills, and groan when you cannot avoid them, then you might be interested mastering those climbs without getting tired. Sure, it won’t be easy but any cyclist can conquer hills with a bit of strength, training, and willpower.

Sound like something you’re interested in? We’ve got some tips below on mastering climbs when cycling without feeling fatigued.

1. Train Through The Burn

You know the saying – no pain, no gain – and it definitely applies to cycling uphills like they’re nothing. So, you need to train yourself on hills, and that means it will hurt.

A good way to train for uphill cycling is in the gym. This sort of training will help you build up endurance and strengthen any weak muscles that you might have lingering about.

Of course, indoor training is no substitute for the real thing. So, once you’ve mastered the hills program on the indoor bike, it’s time to move the training outdoors.

And since the real world is full of lots of bumps, incline changes, and other elements, expect a bit more pain during that training.

2. Maintain Proper Riding Position

An almost effortless way to make that uphill climb a bit easier on the body is to ride the bike in a position that is ideal for going up the incline.

You don’t want to be creating a drag with the wind and slowing yourself down just because you’re not sitting properly in the saddle. The goal here is to focus on aerodynamics.

So, you’ll be positioned so that you’re leaning forward a bit, with a bend at the hips and elbows bent. Your back should remain straight and you’ll be poised for proper aerodynamics on your climb.

The other benefit of this cycling position for hill climbs is that your center of gravity is lower. Additionally, your breathing improves as your chest is more open. 

The end result is that less effort is required to get up that hill, which means less fatigue at the top.

uphill cycling

3. Keep Up The Momentum

Tell me if this sounds familiar – your start out tackling that hill with a positive mindset and a can-do attitude, but part way up you begin to slow down as you get tired. And by the time you reach the top, you’re ready for a break.

The key here is keeping up the momentum, even if that means working through the pain and burn (refer to tip#1 again). Just keep pedaling – no matter how tired you feel.

I think the important thing to remember here is to try to keep an even pace. So, instead of starting out pedaling hard at the bottom, work on maintaining the same pedaling speed up the hill.

4. Choose The Right Gear

A common problem with new cyclists is using the wrong gear to cycle up hills. In fact, most new cyclists choose to use a high gear since you can cycle faster in that gear.

But you should avoid cycling uphill in a high gear. Why? Because it will take way more effort than it needs to.

That being said, if you’re looking at a short climb and you think that you can maintain the momentum without changing out of the high gear, then go for it. Just be careful not to tire yourself out though.

Low gears are the best for cycling uphill – especially if it’s a steep incline or a big hill. The thing about low gears is that the pedaling is easier, but you just cannot go as fast. 

But that’s okay – you don’t need to speed up the hill anyways. So, put it in low gear and pedal your way to the top with a slow and steady pace.

road cyclist

5. Don’t Ride A Heavy Bike

If you’re new to cycling and on a budget, then you might be pedaling around on a behemoth of a bike that ways far too much for hill climbs. Trade that sucker in for something with a lighter frame as soon as you can.

Here’s a secret – the more lightweight your bike is, then the easier it will be for you to pedal up that hill. Obviously carbon bikes are the ideal option here, but they are wicked expensive. 

So, get yourself something affordable (probably an aluminum frame) and when you can, upgrade to a carbon bike for an even easier time getting up those hills.

Climbing Tips For Heavier Cyclists

If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, then you might find cycling up the hills even more challenging. Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this!

For some tips specific to overweight cyclists, check out the video below.

As you can see, cycling uphill without getting tired is something that you’re going to need to dedicate some time towards. It will take some practice and additional training to conquer those hills.

But, with the right mindset, proper form, lightweight bike, and practice you’ll be climbing hills without even feeling a bit tired or fatigued after reaching the top.

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6 thoughts on “How To Bike Uphill Without Getting Tired (5 Tips For Easy Climbs)”

  1. Wow! I wish it was that simple.
    Going uphill is directly related to a person’s athletic ability, in my humble opinion. If you were the kid that was picked last for activities, I’m guessing you have a great deal of trouble on the hills.
    Sure you can get better on hills with strength and cardio training, but no matter how long or hard I train, I would never, never beat Peter Sagan or any Tour de France type riders. Plus, the burn directly related to the building up of lactic acid in the muscle makes the pain unrelenting; and, at some point beyond an individual’s ability to overcome.
    Good advice on gearing though. Keep the rhythm smooth and pedal turnover consistent. Shift slightly before you need to do so will help with the consistency in turn over pedal rate.

    1. At 75 I was listening to friends bragging about biking Mill Mountain here in Roanoke. I had tried twice, but had had to turn back after a switchback or two. My road bike needed maintenance, so one day I tried the mountain with, of all things, my mountain bike. (half the weight, lower gear ratio).
      In granny gear I set out, resolute and determined to make it to the summit. The most exhausting part had been the city street to get to the mountain greenway entrance. It took out a lot of my energy, a 15 degree climb for nearly 1/4 mile, with small flat areas for cross traffic. My previous experience on steep hills had taught me to deep breathe a few yards before the hill and to keep deep breathing regularly throughout, but not as quickly as the oxygen load before. I also only push down the pedals on the steep grades, letting each leg rest a few seconds as it rises back up. I find that pulling the pedal up, using the quads continually is more tiring for me, as I suffered a complete rupture of my left quad 2 years ago and had needed it reattached to my patella at the sports injury department of the University of Virginia Hospital. I made a complete recovery, obviously.
      Lo and behold I made the summit! And found out my friends had done it when they were younger! Not when they were 75! I climbed to the summit up the old 100 year old road, now only a greenway, one more time before I discovered the modern road up the back, longer and not as steep. Did that twice last week. On the road bike! It’s still tough. But not brutal as is the front access to the summit. And a benefit, I lost 15 pounds in the attempts.

      1. Congratulations! It makes me good to read your story. I stopped biking over 20 years ago. I became a widow 6 years ago, and I’m contemplating buying a bike and for for it again. I’ll be 80 in April, but I don’t feel the years nor I look my age.
        Do you have any recommendations on what kind of a bike to buy? I thought I’ll get some help with and electric/ pedal assistance bike to start?
        Thank you,
        Doris

        1. Hello Doris! First of all I’m sorry for your loss! But good for you for trying to get out and take care of yourself and exercise! My dad is 81 and a very strong bicyclist! We do RAGBRAI every year! Last year he said the hills were getting to him, so I had him try an electric bike, and he bought it and loves it! It’s really helps with hills and windy days! There are so many different ones to choose from! I’d say get one with a comfy seat! Good luck,

  2. Started cycling on my 73 birthday with just a couple of miles now at 78 cycling up all the hills in Redditch , Worcestershire and average 22 miles and 500 ft climb when riding from Worcestershire to Warwickshire most weeks my wife likes walking but that 3/5 miles kills me it’s almost a pleasure cycling up hills instead, love my cannondale synapse

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