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The science of climbing


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This old guy explains it in more detail than I need but I find him interesting. Some of his dirt roads are worse than mine. With me when I got my new gravel touring bike I expected it to be geared low. It wasn’t, I didn’t calculate how many gear inches I needed I just shopped for a compatible cassette with the biggest sprocket my derailleur could handle (it was stamped on the derailleur max 40 tooth). Watch this old sucker climb with a fully loaded touring bike. In case you didn’t catch it he is 76 years old.


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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/19/2021 at 12:57 PM, Mr Beanz said:

I have to say,  having easier gears might make climbing climbing easier but never as easy on a mountain climb as the flats.  The same effort on the flats and climbs, one will go faster.  So I don't see it being just as easy. Never.


I think he is saying if you gear down to where you are pushing the same watts as you would on the flats it’s just as easy. You won’t get the same amount of breeze to cool you off though. It’s also embarrassing if you get passed by somebody walking their bike up the hill. Lol. I was coaching a girl that didn’t know how to use her gears  and she kept getting off her bike and walking the hills. She said the hills are too hard she can’t ride up them. I looked at her cassette and the chain was about in the middle. I told her she has to use her gears. I was pedaling beside her as she was pushing her bike up the hill. I ask her who is working harder right now you or me? By the end of the ride she wasn’t walking any hills.

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On 1/7/2022 at 10:45 PM, Longjohn said:

I think he is saying if you gear down to where you are pushing the same watts as you would on the flats it’s just as easy.

Pretty much you go as fast as your power output allows, and on flat, 200 watts gets you 20mph, but on a 10% climb, it's maybe 7mph.  But it is the same power - ie work or effort.  I prefer to climb, but in my head, it is also easier to go harder on an incline, so whereas on a flat or downhill, I might be rolling at 170W (still a nice pace), it is not until the road tips up a bit that my power creeps up past 200.  And into a steep climb, way higher still.  IOW, I am lazy on the flats and descents, and hard working on the climbs.  So, climbs ARE harder, but mainly because I am lazy in other terrain.  If I was consistent and not lazy? it really would come down to just having the optimal gearing. 

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