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?
Ducati make bikes worth getting out on too.
i'm assuming that's 800m of *riding* as opposed to 800m of *climbing* - that really would be a stern test
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.
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
move to the top of the hill?
Have you considered EPO? Keep it quiet, and we won't grass 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?
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!
what gearing are you running on your competition bike? can you gear it down easily?
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.
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!
was the cliff there when you moved in?
how about a stairlift?
you could fit SRAM apex to yr road bike, that has a 34t chainring and 32t cassette
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?