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What's the danger of cranking up hills on a really tall gears?

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What's the danger of cranking up hills on a really tall gears?

Old 08-21-19, 04:51 AM
  #76  
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Long Slow Distance

Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
If I did 6-8 weeks of LSD, I don't know how much I'd remember either...
Wondering when someone was going to pick up on that Long Slow Distance reference.... Ha Ha Ha



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Old 08-21-19, 05:22 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
If I did 6-8 weeks of LSD, I don't know how much I'd remember either...
I rode my PX-10 on LSD once, BITD, maybe 1972.
Up a canyon in Utah, no mere hill that, and I'll never forget it.
The descent was something else.
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Old 08-21-19, 08:56 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Yeah, it was sort of expected that you could climb anything with a 42x21 as lowest gear BITD (my day anyway). Cleated cycling shoes, light sew ups, and knowing how to climb out of the saddle were part of the equation.
In related news, Eddy Merckx walked up the Koppenberg once and the general pro reaction to the Muro di Sormano when it was briefly in Lombardy in the 60s was along the lines of "are you kidding me"
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Old 08-21-19, 03:28 PM
  #79  
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I will eventually sell the OP a triplizer, if I live long enough.
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Old 08-21-19, 04:20 PM
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Thanks for all the advice, personal anecdotes, humor, and drug references guys. Didn't think this would go 4 pages, and I even had a typo in the title.
For those wondering, I was definitely talking about standing and cranking, not sitting. I sit as long as I can, but if you saw some of the hills I ride, you'd have to be Robert Forstemann to climb them while seated with a 45-21. Yeah I pull up while pushing down, especially on the Trek. And there are definitely some hills I have to get off and walk on both the PX10 and Trek. On my Cannondale ST with a triple and 32 tooth rear they are doable while seated. There's actually a gravel hill over in Iowa (Yellow River valley) that I ride occasionally that is unclimbable even with a mountain bike. I've heard it said that it's the steepest road in all of Iowa and the Driftless region, it is an absolute wall, just walking up it with a bike wears your lungs and legs out. Wish I had a picture.

Last edited by MB33; 08-21-19 at 04:29 PM. Reason: wrong word
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Old 08-21-19, 07:51 PM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by MB33 View Post
Thanks for all the advice, personal anecdotes, humor, and drug references guys.
You're welcome.

To summarize:
Yes, riding big gears is fine, but be careful because you can damage your knees.
Do 2000+ miles in a 70" gear easy/spinning at the start of the year if you can.
If not, consider a tripleizer from Red Clover components to convert your PX10 (etc) to triple. See post above^^^.
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Old 08-22-19, 12:26 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Someday, it may turn out that cycling is actually good for the knees. I know it helps my back when I've injured it. Any kind of pain I feel from hard physical labor goes away when I do a ride. Really loosens me right up.
BING!

Me, too, best elixir there is for what ails you. No, I'm not kidding.

It has fixed my neck, my lower and mid back and even fixed my knee. Last summer, I spent far too much time on my knees in the kitchen and injured my left knee. It took a year to completely fix it (old age sucks) but it is 100% better. The hill climbing is what told me it was still recovering. I could monitor my recovery by gaging the pressure I could feel in the knee when climbing. At first, I was really worried. After just one or two rides, I could tell the riding was helping a lot. I got to 90% recovery really fast but that last little bit to get to back to a full 100% took many months (the rest of a year).
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Old 08-22-19, 04:50 AM
  #83  
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This is a nice thread for those to share their physical issues.
However, I don't think there's any danger at all, unless you already have an issue.

You may get tired. Your legs may give out or lactic acid freezes them temporarily.

You may fall over while clipped in. It's happened.

And then you have to descend safely.

There's nothing to blame but your decision to climb the hill.

All the other factors combine into life vs. your body as you know it.
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Old 08-23-19, 09:28 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
This is a nice thread for those to share their physical issues.
However, I don't think there's any danger at all, unless you already have an issue.

You may get tired. Your legs may give out or lactic acid freezes them temporarily.

You may fall over while clipped in. It's happened.

And then you have to descend safely.

There's nothing to blame but your decision to climb the hill.

All the other factors combine into life vs. your body as you know it.
The danger is ignoring the pain and creating an overuse injury, leading to chronic degeneration. Many have done it. I had an intern working for me a couple of years ago. After he graduated from college we offered him a full time position, he asked if he could postpone his start date for a couple of months so he could ride his bike from Canada to Mexico. About halfway to the Oregon border he quit due to knee issues. When I asked about it, it was clear he was cranking up hills on really tall gears. Three months of PT he seems to be healed, but I'm wondering how much long term damage he might have done that will come back when he gets older.

Whether you call it a danger or not is semantics. I'm thinking my ex-intern might say it is, but ymmv.
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Old 08-23-19, 10:04 AM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
BING!

Me, too, best elixir there is for what ails you. No, I'm not kidding.

It has fixed my neck, my lower and mid back and even fixed my knee. Last summer, I spent far too much time on my knees in the kitchen and injured my left knee. It took a year to completely fix it (old age sucks) but it is 100% better. The hill climbing is what told me it was still recovering. I could monitor my recovery by gaging the pressure I could feel in the knee when climbing. At first, I was really worried. After just one or two rides, I could tell the riding was helping a lot. I got to 90% recovery really fast but that last little bit to get to back to a full 100% took many months (the rest of a year).
+1

I've sometimes hurt myself from riding, but it's always and acute injury, and I know to back off from what I'm doing until I build up strength.

Bicycling is often the PT for knee injuries. I can still remember BITD working at an LBS in Berkeley, California when ex-Cal Bear linebacker Ron Rivera came in after his rookie season with the Chicago Bears to buy a bike "on doctor's orders". Oh, I remember he bought a Miyata 1000, so he obviously had good taste in bicycles...
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Old 08-23-19, 10:31 AM
  #86  
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Looking at a mechanical device, one could basically know or control to its stress or limits. But its not the same for the complicated human. The best of athletes have dropped dead while 'believing' are at their peak condition.

The beauty of our old road bikes is having many available components and simplicity of modification. Triple conversions to long cage adapters and derailleur hangers even for the renowned original Campy Record. Remind yourself, roads are far smoother than mountain bike trails so there's no real challenge on any road climb other than pedaling.

How you do it likely varies but 50 lbs touring setup bikes have and are designed to climb. We're mostly discussing old race lightweights, but nothing new here. Take from that and swap to your high zoot old racer.

If you're a grinder, have at it but rarely is one is going to call you out for a challenge. Personally, there's times I greatly enjoy the tall geared, even on climbs -other times, not so.

I thought about this thread during last night's ride while on an old bike with 20 gear inch low. Bring on the beastly climb- honestly easier than walking. Zero stress and I could slow my cadence to near resting heart rate.
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Old 08-23-19, 06:43 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by crank_addict View Post
......
I thought about this thread during last night's ride while on an old bike with 20 gear inch low. Bring on the beastly climb- honestly easier than walking. Zero stress and I could slow my cadence to near resting heart rate.
that reminds me of a road along the Illinois river bluffs that was often a part of my commute home from work. Lovely little road, but the bottom section was a bit over 14% and the camber was fairly severe at the bends. Not so bad on the upright commuter, but a handful on the recumbent when grinding up it at 3.5mph. For reference, the low gear on both bikes is somewhere around a 26 (front) x 30 (rear).

.... but... I wanted to agree with the observation that walking can be more work than pedaling. There were icy days on that hill when it just wasn't wise to ride up it, so I walked up. I think I was walking at the same speed I rode at, but it seemed like more work. The serenity from knowing that I wouldn't hit an icy patch and end up on my butt compensated for the extra work, though.

a token shot of the steep bit at the bottom of the hill:




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Old 08-23-19, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post

.... but... I wanted to agree with the observation that walking can be more work than pedaling. There were icy days on that hill when it just wasn't wise to ride up it, so I walked up. I think I was walking at the same speed I rode at, but it seemed like more work. The serenity from knowing that I wouldn't hit an icy patch and end up on my butt compensated for the extra work, though.
Yep, these bicycle contraptions on climbs are risky. Your icy story reminds me of a surprising little area near iab and mister Whitlatch's area. Asphalt bike path through dense woods, very tight radius curves, sequence of ravines with thrilling steep pitch of short climbs and descents, which one would think is a blast as a roller coaster ride. But the real excitement is flying along and not anticipating the greasy moss and thin algae growing on the asphalt. You cannot hold a bike to static stop, regardless of the best brakes and tire. I've drifted both front and rear through those woods, only using the rear brake to survive. I'll bet they've hauled a few out of there on stretcher.

And others have 'dangers' while climbing...

Competitors in the TdF have rabid and sometimes violent fans and the following link has coyote action. Lol
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Old 08-23-19, 07:48 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
BING!

Me, too, best elixir there is for what ails you. No, I'm not kidding.
Actually I agree as well. I've never had knee or back problems (knock on wood), and I really do think it comes from being a lifelong cyclist. I think it toughens up your tendons, makes your back stronger, etc.

The caution I expressed earlier is directed at racing cyclists, or anyone else who is attempting to attain peak fitness by training hard every day. If you jump straight into intervals, sprints, and big gear climbs, your muscles will get strong fast, but your knees not so much. So do your base miles... The modern notion that base miles are a waste of time is short sighted.
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Old 08-23-19, 09:57 PM
  #90  
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Lovely.

There are hundreds of threads about this.

Its quite comical that the OP never reappears to give more information, and everyone took the bait.
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Old 08-23-19, 10:37 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by SHBR View Post
Lovely.

There are hundreds of threads about this.

Its quite comical that the OP never reappears to give more information, and everyone took the bait.
It was a slow day at work
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Old 08-24-19, 08:22 AM
  #92  
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Itís a good thread. It doesnít matter that we talk about it all the time. Itís important.

I also think cycling in general has made my knees stronger, and mashing tall gears once in a while is part of that.

All that said, Iíve been real paranoid about hurting my knees, probably in no small part due to the many BF warnings about hurting your knees. But I donít remember any particular BF member ever sharing a real life ďI screwed up my knees mashing a tall gear and canít ride anymoreĒ story.

Honestly if it were a real concern, I probably would have blown my knees out by now.

I know now that OP was referring to standing climbing. Pertaining to mashing while seated, IME the saddle height and setback probably a big factor in whether or not youíre headed for injury, or at the very least discomfort.

I DO seem to get discomfort from too much mashing, manifest as tightness in my legs and back. For me itís mostly a matter of self discipline.
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Old 08-24-19, 09:13 AM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by SHBR View Post
Lovely.

There are hundreds of threads about this.

Its quite comical that the OP never reappears to give more information, and everyone took the bait.
You must have skipped post #80 . What the heck else do you want to know?
Been a member of this lovely forum for a little under 2 years and haven't seen a post about cranking up hills on tall gears yet. I think the subject is different than the standard spinning vs mashing debate. I see lots of mashers on my daily MUP commute and have yet to see one cranking at 20 rpm.

Last edited by MB33; 08-24-19 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 08-24-19, 10:06 AM
  #94  
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Ahhh, to have a copay of only $20 or to be able to go straight to PT without the whole cost coming out of my pocket. I could buy a pretty sweet bike every month for what I pay for health insurance.
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Old 08-24-19, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Spadoni View Post
Ahhh, to have a copay of only $20 or to be able to go straight to PT without the whole cost coming out of my pocket. I could buy a pretty sweet bike every month for what I pay for health insurance.
If you've got one of those HSA spending accounts, I think you can go directly to PT (at least on mine I can).
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Old 08-24-19, 02:23 PM
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Yeah, not an option for me. Don’t want to hijack this thread with a health care rant, but for anyone who has good health care through an employer, be it private or government, it’s worth way more than you think.
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Old 08-24-19, 06:07 PM
  #97  
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Even if it had been a troll post, and it wasn't, many of us are learning from each other here, so it's useful.
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Old 08-24-19, 08:13 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by MB33 View Post
I think the subject is different than the standard spinning vs mashing debate.
Fair enough.

If you say so, it must be true.

Ride a single speed up hills much?

I did as a kid on my BMX, I wouldn't recommend it.

Its great for strength training, eventually the knees become the weakest link.
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Old 08-24-19, 11:44 PM
  #99  
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I climb the hell out of every single hill i'm in with my GT Palomar 1998 made of heavy and sexy steel with 52 at the front and 14 at back and my knees are ok
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Old 08-25-19, 10:28 AM
  #100  
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Don't know where it fits...

... but I am curious about the bennies and (mechanical to the bike) dangers of aforementioned climbing in 3fd/1-2-3rd gearing to top hills and effectively just using the cassette as a temp measure.

I really have just two challenging hills on my commute. I approach them by attacking the downhill with speed, then moving through 3/9-8-7, 2/7-6-5-4 to maintain as much speed as possible. Would 3/9-8-7-6-5-4 be to my advantage? Long as it doesn't tear anything up, I'm game to try....
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