20% hill

by phototext   August 3, 2010  

I live at the bottom of a cliff and have 800m of 15% to 20% gradient to climb cold. I'm also middle aged with a dodgy knee. Any ideas to encourage me to get on the bike?

13 user comments

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Ducati make bikes worth getting out on too.

The Man In Black.

posted by gandberg [215 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 13:11


i'm assuming that's 800m of *riding* as opposed to 800m of *climbing* - that really would be a stern test Thinking

even so, it's no fun to hit a hill like that completely cold. my advice would be to gear down - right down, to something really low. fit a triple and a wide cassette, so you've got a tiny gear to twiddle up the first climb. You don't have to use it on the rest of the ride if you don't want to. if you gear low enough you can use the initial climb as a warm up rather than seeing it as a barrier to riding.

If you can't physically ride the first hill all the way to the top – even with a low gear – then don't. who cares? it's not about you versus anyone else, it's about you versus the hill. See how far you can make it, then that's your target for the next time. you can walk the rest. you'll be surprised just how quickly you'll be able to ride the whole thing.

some people might snigger at you for fitting a really low gear. my advice would be to tell those people to get bent.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7788 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 14:02


My charming wifes bike is a Dawes Super Galaxy
It has the lowest bottom gear in the known universe

Perhaps I exaggerate but I'm sure you would have no problems climbing up your hill cold on such a tiny micro gear

The small chainring is 26T and the big sprocket is 32T
This gives a gear of approx 21 inches

vorsprung's picture

posted by vorsprung [297 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 14:37


move to the top of the hill?

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1344 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 14:38


Have you considered EPO? Keep it quiet, and we won't grass Cool Seriously, I really wouldn't sniff at looking into some electric assistance - Shimano's soon-to-be-launched STEPS for example. Fit it to your standard frame and you'll get a boost more than enough to take you to the top of your hill combined with a close to 'normal' riding experience on the flat. It even starts to recharge the battery when the brakes are applied or you go downhill - they don't come much 'greener' than this right now! They haven't yet announced what the system will cost, indeed it may prove cheaper to do what jimmythecuckoo suggests and move to the top of the hill - but where's the fun in that? Wink

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 18:38


EPO sounds good and a Dawes Super Galaxy is a bike I always meant to buy for the touring I didn't do. This hill is steep, its knackering to walk up and I find it easier to ride a bike than push it uphill. I guess neither of my current bikes are ideal a true and heavy off roader and a competition bike. Spend money!



posted by phototext [13 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 19:28


what gearing are you running on your competition bike? can you gear it down easily?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7788 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 20:02


The road bike is stored at the top of the hill so I can't check it but its standard. The MTB has a gear low enough but the hill steep enough in places to make balancing the bike while pedalling madly a bit fraught. I can get up on the road bike but I'm knackered! The brakes are a bit frightening going down too. Power assistance sounds good.

posted by phototext [13 posts]
3rd August 2010 - 22:02


If you have storage at the top of the hill why don't you just walk up the hill, grab the bike and go for a ride? You could even drive up to the storage and go for a ride or one of those mini mopeds to get you there!

posted by adscrim [131 posts]
4th August 2010 - 12:37


was the cliff there when you moved in?

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
4th August 2010 - 12:39


how about a stairlift?

only joking Smile

Barry Fry-up's picture

posted by Barry Fry-up [191 posts]
4th August 2010 - 13:41


you could fit SRAM apex to yr road bike, that has a 34t chainring and 32t cassette Smile

mattbianchi's picture

posted by mattbianchi [16 posts]
4th August 2010 - 13:55


Change to hill gear ratios and also ride with a knee support- practise on easy hills and increase difficulty with time.

Electric motor in your seat tube hooked to the cranks?

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [379 posts]
5th August 2010 - 15:05