# Crazy 35+% Grade Climb on a Unicycle!

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by unigeezer, Nov 1, 2012.

1. ### unigeezer Member

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Humongous Halloween climb in San Pedro on 10.31.12. This one rivals Fargo for sheer steepness, but it's a narrow paved walkway so there's no way to "zig zag", and must be ridden straight up! I measured the distance at 274 feet, with elevation gain at a whopping 102 feet! According to this calculator, that translates to a massive 37.2% grade!

It sure felt at least as steep as Fargo's 33% grade, even though this walkway is just over half Fargo's length. It's definitely a steep mutha, and a GREAT training hill!

The first time I was there and tried it, I failed less than halfway up as I lost momentum and stalled. Probably didn't help that I was running a heavy 24x3" tire and LM rim at the time! This time I went back but with the same light weight road tire and drilled rim I had used for my Fargo climb.

So I had just filmed my first climb using my tripod, but unfortunately it couldn't capture the whole climb. I was just about to leave when local came along and offered to film me, and follow me all the way up! So less than 10 minutes after my first climb, I took some deep breaths and went at it for a second time! The result can be seen in the video below.

I'm sure this could also be done on a bike, and makes a fantastic training climb!

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2. ### jpr95 Active Member

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Bravo! Have a beer.

3. ### alienator Well-Known Member

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Actually, assuming a constant grade and likewise assuming that the elevation is actually correct, the slope is 40.109% The calculator that you used employs an approximation that's only good at relatively small angles. What you calculated had an error of about -7.3%. At grades steeper than about 17% (about 1.5% error), the approximation starts to go all pear shaped quickly.

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4. ### unigeezer Member

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I'm going back tomorrow with 4' straight edge, laser level and measuring stick. I will be using the Formula: (rise / run ) X 100. And I will measure several segments of the hill to get an average. Although the grade is constant, there are a few areas where the pavement is a bit uneven. I realize that I probably won't get as accurate a results as a professional surveyor, but I'm only looking to get a reasonable estimate.

5. ### alienator Well-Known Member

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Take a lot of samples for best accuracy. The calculator uses elev gained/distance along road, where as the exact slope is elev gained/horizontal distance. What did you use to get elevation gained? If you used a barometric altimeter, the number should be pretty accurate. If you used a GPS altimeter, there could be significant error in the number. In general, GPS altimeters don't calculate altitude as well as barometric altimeters.

6. ### dominikk85 New Member

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how that is impressive. I would say that it is at least 35 maybe more.

With a road bike I think this is impossible. with the uni your gear ratio is 1:1 while with a road bike the smallest gear is like 1,5:1. even with a uni it is close to impossible so kudos to you

7. ### qdc15 Member

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8. ### unigeezer Member

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Thanks. I went back this morning, and using the standard formula, rise / run x 100, I took several measurements at the pathway. The average grade is 32.3%. That correlates to an elevation gain of roughly 90 feet over the distance of 274 feet. While my length measurement was correct, my gps overshot the elevation gain by about 12 feet. But 32.3% is plenty steep for me!

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:thumbup:

10. ### CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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"with the uni your gear ratio is 1:1 while with a road bike the smallest gear is like 1,5:1."

24 gear inches on the unicycle.

A 34 chainring and 32 cassette gear will yield a 28 gear inch ratio. Lower ratios are, of course, possible.

Of course, balancing a unicycle and getting the power applied is more difficult than on a conventional bike. Congratulations, unigeezer! Sweet climb!