Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Hills/Weight/E-Bike?

shewyshewy Posts: 62
So the short of it is I hate hills, when it goes up I struggle and often get off and push, I can maintain it for a minute or two but after that no chance. We're talking 10% gradients plus.
So being a bit round prob could do with losing 2/3 stone, will it make a big change or do I bite the bullet and go e-bike?
Mid 40's and more a social cyclist.

Posts

  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 4,184
    What do you want as an outcome?

    Lose weight and improved fitness or just getting out on the bike?

    The former, stay off the hills, keep to flat ish rides, do multiple rides every week of an hour or so and build up duration and then the quantity of rides . You’ll need to watch your food and alcohol intake, you’ll be surprised how your fitness improves with the added benefit of less weight to carry. Both of these aspects will provide a sea change in what you can climb.

    If you just want the wind in your face and a e bike enables you to do this, that’s cool too.

    The only criteria that counts is your personal enjoyment and satisfaction.
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • shewyshewy Posts: 62
    I'd like to be able to get up the hills, my rides are around 2 hrs and I avoid them, living in South Wales that's not easy.
    I've avoided going out with clubs due to the embarrassment of having to stop on the hills.
  • PhilipPirripPhilipPirrip Posts: 616
    I'm a huge fan of ebikes and get panned for it here but wouldn't go back.

    My resting pulse and BP are great but I'm a bit overweight due to meds. The ebike just retains that sense of fun and keeps me enthused when I could easily give up.

    The good thing about having an ebike is I'm still active and once the meds and treatment have been sorted I'll be back pushing myself on the road.
  • OnTheRopesOnTheRopes Posts: 460
    shewy wrote:
    I'd like to be able to get up the hills, my rides are around 2 hrs and I avoid them, living in South Wales that's not easy.
    I've avoided going out with clubs due to the embarrassment of having to stop on the hills.

    Its not a quick fix, I would add to what slowmart said, try doing at least 4 rides a week, as well as duration your intensity needs to be right, you should be working fairly hard riding at a steady pace that you can complete the ride at, this endurance pace has been called the gossip threshold which means if you were in company you could (just) maintain a conversation. Some of these rides can be shorter (an hour or so) and you can increase intensity a little.
    You also need to watch your calorie intake.
    Ride like this for a month then increase endurance a little, after a couple of months start introducing some hills
    Expect it to take 6 months or more of continuous work.
    When I have had a long lay off it takes me at least 5 months to get to a good weight and fitness level.
  • PhilipPirripPhilipPirrip Posts: 616
    shewy wrote:
    I'd like to be able to get up the hills, my rides are around 2 hrs and I avoid them, living in South Wales that's not easy.
    I've avoided going out with clubs due to the embarrassment of having to stop on the hills.
    Cycling doesn't have to be hard work. Cycling should be about enjoyment and fun, putting smiles before miles.

    I've worked with people recovering from cancer, with altzheimers and with mental health issues. They saw their lives as worthless but put them on on ebike and their eyes light up as they recapture their youth, the freedom and sense of achievement cycling can give them.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Entirely up to you. Train properly and you'll be able to ride the hills. I'm sure there's lots of people your age and size riding the hills because they've done the work.

    Or get the ebike and maybe that will encourage you to ride more. I'm sure you'll need to spend longer to get the fitness benefits though.
  • brandy234brandy234 Posts: 8
    What's the gearing like on your bike?

    If you're not able to keep turning the pedals over at a reasonable cadence and blow up on steeper hills, then maybe your gearing just isn't low enough.

    You might be able to change your cassette to give you a few more teeth in the easiest gear. This could be enough to spin comfortably (albeit slower) up those steeper gradients.

    If you don't have a compact crank (34-50) then that's something I would look at. A standard crank (39-53) is going to be very difficult up 10%+ gradients for nearly any cyclist.

    Losing some weight will definitely help, as will training up hills. If you can, find an easier gradient that you know you can get up (but is still challenging) and start doing repeats. It won't be long before your fitness and strength improve and the bigger hills become less challenging.
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    When I started back cycling a few years ago I was overweight and unfit. Anything resembling a hill would do me in. However I kept at it, picking longer and lumpier rides over the weeks, months, years and now there are ‘hills’ that I used to dread that I now barely notice. I also go looking for climbs and have taken on a few of the ‘top 100’ list. I am not a serious cyclist, going out 2-3 times a week and usually doing 15-25 miles. I have done longer rides but only on special occasions. I started out exclusively on a MTB, then added a road bike and now also have a gravel bike.

    If you want to take on the hills, take on the hills. If you just want to get out and the hills are stopping you, go e-bike.
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    How about both?

    You say you're embarrassed to go on club rides because of the hills - but does that mean you don't ride? or don't ride as far? It can be difficult to get the motivation when you're solo all the time.

    You're only going to get fitter by riding - so if an ebike helps you get out and ride then why not get one. You still have to put effort in - just get a bit of assistance too. Of course, the club may not like it - so it may be best to check with them before you turn up on an ebike and expect to be "one of them".
    Club rides are NOT TRAINING RIDES, they're social rides (generally speaking) - you shouldn't be on your limit when you go for a club ride.

    Keep the normal bike too - use it for training rides - ones where you push yourself. Do intervals - get fitter and you'll find you need the ebike's assistance less and less...
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Bit like Figbat really. I returned to road cycling aged 50 and suddenly realised how unfit I'd become. Hills, even small ones, would absolutely kill me. So I'd plan my rides to avoid them, but gradually increased distance and built up the time on the bike. Then a photo of me in lycra triggered a second realisation; in spite of the exercise I'd somehow become a fat little fcucker!
    Cue my discovery of the 5:2 diet and losing 18 pounds. The combination of steadily improving cycling fitness and lower bodyweight meant that I was starting to find hills easier. I'd use them as interval training by pushing as hard as I could and recovering on the way down. I was actually choosing routes with more hills in them! I'm just about 62 now and probably the fittest I've been since my 20s.
    The other thing I've been doing as I get older is fitting lower gearing to make spinning up the hills a bit easier on the knees, and I suspect that at some point in the future I'll be getting an e-bike.

    TLDR:

    Diet for weight loss, exercise for fitness, both even better.
    Fit lower gears if it will help
    If an e-bike means you'll cycle more, get an e-bike
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,874
    The steeper hills get, the bigger influence power/weight becomes.

    If your current gearing doesn't give you an easy enough gear to get up the hills at a cadence you're comfortable at, typically ~85rpm+ for most but perhaps lower for shorter steep inclines, look at changing your cassette range and/or chainrings.

    I've been using 34/28 and 34/32 gearing far more this year, having lost some cycling fitness and having gained ~4Kg compared to last summer. This time two years ago I was ~9Kg lighter, but I was very new to climbing cat4 hills and cycling for fitness in general (~2/7 months respectively).

    Chasing PBs can be great motivation to get out there and get climbing, but as I've found this summer, getting out there knowing I'm in no position to challenge my PBs has sent me into a bit of a negative spiral... I need to focus more on simply enjoying being out in the hills in fresh air and countryside.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Chasing PBs can be great motivation to get out there and get climbing, but as I've found this summer, getting out there knowing I'm in no position to challenge my PBs has sent me into a bit of a negative spiral... I need to focus more on simply enjoying being out in the hills in fresh air and countryside.

    Just leave the Garmin at home and go for a bike ride. It's an oddly liberating experience.
  • shewyshewy Posts: 62
    50 34 and 11-32 gearing, cheers all may look at diet and hillwork before deciding
Sign In or Register to comment.