Tips for Fast Climbing

November 10, 2015/ Maria Parker

We spent this past weekend in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Bike Expo. Above is Jacob, Cruzbike’s Product Designer, me and Robert Matson, owner of New York City Recumbent Supply and one of Cruzbike’s dealers, on a ride on Saturday morning. This show attracted mostly traditional cyclists. Many of them had seen recumbents before but knew very little about them. They were very curious about the beautiful Silvio S30 on the table in front of our booth. It attracted a lot of positive attention and hundreds and hundreds of question. By the end of the first day my voice was hoarse and my throat sore from educating show-goers about recumbents in general and Cruzbike’s unique Dynamic Boom Front Wheel Drive.

Something I explained over and over again is Cruzbike’s unique ability to climb hills fast. I explained the benefits of the rigid front triangle, short chain and the fact that riders can add upper body and core input as they climb to get to the top of short steep hills fast, or to alternate muscle groups on longer more gradual climbs. Each time I made the explanation I thought about some particularly tough climbs I have done and I thought I would share with you some of my climbing experience and some things I do when I climb.

Tips for fast climbing:
Like almost all cyclists, I try to conserve speed from the previous descent when I am approaching short steep hills and take my momentum up the hill as far as I can. If I am coasting into the incline, as my speed starts to slow, I initiate pedaling very carefully and evenly. Once my speed drops to the point where the pedaling is getting more difficult, I shift down, and at the same time lean forward toward the handlebar and off the seat back, and pull hard on the bars. This gives me a big boost of power, usually an additional 70 to 100 watts. I can’t keep it up for long however, so if the top of the hill is not within sight, I lean back, and down shift further. I still pull on the handlebars, but I’ll recover until I’m not red-lining. Then I lean forward again and repeat.

The Mental Game:
When I’m climbing, I try not to look at the top of long hills. I usually find a tree, a sign, or crack in the road about 20 yards in front of the bike and I think about getting to that landmark. Once there, I get a sense of satisfaction that gives me a mental boost and I look for my next landmark. Patiently, I get up the hill section by section.

I’d be interested in hearing other physical and mental techniques for climbing. Leave a comment below if you’d like to share your own techniques.

Below, just for fun are some photos Jacob took. You can get a feel for our booth and the crowds of people surrounding the S30. We also had this video on loop,


We also had this video looping at the booth so people could get a feel for how much fun it is to ride a Cruzbike.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published