Thursday, May 6, 2010

Over Hill, Over Dale

Not Level

It is so hard to get a true sense of a hill in a photograph. Steiner St. is vicious, and even on my best day, I can ride maybe 1 block of it. I was just thinking I wish I had a level to take a picture of next to the bike when I was given this wonderful garage door to help make my point.

Fish Eye View

I forget where I read it, but one of the original guys at American Cyclery is said to have asked a prospective bicycle buyer " do you need to ride up all of the hills, or is it OK to push some of the time?". I subscribe to the latter and will push without reservation.

How about you? Do you have to ride every hill, or is it OK to push some of the time?


  1. Definitely ok to push. I'm not aspiring to be an athlete, I'm just getting where I'm going. Pushing up a big hill rather than riding it allows me to ride the rest of the way to where I'm going comfortably, not get sweaty, and enjoy slowing down for a few blocks.

  2. No shame in pushing, IMO. I'd rather get to the top on foot more slowly and feel okay when I get there than try to muscle my way through and get to the top out of breath, exhausted and with sore knees. No thanks!

  3. "push it real good." --salt & peppa.

  4. There's no shame in pushing but consider this alternative. Instead of pushing your bike, just take a break then get back on.

    Stop before you tap yourself (i.e. before your legs and lungs burn). Rest until you catch your breath and feel a little rested -- a minute or two, maybe more (try to keep it under 5 minutes though or your legs will stiffen up). Then get back on and ride. Repeat as necessary. You'll get up the hill faster, for less total effort, and you'll build your climbing muscles for the next time.

    Bicycling Science lays out the physics for this. As long as you can provide enough forward momentum to keep the bike from tipping over, it's better to pedal than walk.

  5. I have no shame in pushing. I push right outside the preschool as I need to go about 25-35 feet then make a left turn on a steep hill and my momentum is all wonky. so I push it and then walk it across the street. There are a few other key places I push b/c I end up getting stuck and stalled.

    But most of my usual hills I rather not push b/c pushing the Sorte is not easy. so if I have a long sloping hill I just take it slow. I also have begun taking breaks mid hill and I find I am able to restart with more gusto and my arms don't have to push that crazy bike. So much easier to ride it. But a normal two wheeler- luckily my legs are sorte proof!

  6. those hills and I have a mutual understanding. going around them even a mile out doesnt offend them... h eheee

    welcome to my world. Im surrounded by them - and they get jealous of my relationship with my beloved polk st.
    pfffft they can kiss my frenchie's fender - - -

  7. There's a hill on the way to the campground we spend a week at each summer. After a ride depending on which bike I've taken, I push through or just push. The hill doesn't seem to mind.

  8. On the Bakfiets I find riding easier, of slow. On the Xtracycle... it depends on the hill, although we have loads here that rival SF.

    At the end of the day I'm getting there in the most comfortable ways possible. I don't mind how or how fast.

  9. i just go slower or if i get real tired i'll start tacking (zig-zagging) up the hill until i can straighten out again. time means nothing -it's not a race. staying on the bike is my goal - not sure why...