An uphill struggle

OK, folks, so what am I doing wrong, if anything, and what is a reasonable goal?

I can ride up reasonably steep smooth tarmac hills on most of my unicycles - including ones which would slow down some bicyclists. The other day, I rode up a rough track on my 24 with 110s which a few months ago I couldn’t have ridden down. Progress is being made.

BUT there are loads of short hills I can ride down but can’t ride up. I’d expect some difference, because going down hill, you are allowing gravity to overcome your resistance to the pedals, but uphill, you are trying to overcome gravity. However, I really feel I should be able to ride up short but quite steep hills.

I’ve tried relying on speed and momentum, but this only helps on smooth swoopy hills. I’ve tried ‘stepping’ up the hills, one stroke at a time, but stall disappointingly early. I’m not one for hopping - it’s not my style. I’d rather roll or walk.

So, today on the ‘tractor’ (knobbly 26 with 150s) I was little better off than on the ‘hovercraft’ (slightly knobbly 24 now with 102s). I might have done better on the Coker, but that’s not the point.

Ideas anyone? Am I just expecting too much to ride up a few metres of rough ground at about 1 in 3 or 1 in 4?

I think when I started going up hills I found you just have to hold the seat and lean forward. No, more than that, like forward forward. But then I started going up hills on a 20" with 127mm cranks, so I’ve no idea how that compares to your 26"…

Phil, just me

Re: An uphill struggle

On Mon, 14 Oct 2002 14:37:08 -0500, phil
<phil.cj3le@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:

>I think when I started going up hills I found you just have to hold the
>seat and lean forward. No, more than that, like -forward- forward.

I second that. If you go uphill, the contact patch moves forward, so
you have to lean forward in order to keep your centre of gravity above
the tyre contact point (to maintain a constant speed). Before I
realised this, I always thought that it was only an apparent lean
forward, because your sense of verticalness was biased by being on a
slope. Consciously leaning forward helps me conquering steeper
upslopes, I recently found out.

See <www.xs4all.nl/~klaasbil/lean_uni.gif> which you can look at for
both uphill and downhill.

Klaas Bil

I posted only a single copy of this message.

Re: An uphill struggle

It’s taken me 6 months to conquer most of the hills in my
neighborhood, which are often 10-11% or so, and from 1/4
mile to 1 mile in length.

Unlike others, I don’t hold onto my seat, and am riding a
cheap Torker 24".

For long hills, you have to ride “sitting down” and push the
pedals all the way around. Practise going slower & slower
until you can get up the hill.

Good luck!

On Mon, 14 Oct 2002 13:57:34 -0500, Mikefule
<Mikefule.cj1qm@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote:
>OK, folks, so what am I doing wrong, if anything, and what is a
>reasonable goal?
>
>I can ride up reasonably steep smooth tarmac hills on most of my
>unicycles - including ones which would slow down some bicyclists. The
>other day, I rode up a rough track on my 24 with 110s which a few months
>ago I couldn’t have ridden down. Progress is being made.
>
>BUT there are loads of short hills I can ride down but can’t ride up.
>I’d expect some difference, because going down hill, you are allowing
>gravity to overcome your resistance to the pedals, but uphill, you are
>trying to overcome gravity. However, I really feel I should be able to
>ride up short but quite steep hills.
>
>I’ve tried relying on speed and momentum, but this only helps on smooth
>swoopy hills. I’ve tried ‘stepping’ up the hills, one stroke at a time,
>but stall disappointingly early. I’m not one for hopping - it’s not my
>style. I’d rather roll or walk.

It is really hilly here. No mountains, just lot’s of hills. I use 170mm cranks on 26’ Muni which seems to get up every road in my area. I usually only pull up on my seat if there is poor traction, which only happens off-road. On the road you can get up some pretty steep bits b/c you don’t have to worry about your wheel breaking loose on gravel. That said I like to put both hands on my saddle- helps me lean forward more and get more power into my lower body. Hope that helps.

Ken

P/s I haven’t been able to ride straight up Baldwin St on my MUni, and I doubt even the fittest unicyclist can do it. (?)Maybe with 170mm cranks on a 20’ Uni- might try it later this year.

Hill climbing

Re: An uphill struggle

“Mikefule” <Mikefule.cj1qm@timelimit.unicyclist.com> wrote in message
news:Mikefule.cj1qm@timelimit.unicyclist.com
> BUT there are loads of short hills I can ride down but can’t ride up.
> I’d expect some difference, because going down hill, you are allowing
> gravity to overcome your resistance to the pedals, but uphill, you are
> trying to overcome gravity. However, I really feel I should be able to
> ride up short but quite steep hills.
>
> I’ve tried relying on speed and momentum, but this only helps on smooth
> swoopy hills. I’ve tried ‘stepping’ up the hills, one stroke at a time,
> but stall disappointingly early. I’m not one for hopping - it’s not my
> style. I’d rather roll or walk.

At the BUC in may, I was okay at riding up hills, but not that good really,
by the BMW in september I was much better and I know exactly how I did
this and you’re going to hate it.

Firstly, the obvious thing which you’re already doing which is ride lots of
them and you’ll improve. Obviously try sitting down, pulling up on the
saddle handle and try as hard as possible to keep the pedals going smoothly
rather than pedal by pedal.

Secondly, the really big thing that improved my hill riding was learning to
hop. Now I now what you mean about hopping up hills, personally I only
bother trying that if there’s a big root and I’ve got the wrong foot
position for it. So keep on rolling up the hills. However, learning basic
hopping on the spot and some directional hopping is a very quick way to
improve your stillstand which is vital for the stepping up hills method.

The trick with powering up hills stroke by stroke is to do a really decent
stillstand in between each power stroke so that your balance is completely
sorted at the time you start each pedal stroke. If you can hop on the spot,
a couple of hops if you feel you’re losing it can help you get your balance
back enough to start powering up the hill again.

I found when I learnt to do a bit of hopping, my stillstand went from about
half a second or so, to being sometimes 5+ seconds, not as much as the good
trials people manage, but enough to vastly improve my normal uphill riding.

Joe