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Help, I am climbing nowhere

Jun 23, 2017
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During a race it started to rain quite heavily. As I was climbing a hill the angle got steeper. It got too hard to push the 39 x 23 so I got out of the saddle. Suddenly my back wheel started slipping, and was not getting anywhere, so I had to dismount or fall over. Other riders were experiencing the same, but were able to sustain some forward motion. I picked up my bike and ran up the hill passed the steep bit, and passed others while doing so. Then got back on the bike and continued.

My question is, what do you think I should have done to get more traction on the back wheel?
 
Get more weight over it - if you can't sit then push your hips further back when standing. Or, simply use more sensible gearing (who uses a 39-23 for riding hills these days?!). Then you won't need as much torque and so the wheel will be less likely to slip.
 
Jun 23, 2017
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DFA123 said:
Get more weight over it - if you can't sit then push your hips further back when standing. Or, simply use more sensible gearing (who uses a 39-23 for riding hills these days?!). Then you won't need as much torque and so the wheel will be less likely to slip.
Thank you DFA123. I will try pushing my weight more over the rear wheel when standing. I've always used 39 x 23, but what you have suggested is the same as the local bike shop mechanic said previously. He wants me to use a 39 x 25. So I'll get that changed too.
 
Nov 25, 2010
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DFA123 said:
...
Then you won't need as much torque and so the wheel will be less likely to slip.
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Just a minor thought about the torque -
Using a lower gear can reduce the torque needed to turn the cranks and that can allow you to stay seated (with more weight over the rear wheel), but it won't change the torque on the rear wheel.

And I agree about having lower gearing for steep hills.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Jun 23, 2017
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Thanks you Jspear, and JayKosta for the insight. With resistance, I am getting the 23 replaced with a 25 and see how that will perform for me.

To tell you the truth, there is a niggling thought that I may start to use bigger sockets and use them more often than necessary. I think that when I am stuck with a gear, which cannot be compromised, it makes me stronger in the long run. But then again, I don't want to be slipping on a wet hill.
 
Re:

Bull said:
Thanks you Jspear, and JayKosta for the insight. With resistance, I am getting the 23 replaced with a 25 and see how that will perform for me.

To tell you the truth, there is a niggling thought that I may start to use bigger sockets and use them more often than necessary. I think that when I am stuck with a gear, which cannot be compromised, it makes me stronger in the long run. But then again, I don't want to be slipping on a wet hill.
There's 28 as well. 11-28.
 
Re: Re:

Jspear said:
Bull said:
Thanks you Jspear, and JayKosta for the insight. With resistance, I am getting the 23 replaced with a 25 and see how that will perform for me.

To tell you the truth, there is a niggling thought that I may start to use bigger sockets and use them more often than necessary. I think that when I am stuck with a gear, which cannot be compromised, it makes me stronger in the long run. But then again, I don't want to be slipping on a wet hill.
There's 28 as well. 11-28.
aye but still pushing 39 inner tooth front ring...screw that...you cant do a 39 on real hills unless you are a pro
 
Jun 23, 2017
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rick james said:
aye but still pushing 39 inner tooth front ring...screw that...you cant do a 39 on real hills unless you are a pro
Not a pro. Just an old guy.
There is no hills in my area more than 14%, and I can handle that okay, but not fast.
The hill I was talking about in OP was out of my area, short but steep, and over 14%.
 
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Bull said:
rick james said:
aye but still pushing 39 inner tooth front ring...screw that...you cant do a 39 on real hills unless you are a pro
Not a pro. Just an old guy.
There is no hills in my area more than 14%, and I can handle that okay, but not fast.
The hill I was talking about in OP was out of my area, short but steep, and over 14%.
Climbing a 14% hill in a 39x23 at a low cadence of around 60, requires a power of around 6w/kg. So I'm guessing that, unless Lance has joined the forum, that these hills are extremely short. In which case, maybe just increase your speed going into them and put in a shor but hard anaerobic effort to crest them.
 
Jun 23, 2017
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DFA123 said:
Climbing a 14% hill in a 39x23 at a low cadence of around 60, requires a power of around 6w/kg. So I'm guessing that, unless Lance has joined the forum, that these hills are extremely short. In which case, maybe just increase your speed going into them and put in a shor(t) but hard anaerobic effort to crest them.
Thanks DFA123 for the tip. I will give that advise a go. And yes, those 14% sections of the hill is short.
 
If its wet I wouldn't stand on anything over 15%. Particularly since I'm fairly heavy for a cyclist.

But since it hasn't been mentioned: try to pick your line; search out for the smoothest looking asphalt. And lower your tyre pressures a bit if you expect rain.
 
Nov 25, 2010
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Getting back to the rear wheel slipping ...
It really doesn't matter what gearing you use to turn the wheel - if there isn't enough weight on the wheel it will slip.
Staying seated keeps more weight on the rear, but if you must stand - try to keep as much body weight rearward as possible. And lower tire pressure and wider tires would help.

About training and 'pushing big gears' - that can work for some people, but it also puts a lot of strain and wear on the knees. Remember that you can't 'injure yourself into shape'.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
 
Jun 23, 2017
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carton said:
If its wet I wouldn't stand on anything over 15%. ...try to pick your line; search out for the smoothest looking asphalt. And lower your tyre pressures a bit if you expect rain.
JayKosta said:
...Staying seated keeps more weight on the rear, but if you must stand - try to keep as much body weight rearward as possible. And lower tire pressure and wider tires would help.
About training and 'pushing big gears' - that can work for some people, but it also puts a lot of strain and wear on the knees. Remember that you can't 'injure yourself into shape'.
Alex Simmons/RST said:
Could also try lowering your tyre's air pressure on wet days, or use tyres that provide a larger contact patch. But yeah, slipping sucks.
Thank you for those good points to remember for a wet hilly day:
  1. Lower tyre pressure say from 120 to 90 psi.
  2. Try and ride on smooth surface for more contact with road surface.
  3. Always keep weight over rear wheel sitting or standing (push hip back).
  4. Watch out for 15% plus gradients. Best to use a gear that allows me to still ride sitting.
  5. Train hard but not injure self.
With point (3), I can now remember once lifting the front wheel. I guess I was sitting too far back. I resorted to zigzagging across the road :eek: .
Point (4) really tells me to have a spare wheel with sprockets suited more for hills. What do you think?
Point (5) reminds me of an interview with an Olympian who said that the only reason she won the event was because she but had less injuries, though she trained just as hard as her opponent.
 
Mar 29, 2017
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My friend and I did a super steep hills ride about 2 years ago, and one of the hills (dont know the grade) was the steepest I've ever seen - anywhere. We were riding on what I call 'sport gearing' on our road bikes - not racing, not touring, kind of in between. Anyway we saw nobody get up the hill, including us. I could actually feel my crankarms flexing and was a afraid I'd break one, or maybe the chain. And my friend broke several spokes on his rear wheel trying to climb up it. Everyone walked it in the end, and there were some strong riders there. I dont know if we'd have made it up if we'd had a granny gear but I've come to the conclusion that if your rear wheel is spinning, it's probably too steep to climb on a bike.

Editing to add: yes, I know this is an old thread, lol.
 

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