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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So i've been riding for about a month now. I ride my local trail on my hardtail bike. I've been improving on my fitness, but i have troubles on steep climbs. On this climb, it appears to be loose with a different types of rocks. At times, i loose my momentum and is forced to dismount.

My question is, what is the best way to get back on the bike when you're already on a steep incline. The trail is very loose with rocks (Boulder Loop @ Daley Ranch, northern San Diego).

I would appreciate any kind of tips/tricks. Thanks.
 

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R.I.P. DogFriend
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If I think I might be able get started again, I have a couple choices depending on the situation.

If I can find a rock or if the trail traverses somewhat across the face of the hill, I try to find a place where I can get onto the saddle and still have a foot on a rock or on the uphill side of the trail. On the opposite side of the foot that is down on the rock or uphill side of the trail, I rotate the crankarm just forward of straight up and simply start (smoothly) pedaling up the hill.

Sometimes I can reduce the steepness of the hill by starting at an angle across the face of the trail if it's wide enough to get corrected as I get started.

If there is no place to get a foot onto something elevated from the trail surface it is going to be a little trickier to get started. As I am straddling the bike, I rotate the crank so it is straight up and down and put one foot on the downward pedal. I get up on my tiptoe and try to get a little bit up onto the front of the saddle (as far as I can) and still have my toes of one foot on the ground. Now, I have to have good balance and timing as I push the bike forward, then quickly lift my down foot onto the other pedal and try to get onto the front of the saddle all in one smooth motion.

Once I get going, I can adjust my position on the saddle. It's all a sort of balancing act, but it gets better with practice.

Like mentioned above, if it's simply too steep, you will have to get to a flatter spot to get going again.
 

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As already stated, it's better to do what you can to keep going and not stop or to get off and push. But if you do all that and still have to stop anyway for whatever reason and you really insist on getting back on then maybe I can help, I'm stubborn like that too. Anyway, this is what works for me. Others may have advice that might suit your style better.

1. Grab and hold the brakes.

2. Rotate the crank for your strongest leg just behind vertical or 3/4 back from the front, level position. You get more power if you push across the top and then down with your pedals.

4. Put your foot on the pedal, release the brakes, and push the pedal across the top and down and around while at the same time putting your other foot on it's pedal and start cranking with it, pushing it across the top too. (Don't be afraid to grab brake if things start to go wrong. It's not too late to walk. If you do, be sure and grab both brakes and lean forward so you don't flip over backwards.) Quickly put your butt on the seat, lean forward and pull toward you and down on the handlebar. You want your butt to push the rear wheel into the ground for traction and your upper body to push the front wheel into the ground for steering control. Pulling the bar towards your feet while bracing against the seat also seems to increase cranking leverage for that push across the top of the pedal stroke, giving it even more power.

If it's really steep you may end up with the nose of your seat in a rather awkward and embarassing place. Whatever, you were warned that it's better to not stop or get off and push it the rest of the way, weren't you??? :p
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Run!

Seriously, though, if I lose momentum on a steep climb, I usually either run to the top or try again from the bottom - depends on whether I'm riding by myself, in which case I've been trying to repeat things if I don't clear them, or riding with other people. Sometimes I do a running remount a la cyclocross, but that can be difficult on anything steep, and it's yet another skill that takes practice before attempting on the trail.
 

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Bicyclochondriac.
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jeffj said:
If I think I might be able get started again, I have a couple choices depending on the situation.

If I can find a rock or if the trail traverses somewhat across the face of the hill, I try to find a place where I can get onto the saddle and still have a foot on a rock or on the uphill side of the trail. On the opposite side of the foot that is down on the rock or uphill side of the trail, I rotate the crankarm just forward of straight up and simply start (smoothly) pedaling up the hill.

Sometimes I can reduce the steepness of the hill by starting at an angle across the face of the trail if it's wide enough to get corrected as I get started.

If there is no place to get a foot onto something elevated from the trail surface it is going to be a little trickier to get started. As I am straddling the bike, I rotate the crank so it is straight up and down and put one foot on the downward pedal. I get up on my tiptoe and try to get a little bit up onto the front of the saddle (as far as I can) and still have my toes of one foot on the ground. Now, I have to have good balance and timing as I push the bike forward, then quickly lift my down foot onto the other pedal and try to get onto the front of the saddle all in one smooth motion.

Once I get going, I can adjust my position on the saddle. It's all a sort of balancing act, but it gets better with practice.

Like mentioned above, if it's simply too steep, you will have to get to a flatter spot to get going again.
This covers almost anything I would have said, and a bit more.:thumbsup:

The one thing I would add is that I find it helps to put the bike in a higher gear than you might think you need to get started. The reason is that if you are in too low a gear, that first pedal stroke that you set up for is done really fast, and you hardly have any time to get the other foot in place and continue pedaling, and in addition, you have very little momentum built up to cover the delay. So, even if you were in you lowest gear before you stopped, you might want to try being a gear or two higher when you re-start.

Of course, if you do this it is CRITICAL that you get the gear changed BEFORE you start out again! Shift the gear, lift the rear of the bike (whell off the ground) and turn the cranks till it is done shifting. THEN start up the hill.
 

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Unless you are riding new trails all the time this problem will naturally become non-issue in no time. After several tries you will learn what gear you have to be in to make it to the top of the hill . Also, as your body adapts to riding and climbing, you will find that you can start using a higher gear and still clear the hill.

If you are gassing on the way up the hill and you feel you used the proper gear then just start trying to go 25-50 feet further than you did your last try. Eventually you'll be zipping to the top with no stops and wondering why it seemed so hard just a few short months ago.
 
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