On our doorstep here at Westbrook Cycles, across the North Yorkshire Moors are some of the most beautiful, but steepest roads in England. Although there are certain parts of the country, where long cycles can be carried out across flat ground, rides with steep ascents certainly give way to some of the best views, and some of the best feelings of satisfaction when you reach the top of a steep climb.
We know however, that steep climbs are not always enjoyable - and can take some true grit and determination to conquer. That’s we got our heads together here at Westbrook, to note down some of the tips and tricks that we use to both get through steep climbs, as well as improve our performance of steep climbs.
These hints and tricks may not be massively scientific, but they do work in the real world.
Judge the Climb
One of the most important aspects of climbing successfully, is understanding and knowing the climb you are about to tackle. For example, it’s no good heading up a hill flat out, only to collapse halfway up. A great way to judge climbs on a route is to first of all drive the route, allowing you to know how much energy to keep in the bank.
One of the easiest ways to get better at hill climbs, is to do more of them. Hill climbs are the perfect way to intensively train and increase both power and fitness. Focus on both short and medium sized ascents, with powerful bursts which will allow you to eat up the tarmac.
Sit or Stand
Sitting or standing during climbs is one of the biggest debate points here in the office, and to be honest - whether you sit or stand when climbing is entirely down to you. A couple of things to consider is that lighter riders usually find it easier to climb stood up, whilst sitting down provides the most aerodynamic profile.
We summarise this one by just saying… do what feels right!
When climbing, it’s easy to take shallow breaths in a panicky motion - try and concentrate the breathing with every intake of breath - filling the lungs from the air they need to perform.
Whether it’s swapping an aluminium road bike for a carbon fibre bike, or losing some pounds from your waistline - it’s always easier hauling things uphill, when there’s less of it. So shedding weight from both the rider and the bike should be considered if you are taking your climbing seriously.
If you are finding climbing particularly challenging, and would like advice on some products to make climbs easier, get in touch and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.