I am 77 years old and newly come to riding a road bike. In the better weather I do between 75 and 100 miles per week, consisting mainly of fairly easy roads with four or five reasonable hills, depending on length of rides. I do routes of 17 miles, 23 miles and a Sunday ride of 40 miles.

I average speeds of about 14 miles per hour and can get up all the hills but fairly slowly, I have trouble standing up to rest or get a boost in climbing. I do stretching and power exercises and three lots of HIT on an exercise bike each week. I cope with my mileage OK but would like to improve my hill climbing.

  • 1
    One thing I have found that helps me push my pace is riding with a stronger rider. You don't need to keep up with a 25 year old triathlete just someone who rides harder than your usual pace.
    – mikes
    Dec 29, 2017 at 18:30
  • Maybe do some squats on off days
    – paparazzo
    Dec 29, 2017 at 18:55
  • I suspect you are already fitter than most people half your age. :) I think you can pretty much follow standard training patterns, just keep it up and you will improve, maybe progress will be slower than for a 20 year old, but still, progress.
    – Nobody
    Dec 29, 2017 at 21:32
  • 1
    Agreeing with @Nobody here. You're already doing better than I am, and I'm 52.
    – EvilSnack
    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:33

5 Answers 5


You are already doing quite a bit of training.

What might help is training on hills specifically, or when on the trainer, raising your front wheel to simulate being on an incline.


One thing I found useful was to track my progress over time. I run Strava on a smartphone, and it records my ride and how I did at any given point.

This lets me compare my earlier trips with later ones. Here's an example of a fairly strenuous climb:

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This shows my first efforts were above 45 minutes and approached an hour. My best effort so far is under 24 minutes. I find this to be a good motivator.

The downside of strava is that it defaults to showing you everyone's efforts, and it can be disheartening to see your effort as #997 of 1000 attempts. So the trick is to change the options to display "my efforts first" or similar.

I also map my rides using http://www.jonathanokeeffe.com/strava/map.php to combine my year's ride. That shows where I have ridden, and what roads I have missed this year.

This helps by showing roads I haven't used, so are candidates for the next big route.

  • Who or why the downvote??
    – RoboKaren
    Jan 2, 2018 at 21:50
  • 1
    @RoboKaren guessing that someone dislikes strava. Which is fair enough - there's nothing stopping you using pen and paper and stopwatch to record info, but it gets tedious fast. Or quill, inkwell, papyrus and an hourglass :-)
    – Criggie
    Jan 3, 2018 at 1:14

First, good on ya. I'm 50, and I got back into cycling 9 years ago. I still remember my first Club Ride in 2012. It was about 12 miles, and I thought I would die.

Today, I bike commute mostly year round, 5 miles each way, I do Club Rides of upwards of 60 miles, and I've done two Century Rides.

Look around for a Bike Club near you and consider joining. I find that riding with others is a great way to push myself more. As my Ride Leader says, the secret to hills is riding more hills.


Trivial, but nevertheless, as bodyweight range is not supplied: For an optimal hill performance, strive to keep (body)weight suitably low. Light riders clearly favor standing up more than the heavier.

Standing up is (as anything else) a matter of specific training, and by time then, the ability of continous standing up will increase. Note that the cadence standing up usually must be lower than when seated.

One can relieve the legs by leaning the hands quite heavily on the handlebar/grip when standing, transferring the weight a bit forward and thereby letting the arms carry part of the bodyweight; also useful in the learning period. When boosting, lean less on the handlebars by shifting the weight to the rear, if required. For the ultimate relaxed, yet efficient style out of the saddle, do not lean too heavily on the hands and arms, though. Also, practice standing when down in the drops, for a short boost.

There is no mention of group riding; if that be the case, try to spare yourself on the preceding flat (strategical drafting) to have more ressources left for the hill.


I would suggest that you also ask your cardiologist, how hard you can train, it is a good thing to do as I also did as I am 63 years old. His advice for me is "train as long as you like but keep your heartrate low".

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