new cyclist here. I've recently started riding and have worked my way up to a 50K in 2 hours 24 minutes, averaging 21 km/h. I noticed that I really wasn't able to carry my speed through climbs and would like to know how to improve. On flat ground I can go 23-24 km/h but am usually going at a slow jog type pace on any type of hill. Thanks for the help.

  • 1
    I'm sure we've had almost exactly this question before, with some good answers. I'll try to find it for you. In essence, you will slow down, reducing the amount you slow down takes practice, and setting goals on a regular hill helps a lot
    – Chris H
    Jul 12, 2018 at 6:31
  • There is no magic way to climb faster - only getting fitter or weighing less.
    – Andy P
    Jul 12, 2018 at 8:10
  • A case for rule #5 velominati.com/the-rules/#5 ;-)
    – Carel
    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:49
  • Weigh less, whether its you or the bike. Good weather and a tail wind help, as does riding with a faster group. Partake in a race up the hill.
    – Criggie
    Jul 12, 2018 at 19:58

3 Answers 3



I moved to hilly area a few years ago: I now climb hills by standing on the pedals in a medium gear. I used to climb hills sitting down and "spinning" n the lowest gear, and sometimes stopping half way up to catch my breath.

I used to stand on the pedals for a few strokes before getting exhausted.

Now I can do it (stand on the pedals) for about 100 breaths (long enough to climb a steep little hill).

I deliberately practice on hilly routes. I've never practised only going up and down a hill repeatedly because I fancy that would be boring, but I also avoid sticking to the flattest routes because I'm lazy.

It takes me 20 minutes of riding to warm up, fortunately I start at the top of a hill so the up-hill is after I've warmed up. My most regular ride down to the river, and half an hour along the (flat river), and then home via half an hour of hilly route (ups and downs, slightly more up than down).

It took me quite a bit of practice, if you're younger than me I guess you'd need less.


Like mentioned before take it slow and work up to a steady cadence. I try to keep my cadence uniform and not concentrate so much on speed. That being said, I really drive through the watts when climbing to keep cadence up. Meaning I tend to wait longer until I switch to a higher gear ( easier pedaling but slower progression) and sometimes with shift down while maintaining cadence speed to really make the legs burn while training.
Summary: when I focus on cadence I am not as concerned with how slow I am going and push myself to try lower gears on familiar hills.
Remember to use front gears. It’s important to find that sweet spot/gear for every condition and grade! Hope this helps. My first question answered do I could be way off.


In the end climbing is all about watts per kilogram. Increasing strength endurance while reducing body fat as well as bicycle weight will help. A proper seating position can improve your power output (watts) and help with breathing. For steep climbs you can go out of the saddle which takes some training to do properly and efficiently.

Make sure you don’t start too fast (i.e. choose easy enough gears). A heart rate monitor or – if you have the money – a power meter can help you pace yourself.

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