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.
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.
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.