Biking on a nice flat surface can be a relaxing, leisurely experience, but sooner or later you’re bound to come across a good hill in your travels. Steep inclines might seem intimidating at first, but with a little practice and preparation you can take these hills in stride. Today we’ll look at a few strategies to help you get over the hump.
If you’re strictly a recreational cyclist, the first thing to remember is to look ahead and prepare. The key to maintaining your momentum is knowing when a hill is coming so that you can get ready for it.
On the approach, drop down a few gears so that you can pedal faster without over-exerting yourself. Dropping a few gears before the approach will make for an easier transition, and you won’t have to drop them all at once, causing an upset to your rhythm. Once you’re on the incline, continue to drop gears as needed, but only drop one at a time to maintain chain tension and get the most out of each pedal stroke. It’s usually easier and more efficient to stay seated when climbing a hill, but if you feel like you need a bit more power, you can stand up on your pedals for a few strokes here and there.
Rather than getting bogged down and discouraged, take a deep breath and enjoy the climb! If you’re tense and stressed out, the climb will feel harder than it needs to be. Just focus on keeping your back straight, your breath steady and your pedals turning. Remember that climbing a hill is as much of a mental battle as a physical one—Keep your cool and take it one stroke at a time.
If at first you don’t succeed, there’s nothing wrong with walking up the hill. You can always come back to tackle that hill again tomorrow. To find more great cycling destinations, check out a few of our favorite Nantucket bike routes here!