Anyone who rides a bicycle knows that hills are tricky to handle. They require much more effort to climb than flat ground, and many people find that they must dismount before they reach the top of an incline. If you want a smooth, unbroken biking session, however, you won’t be satisfied with having to resort to this every time the path becomes steeper. Fortunately, there are actions you can take to ameliorate this problem. Whether you cycle for fun, exercise, or competition, these ways to make biking up hills easier may prove useful to you.
Save Your Energy
The instinctive response to a formidable hill is often to charge at it while pedaling as hard as you can in a higher gear. You will get more speed this way if you can keep that pace up, but usually, you’ll end up burning out halfway and then slow to a crawl for the remainder of the climb. A better tactic is to slow your pace down a bit and shift to a lower gear as you start the ascent. From there, focus on maintaining that same speed as you continue up the hill. This will involve slowly using your leg muscles more and more without tiring them out completely. As you near the top, you can go all-out and finish off strong.
Change Your Positioning
Positioning your body differently on a hill can also act as a way to make biking up hills easier. Instead of keeping your back up with your arms straight in front of you, you can bend your arms and lower your torso so that you are flatter over the bike. This will allow you to utilize your core along with your legs, so you don’t tire yourself out prematurely. Your core muscles will support your legs as you pedal, so lactic acid builds up in them slower. This upper-body recruitment will also help you build momentum, so you aren’t forced to stop before you reach the top of the hill.
Use the Right Bike
In some cases, your struggles with hills may be due in part to the type of bike you have. For instance, if you mostly ride on paved streets but use a dirt bicycle without gear shifting capabilities or high-traction tires, you’re going to have a hard time. Ideally, you would use something like a road bike with multiple gears and thin tires instead. Find the right bike for the context that you ride in, and hills will become easier. If you are more casual about your cycling and want an even easier ride, you could also consider electric bicycles. The advantages of electric bicycles are multitudinous, and chief among them is the fact that they power you forward with a motor. Naturally, this makes hills much more of a breeze.