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Old 2009-03-27, 07:27 PM   #16
Shug
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Just back from a training ride with some big hills ....pant.. pant! I am working on getting stamina back after winter and there is this one long, big hill with a very steep resolve. Today was the best yet!! Got some tips from this thread .. thanks ....
The more you ride it the better you get. That simple. But my trick is that I lean and push down on my seat extender thing rather than pulling up like I used to. Gets me kinda up off the saddle but not riding standing up all the way.....
Been doing this every other day and hope to get better and better. I love MUni but have always struggled on the uphills.
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Old 2009-03-28, 03:14 AM   #17
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Unicycling has a natural wobbling to the tire. Just look at a track through the sand. When humping up a hill, I exagerate this wobble so that the downward traveling pedal is more in front of the tire contact patch with the pavement. This also allows me to slow down because body weight, tire patch, and pedal are a little closer to being in line.

I stand up. Raising the seat might make an easier transition from sitting to full standing.
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Old 2009-03-28, 03:58 AM   #18
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I always find it helps me to find a rhythm to get into. I notice that I usually sync my breathing up with my pedaling and focus on nothing but the rhythm of my legs and my breath. My head often tends to bob with the rhythm too. I ride a 36, so I'm not sure if that would work as well with a 26".
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Old 2009-03-28, 07:12 AM   #19
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Just one word: really big freakin cranks. Yeah. And really big freakin legs. That helps too. A light skinny tire is also good. No whining. Just practice, get in shape. Get some manly legs and you'll be climbing 14,000' mountains just like Osmundo in 10 or 20 years tops.

Life it too short for riding on the flats.
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Old 2009-03-28, 08:08 AM   #20
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On non-technical terrain (ie. not on big rocks & roots off road), there's no real technique to riding uphill, it is just about hanging on the unicycle and keeping pedalling.

Most people hang onto the handle on really steep stuff, so they can get a bit more force on the pedals.

On really long uphills, if you get to a less steep bit, back off and slow down and take it as a rest, that can make it much easier.

The rest is just practice and fitness that you get through practice.

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Old 2009-03-28, 10:59 AM   #21
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I think what I did was to find a ridiculously steep road hill that's fairly short and try to ride up it.

At the first attempt you won't get very far- then you come back the next day and get a bit further, etc, etc.

Eventually you end up able to climb it to the top.

After that you'll have no problems with hills of 'normal' steepness.

It's important to lean forward when climbing a steep hill- not only cos it makes it safe (far better to UPD forwards than backwards) but also cos it's physically necessary- when going forwards you always need your center of gravity ahead of the wheel axle, more so when the road is pointing upwards.

Basically, as Joe says above, you just need to practice riding up hills,then you'll get better.

Fitness is important, but, the better your hill technique gets, the less energy/muscle you'll need to acheive the same result.

One mistake I often used to make with really steep hills was to just power up using brute force, when, if I just relaxed more, i found I could focus more on balance and take the hill slower.

On a really steep hill, you tend to go up in a series of 1/2 crank rotations, at the top of which you can do a micro still-stand- that's the opportunity for a 'micro-rest' and, as technique improves, you learn to extend that a bit.
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Old 2009-03-28, 03:22 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onewheeldave View Post

After that you'll have no problems with hills of 'normal' steepness.
On a paved road, what is considered "normal" steepness? When is it considered difficult? Extreme? I know it is relative to your fitness and experience, and maybe even unicycle, but would 10% grade be considered normal or difficult? I guess I'm asking if there is an established range of difficulty for hills.
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Old 2009-03-28, 06:32 PM   #23
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On a paved road, what is considered "normal" steepness? When is it considered difficult? Extreme? I know it is relative to your fitness and experience, and maybe even unicycle, but would 10% grade be considered normal or difficult? I guess I'm asking if there is an established range of difficulty for hills.
It very much depends on the place as well- I'm in Sheffield and hills are everywhere, some of them very steep.

I can tell by what people post from other regions that what they consider a 'steep' hill, would, by Sheffield standards, be better described as 'mild'.

People who talk about tackling 'steep' hills on Cokers with 110mm cranks,for example, are, I suspect, not riding the kind of hills that I'd call 'steep'.

Some categorisations I find useful are-

1. a hill would be described as 'extremely steep' if the only way to get up it is to be standing fuly up on the pedals, minimal weight on seat,probably also requiring pulling on the handle

if the hill can be ridden with most of the weight on the seat and not standing up, then I'd say that it isn't extremely steep

2. 'short and steep' vs 'long and less steep'- both can be hard to ride up, but for different reasons- the short and steep hill requires standing on pedals and extreme, short term, expenditure of energy and muscle fatigue:the long and less steep hill is easier to ride (and ridden with full weight on saddle), but, it goes on so long that it's really tiring

I cant really offer useful comment on 10% hills, as have no idea of the %-age values of the hills I ride.

On my recent '700c with slim tyre' thread I talked about setting up a meet in Sheffield for a variety of 'big wheel' unicycles- from 24x3, via 700c/slim tyres, 29-ers and Cokers, with various crank lengths etc.

Tackling Sheffields various terrains, including several hills of the most extreme types mentioned above, would, I feel, yield some interesting perspectives on the various hill/crank length/tyre size debates we get on these boards.

Anyone interested then do let me know and I'll get to work on setting a date.
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Old 2009-03-29, 01:11 AM   #24
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Really big legs ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by naturequack View Post
Just one word: And really big freakin legs.
Life it too short for riding on the flats.
Try some Pistol Squats.
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Old 2009-03-29, 01:56 AM   #25
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What is a 'steep' hill

Quote:
Originally Posted by onewheeldave View Post
I can tell by what people post from other regions that what they consider a 'steep' hill, would, by Sheffield standards, be better described as 'mild'.
After one gets use to climbing and has built up strength, you may start gauge hills by climbing any thing that the two wheelers do.

For road rides on a 36, I use what BicycleClimbs says "Ratings are intended to be relative to your area, but generally an "A" class climb is like a 300' climb at 8% average or more." The regions for "Seattle", "Mountains of WA", and "Bellingham, WA" list many of the climbs I do, have done in the past, or plan on doing. They provide an easy way to track them, add a region for your area, or compare one to another.
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Old 2009-03-29, 07:04 AM   #26
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For road rides on a 36, I use what BicycleClimbs says "Ratings are intended to be relative to your area, but generally an "A" class climb is like a 300' climb at 8% average or more." The regions for "Seattle", "Mountains of WA", and "Bellingham, WA" list many of the climbs I do, have done in the past, or plan on doing.
Can't believe I haven't seen this resource before, although not surprised Joe that you're the one that turned me on to it. Thank you! Under the Seattle list: We skipped the Tolt Hill climb on your RTL qualifier, although Jeff did it when I rode the qualifier with him. That means you and Bruce still need to complete it to balance the karma.

I've been thinking about the May Valley Rd. to summit of Cougar Mtn climb for a while now, and this is the year that I'm going to knock it off. A bit more accessible than the Zoo climb, with nicer road and a lot less traffic. Maybe you should come down late July and we'll climb it, help you get the final tune for your Cougar Mt. race. If necessary, I'd be willing to bypass doing the climb myself so that I can pace you with my car. That's the kind of generous guy that I am.
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Old 2009-03-29, 01:07 PM   #27
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Ok, lets do Tolt Hill

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... We skipped the Tolt Hill climb on your RTL qualifier, although Jeff did it when I rode the qualifier with him. That means you and Bruce still need to complete it to balance the karma.

I've been thinking about the May Valley Rd. to summit of Cougar Mtn climb for a while now, and this is the year that I'm going to knock it off. A bit more accessible than the Zoo climb, with nicer road and a lot less traffic. Maybe you should come down late July and we'll climb it, help you get the final tune for your Cougar Mt. race. If necessary, I'd be willing to bypass doing the climb myself so that I can pace you with my car. That's the kind of generous guy that I am.
Sounds great. Bruce loves going up hills. Think we could get him to join us?

The Zoo hill has a couple of wicked corners. I may choose to ride the wrong side shoulder to make one of them on a Coker and maintain any speed. Wow what a turn.
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Old 2009-04-04, 11:09 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Shug View Post
Just back from a training ride with some big hills ....pant.. pant! I am working on getting stamina back after winter and there is this one long, big hill with a very steep resolve. Today was the best yet!! Got some tips from this thread .. thanks ....
The more you ride it the better you get. That simple. But my trick is that I lean and push down on my seat extender thing rather than pulling up like I used to. Gets me kinda up off the saddle but not riding standing up all the way.....
Been doing this every other day and hope to get better and better. I love MUni but have always struggled on the uphills.
Shug
The reason reclining bicycles have a BIG advantage over conventional bicycles is that the back of the seat allows the rider to do a leg press on the pedals. You might leg press 400 pounds. An upright cyclists can only exert his body weight down on the pedals.

If you pull up on the uni handle, this allows you to do a leg press, and exert far more pressure on the pedal than pushing down on it. I recommend the press by pulling up on the handle, if you want lots more power to push up the hill.

As for the "wobble" motion with each pedal, this actually makes the hill less steep. Because you are not powering straight up the hill, you are actually making lots of less steep diagonals up the hill with each pedal.

This is smart too.
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Old 2009-04-05, 02:20 AM   #29
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Ok so here are some of my tips for riding big ass hills.

1) Foot/pedal motion. If you are riding with pinned pedals and with a flat soled shoe that gets lots of grip from those pedals, on your upstroke point your toes to the ground so you can get torque from your foots upward part of the motion. If your feet are maintaining a horizontal orientation with the ground you can't get this torque (your foot will simply lift of the pedal). Its not quite the same as having clipless, but it lets you get some force to the wheel on a foot that is otherwise contributing nothing to your momentum.

2) Combine point one with getting a hand(s) on your front handle/t7/pi bar or other to hold you down on the wheel thus allowing you to get more force to the pedals-rather than just pushing yourself off the seat.

3) For road- on really prolonged and steep hills a slow cadence will work your muscle strength more than your cardio fitness. This is a bias in my fitness that i think is the same with most people. In my entire road riding experience i have not come across a hill that i can't climb on my nimbus 36er/ 125mm/t7 setup. (Note: i am not an amazingly fit guy- Australia is just pretty flat, even in its steep regions)

4) For muni- getting up off the seat and really reefing your wheel around in 1/2 revolution spurts on steep sections is often the only way i can climb sections of the trails around here. It will probably get to the stage where you will need a cf seat base because you have torn your plastic base in half from that upward pressure.

mark
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Old 2009-04-05, 04:44 AM   #30
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The reason reclining bicycles have a BIG advantage over conventional bicycles is that the back of the seat allows the rider to do a leg press on the pedals. You might leg press 400 pounds. An upright cyclists can only exert his body weight down on the pedals.
A conventional bicycle allows for much more that body weight to be applied to the pedal. A great deal of leverage is available by pulling up on the handlebars on the same side as the downstroke with the foot.

I'd argue that while you may be able to exert more gross torque on a recumbent bicycle it is a far less efficient way of climbing a hill. (But with that said, recumbents sure look fun on the descents!)

The most efficient method whether bicycle or unicycle is to use cleated / clipless pedals and get power around the entire stroke (over the top, down and around and then at the very least unweight on the upstroke or pull up if needed).
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