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What uses more energy, climb up a hill fast or climb slow??

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What uses more energy, climb up a hill fast or climb slow??

Old 07-18-22, 05:36 AM
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koala logs
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What uses more energy, climb up a hill fast or climb slow??

Note we're discussing energy, NOT power. Joules vs Watts

And for the sake of simplicity, we'll ignore aero drag, ignore rolling resistance and all other sources of friction on the bike including losses due to cycling technique. Thanks.

I've been thinking lately if climbing slowly isn't doing me any favor in long rides especially when I'm trying to be home before the sun is straight up and before temperatures climbed to 100F.

Last edited by koala logs; 07-18-22 at 05:39 AM.
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Old 07-18-22, 05:47 AM
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Old 07-18-22, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
Note we're discussing energy, NOT power. Joules vs Watts

And for the sake of simplicity, we'll ignore aero drag, ignore rolling resistance and all other sources of friction on the bike including losses due to cycling technique. Thanks.

I've been thinking lately if climbing slowly isn't doing me any favor in long rides especially when I'm trying to be home before the sun is straight up and before temperatures climbed to 100F.
Play with this calculator. Seems to suggest that higher efforts, despite shortening the time significantly, use overall more kilojoules.
Bike Calculator
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Old 07-18-22, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
Play with this calculator. Seems to suggest that higher efforts, despite shortening the time significantly, use overall more kilojoules.
Bike Calculator
My browser is denying me access to that link, it said, "unsecure".

How much difference are we talking about. Say, comparing a climbing speed between 6 mph and 12 mph up a 5% gradient?

Last edited by koala logs; 07-18-22 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 07-18-22, 06:40 AM
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If you read your original question the temperature is a major issue, and there is a constant energy spent just to stay cool. Also going faster will in fact make it easier to stay cool, a couple mph of wind on a hill is still better than standing still. So my guess is that in your 100F heat a reasonably fast pace could be better than a slow pace just due to energy for cooling issues.

If the temperature was something non-hot things would be pretty close and probably some experiments would need to be done to see which factor dominates. There is a constant power needed to "run" the body just sitting on the bike, the efficiency of the human energy system at different levels of exertion is surely non-linear, it takes more effort to stay balanced on the bike when going slower, etc etc etc.
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Old 07-18-22, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith View Post
If you read your original question the temperature is a major issue, and there is a constant energy spent just to stay cool. Also going faster will in fact make it easier to stay cool, a couple mph of wind on a hill is still better than standing still. So my guess is that in your 100F heat a reasonably fast pace could be better than a slow pace just due to energy for cooling issues.

If the temperature was something non-hot things would be pretty close and probably some experiments would need to be done to see which factor dominates. There is a constant power needed to "run" the body just sitting on the bike, the efficiency of the human energy system at different levels of exertion is surely non-linear, it takes more effort to stay balanced on the bike when going slower, etc etc etc.
Looks like there are more items in favor of going faster.
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Old 07-18-22, 07:12 AM
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African or European hill?
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Old 07-18-22, 07:33 AM
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If you ignore all types of friction and resistance, in ideal conditions, they both use the same amount of energy. It's simply the change in mgh.
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Old 07-18-22, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
African or European hill?
...carrying coconuts?
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Old 07-18-22, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
If you ignore all types of friction and resistance, in ideal conditions, they both use the same amount of energy. It's simply the change in mgh.
Not quite. Climbing faster will result in more aerodynamic drag, so it'll take more energy. Of course, that's down in the near negligible range for most climbers.

Of course, you could make the counter argument that riding slower and sweating a lot will result in lower mass being lifted toward the end. But somebody's gonna have to buy me a beer before I waste any more time on this navel-gazing exercise.
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Old 07-18-22, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by dmark View Post
...carrying coconuts?
No, Bratwurst and Brotchen
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Old 07-18-22, 08:20 AM
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Old 07-18-22, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by dmark View Post
...carrying coconuts?
Where would he grip them?
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Old 07-18-22, 08:57 AM
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Can you keep 14 mph or better going up the hill? If not, you are going to get hotter on a hot day. So you might need to pedal one of the easier gears you have. But if you know you can bust a gut getting to the top without risking heat exhaustion then go for it so you can get some cooling going down the other side.

Your hill might not be my hill.
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Old 07-18-22, 09:33 AM
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You haven't mentioned gears. I would think doing the same RPM in your bottom gear or a couple gears up would result in the latter being more efficient. Grinding up in the granny gear has never felt like the best option for me unless I'm just spent and have no other option.
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Old 07-18-22, 09:38 AM
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Are we talking about ebikes?

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Old 07-18-22, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Are we talking about ebikes?
No. To simplify the discussion, we're only considering massless and frictionless bikes ridden in a vacuum by Vestal Virgins.
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Old 07-18-22, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
And for the sake of simplicity, we'll ignore aero drag, ignore rolling resistance and all other sources of friction on the bike including losses due to cycling technique. Thanks.
If, for the sake of simplicity, you ignore all speed dependent terms, speed doesn't matter. Happy?
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Old 07-18-22, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
No. To simplify the discussion, we're only considering massless and frictionless bikes ridden in a vacuum by Vestal Virgins.
Then the answer is reading this thread takes more energy than it is worth.

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Old 07-18-22, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
If, for the sake of simplicity, you ignore all speed dependent terms, speed doesn't matter. Happy?
You haven't considered the terms that depend on the illusion of speed.
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Old 07-18-22, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Then the answer is reading this thread takes more energy than it is worth.
This thread exists in an intellectual valley, so it doesn't take any energy to descend into it. Unfortunately. it takes a lot of energy to leave the Valley.
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Old 07-18-22, 10:16 AM
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Pushing harder on the climb and less hard on the flats causes you to expend less energy for a given average speed than pushing the same consistent effort throughout.
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Old 07-18-22, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
This thread exists in an intellectual valley, so it doesn't take any energy to descend into it. Unfortunately. it takes a lot of energy to leave the Valley.
Very true.

My doctor has warned me about long BF, especially the General Cycling Discussion variant.

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Old 07-18-22, 10:38 AM
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Assume a spherical cyclist in a vacuum.
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Old 07-18-22, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Assume a spherical cyclist in a vacuum.

That's no fun. I'd rather assume a toroidal cyclist in a blender.
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