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It could be that I simply have too much time on my hands...
 defrog3 member offline
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posted 8/18/2008
at 10:48:10 AM
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But I have to ask this question, and I don't see it answered in any previous thread.

I'm a relatively new cyclist, and have finally decided to start training on hills, despite my weight (BMI=35). There are a few good inclines near my house, so I have started incorporating them into my rides. I want to figure out what sort of incline they are. I can't really judge by my ability to climb them, because I can huff and puff when I'm on a little baby hill at this point...

Simple answer would be to ask some of the guys from the LBS or clubs, but I'm not that involved in the community yet (I'm still rather slow (average 14-15 mph)and haven't joined any local group rides).

So, would the Pythagorean Theorem and then the Side Angle Side Rules get me what I need? Based on data from Mapmyride.com and my subsequent calculations, this 1.12 mile hill is only a 4% grade, which is somewhat depressing, b/c its rather killer for me (at this point, anyway!).

Thoughts? Suggestions? Do I just need to get a life??

 rwg member offline
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posted 8/18/2008
at 10:55:43 AM
post #1 viewed 649 times
It has something to do with number of feet climbed over the linear distance traveled, but I don't remember the exact math. But an easier way might be to get a bike computer that has an altitude function and a %grade function. It would be an approximation, but you would at least have an approximation.

Here's a link that seems to explain the math:

www.geocities.com/sidestreetluge/grade.html


Mod added spaces before and after the URL to clickify the link...
post edited on 8/18/2008 at 3:25:17 PM

 defrog3 member offline
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posted 8/18/2008
at 11:02:12 AM
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RWG, thanks--that link is interesting--so the angle isn't the incline, its the tangent that's used to describe the incline (which in his table means that my 4 degree angle is a 7% rise)...

I'm starting to feel better about my ability (or, still lack thereof)...


 TKofG member offline
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posted 8/18/2008
at 11:06:39 AM
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Over a mile at 4% is a respectable hill, no matter what your BMI, defrog3. It sounds like a pretty good start. Just remember, "it never gets easier, you just go faster."

 defrog3 member offline
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posted 8/18/2008
at 11:15:28 AM
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Just remember, "it never gets easier, you just go faster."
-- posted by sjtw69


Yeah, yikes, that's what I'm hearing. But I will get faster, as the gauntlet has been thrown: On this morning's ride (my second time on the hill), my husband said he had to wait for me for, "only 3 or 4 minutes," at the top. Grrrr, he now needs to watch out, because I'm coming!!

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posted 8/18/2008
at 11:19:16 AM
post #5 viewed 631 times
There was just (like just a week or two ago) a big 'ole thread on this exact subject. Maybe someone more technically inclined could link it?


defrog, I'm about the same place as you BMI-wise, so I know what you mean about *any* incline feeling like a hill!

Keep pedaling up them, and they'll eventually get easier!

My "hill" that I can't avoid on my commute, that at first I thought was a mini-mountain, turns out to be a 3% grade and not quite a mile long. The first year I did good to hold 10 mph going up it... I held 14.5 last week.

Only recently, after a couple of seasons of riding it, has it finally gotten to where it *usually* feels like a bump in the road, and I no longer find myself dreading it, and instead look forward to the challenge.

I still remember watching the Tour of Missouri last year, and seeing those guys fly past me going up a minimum 5-6% grade at probably close to 30 mph for the 4-lap crit portion of the race (after riding 110 miles to get there)... I didn't know whether to be inspired or just toss my bike in the nearest dumpster, lol.

Who was is, Coppi?, who said... "Even the great riders suffer in the mountains, they just don't suffer as long." (or something very much like that...)


 rwg member offline
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posted 8/18/2008
at 11:39:08 AM
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It's amazing how quickly hills that seem to be complete killers can turn into the training portion of your daily ride. For me, they went from dreaded obstacles to milestones on the commute to "stand up and pound up them as the training part of the ride."

Keep climbing your hill, defrog3. When you can, stand up on your pedals and beat it down. You will be going faster in no time.

JDRagsdale, I don't really know how much a 3% grade is (we don't have anything that resembles flat for long, so I typically just ride up whatever it is, albeit slowly), but holding 14.5 up hill seems like a pretty big accomplishment to me. I know that if I can manage to hold 14.5 up the hills I am currently holding 10 or 8 on, I will be thrilled.

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posted 8/18/2008
at 12:00:35 PM
post #7 viewed 609 times
The thread was Degrees vs percent



Moderator: Repaired link to prevent some browsers from going to the site sign-in page instead of the thread.
post edited on 8/18/2008 at 11:59:25 AM

 maschwab member offline
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posted 8/18/2008
at 12:08:43 PM
post #8 viewed 599 times
www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&safe=active&q=bicycle+inclinometer&btnG=Search
www.chainreaction.com/inclinometer.htm

 ouibike member offline
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posted 8/18/2008
at 12:15:49 PM
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These work pretty well if you insist on putting quantitative measurements on your fun circlecitybicycles.com/inclin.htm

and take the guesswork out. The bubble is in some sort of oil, so doesn't bounce much. Doesn't work so well if you stand as your view angle changes.
post edited on 8/18/2008 at 12:11:05 PM

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posted 8/18/2008
at 12:23:58 PM
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I have one of those inclinometers that maschwab links to, and I love it! If you get one, bear in mind that they have two sizes -- one for standard handlebars, and one for wider diameter handlebars.

Yesterday, Deadhead and I were on a training ride where we averaged about 23 mph for 25 miles (yeah, we were suffering -- but it was good suffering and shared suffering.) As we were approaching a half-mile-long hill at 26 mph, I asked Deadhead if we were going to climb it at 26 mph. He said it wasn't as bad as it looked. I said it couldn't POSSIBLY be as bad as it looked! He was right -- it was ONLY 4%, as my inclinometer said... and we slowed our painful pace to 23 mph. OUCH!! Deadhead's become a real sadistic climbing fiend/friend, and we have a lot of fun together. But it's been the result of years of extensive overexertion on both our parts. Make it hurt now and you'll reap the very gratifying results soon enough.
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