Newer cyclists assume that going up hills is all a matter of having good leg muscles. That helps — but technique and mental attitude play a big role. We’ve had many Floridians on trips, who were experienced cyclists but had never biked on hilly terrain. The first day, they had trouble on hills and were the last ones to reach the top. Within a few days, they were out in front. Their legs didn’t get that much stronger in a couple of days; their technique and approach changed. Here’s what they learned.
Use those gears! Switch to your lowest gears before you need them. If you’re spinning too fast, it’s easier to switch into a higher gear.
Adjust your weight properly. You want most of your weight on the back tire, to get traction, but you need to keep enough on the front to provide traction for steering. Experiment with different positions, to see what works for your body, your bike, and this incline. Many cyclists find that a semi-standing position, with their crotch just in front of the saddle and above the horizontal bar, works well.
Breathe! It’s natural to hold your breath during a tough stretch; but it’s self-defeating. Breathe deeply, exhale fully.
Look ahead! Watching each foot of road or trail as it passes below you is discouraging. Look at where you’re headed. This provides a psychological boost, and you’ll also steer better.