How to climb - 10 top tips for beginners

How to climb - 10 top tips for beginners

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Whether you are new to cycling or just looking to improve your technique, here are our top 10 tips for getting up and over those hills.

1)     Pacing

If the gradient allows, pace the early sections of a climb conservatively, ride within your ability and avoid going into the red. Using heart rate or a power meter is ideal but another good guide is that you are still able to talk, even if it is just in short sentences.

2)     Cadence

Some very steep climbs are inevitable grinds but, if possible, look to maintain a cadence of 75-90 rpm.

3)     Gear selection

Use your gears to maintain your cadence. Think ahead with your gear selection and try to avoid shifts, especially between chainrings, when under heavy load or you will risk dropping your chain.

4)     Seated climbing

In general it is more efficient and sustainable to climb in a seated position. Try to keep your head up, a relaxed grip on your bars and a still and stable upper body.

5)     Standing climbing

Sometimes the gradient, or just a need for some variety, will get you up and out of your saddle. Try to shift up a gear when you stand and, although it is normal to gently rock the bike from side to side, don’t exaggerate it

6)     Relax

Whether you are standing or sitting, keep your upper body as still and relaxed as possible. Avoid bobbing or swaying as this wastes energy and don’t wrestle with your bike.

7)     Traction

If the road is wet or slippery, stay seated, drop your chest towards your handlebars and shift forwards on your saddle.

8)     Take a breather

If the hill eases off, take the opportunity to catch your breath but don’t lose your momentum. If there is a downhill, shift up a couple of gears, try to keep pedalling and carry some speed onto the next uphill ramp.

9)     Pedalling technique

Really focus on pedalling smooth circles rather than just stamping on your pedals. This will increase efficiency, recruit more muscles and improve traction.

10)  Rhythm

If you watch a top climber, they will often look as though they are “dancing” up a climb. You might not quite manage this but, by holding a tune or rhythm in your head or even just counting, you might find this helps your climbing.

Learn more about climbing in this video and this article.


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