When will it get easier to cycle? or do i need a better bike?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Tvirr, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Tvirr

    Tvirr New Member

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    Hi! I am a new cyclist, 25 and female. I started cycling to and from work about a month ago, which is 2x4 kilometers or 2x2.8 miles, 4-5 times a week.
    I got my bike secondhand, just before I started cycling and I had no idea what kind of bike I needed. I thought anything would do. I got one which is a bit too high for me, and has only 3 gears. It does the job for the most part, but, and here is my problem:
    On the way to work, at the end of the route, there is a 700 meter long hill, which rises 42 meters. I think that means it is 6% steep?
    So far I have not been able to ride my bike completely up the hill. I usually get about 1/3 of the way, then I get off and walk 50-100 meters, and I get back on and ride the rest. It is my thighs that give up the job, although my lungs are struggling as well.

    All the people I see riding on the same hill, have at least 7 gears. Which makes me think every time I try that I should buy a bike that suits me more, and with more gears. On the other hand, when I imagine myself being able to do it with 3 gears, it makes me feel very accomplished and happy.

    What do you think? Is this hill doable with only 3 gears? And how long should it take me to get fit enough to do it? I am 154 cm, or 5 feet and 55 kilo.
     


  2. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Active Member

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    According to your post, you ride 32 - 40 km a week. It's great that you're commuting, but this isn't very far and I'll guess that you aren't really stressing your body enough to cause physical adaptations. Especially considering that half the time you're going down that hill so just coasting.

    If you want to get up that hill on your 3 speed, you need to ride more. A lot more. And if it turns out you like riding, then you'll want a better bike with modern gearing. My very old commuter hybrid has 21 gears and my road bike has 22 gears.
     
  3. Tvirr

    Tvirr New Member

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    Thank you for the reply!
    By 'riding more' do you mean loger distances or the same distance more often? I could do for example an extra few kilometers a couple times a week on my way home. That would pust it to 50km a week.
    It looks like I won't be able to get a better bike. I was wondering because I think this bike's gear hub must be at least 5 years old, and I don't know what level of wear it has, but the new version of the same gear hub could be more efficient. So I looked into new bikes, and I found that frames my size (I need a 26 inch frame, because the standard 28 inch is too high for me) only come with 3 gears in this country. The general population is a lot higher than I am and 26 inch frames are rare. So if I buy a new one, that's going to be the same 3 gears.
     
  4. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Active Member

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    Whatever you do, don't buy a bike with only 3 gears. Go to a proper bike shop and see what they have - they will help you. There are frames for all sizes.

    When I suggested you ride more, I did say a lot more. Some years ago my bicycle commute was 27 km each way - so in one day I would do more than your entire weekly total.

    How much you do depends on how much you enjoy cycling - these days I don't commute any more and I still do 250 to 300 km a week, which is nothing special. If you like riding, ride longer distances and find some people to ride with. You'll figure it out.
     
  5. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    Riding longer distances is the key to improving your fitness. When you can, start with 16-20K rides and build from there as you improve. A quality 3-speed hub can last for decades, as long is it's oiled periodically. It should have an oil port on it somewhere and any high-quality oil will work. If you have a bike shop nearby, talk to them about it. However, as you've discovered, a 3-speed limits your ability to ride hills. Most 3-speed bikes are pretty heavy (15-20 kilos) as well, which adds to the difficulty.

    You don't state where you live, but I find it difficult to believe that you can only get 3-speed bikes, unless you're in a small village somewhere. There are hundreds of different bike models available in a size that will fit you; you just need to go to a bike shop with a good selection.
     
  6. cookedlegs

    cookedlegs New Member

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    I assume that your bike is also quite a heavy one. The number of speeds/gears is not the main thing to consider, but yes - the hill would not look so scary if you would ride a bike with more speeds. The only suggestion I would have for you - try to experiment with the pedaling speed when riding uphill. If you would be willing to buy a different bike, you could also think about a cheaper entry-level ebike, it may seem like a miracle for commuting.
     
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