Author Topic: How do you continue peddling, when your legs are tired

Northamger Abbey at CycleChat writes:

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When cycling uphill, how do you keep on peddling when your legs ache so much. Even after changing the gears, ascending is difficult. I'm doing this for about two hours a week so how effective could that even be of my leg muscles. I have no bike at home and so cannot ride when I'm not at club

First, Agony Guy is far more concerned with getting ideas across than he is with the nuts and bolts of grammar. Having established that, the verb you wish to employ here is 'pedalling', unless you are a travelling salesperson.

No matter what anybody says, there is shame in walking. With a bike. No bike, nobody gives it a second thought. This isn't to say the shame is justified; merely that it is inescapable. Therefore, it behooves one to learn to keep pedalling "when your legs ache so much."

The most important lesson in hill climbing is this: Gravity is your friend. Hard to believe but true. As your legs fill with lactic acid they don't only feel heavier, they are heavier. This makes mashing down on the pedals easier, with the added momentum that weight brings assisting in the revolution of each foot back up to the top of the crank's arc.

Try to remember not to look up. It isn't helpful to keep your eye on the prize. Professional cyclists train using modified horse blinders. And don't stare at your cycling computer. In fact, remove it. Be Zeno's Arrow: move without moving.

Remember to breathe properly. You'd think this would come naturally – big panicky gulps to replenish the life force the hill is attempting to steal from you – but studies have shown that air inhaled in such a manner mostly consists of free radicals which damage DNA and cause premature aging. Each ascent of Ditchling Beacon, for example, adds a physiological year to your chronological age if your technique is sloppy.



Proper breathing involves inspired contraction of the diaphragm, a pause sufficient to allow the blood to be productively oxygenated, then an expiration redolent of victory:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8eVuGE95VE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8eVuGE95VE</a>
23 seconds of dead air alert • video may stoke yawns even from vinyl fetishists
• damnit, it used to exist!


Follow-through after the hill has been conquered is down to individual style. Some keep pedalling because they are riding fixed, and like sharks, they have no choice. Most will freewheel as soon as possible then ease into a cadence approximating relief. A saddened few will coast until they can coast no more, then sell their bike.