Spinning and Hills

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C-SIG Training Series


Spinning and hills



  • Start pedaling (from standstill) with one foot on ground, other at 2:00 position
  • Ball of foot on pedal (will be automatic with clips or clipless pedals)
  • Foot straight--toes not out or in (will be automatic with clips or clipless pedals)


Spinning the key to efficient cycling

  • Keep pedal cadence high (about 80-100 revolutions per minute, or 14-16 in 10 seconds) and consistent
  • Shift down if cadence is too low. This reduces painful anerobic buildup of lactic acid in your muscles from pushing big gears
  • Shift up if cadence is too high
  • Pedal through the full circle, not just down. Push forward at top of pedal stroke. At 4:00 pull back ( scrape the mud ). Continue scraping the mud through bottom of stroke



  • Shift down to a larger cog (rear derailleur) for a minor hill
  • Shift down to smallest chainring (front derailleur) for a major hill. Shift BEFORE the hill. You can adjust for minor grade changes using rear derailleur while climbing (e.g. upshift a cog if it levels out; downshift a cog if steeper) but if you shift the chainring while already climbing, you run the risk of dropping the chain
  • Try to avoid using smallest chainring (lowest gear in front) with smallest cog (highest gear in back) as can lead to lax or dropped chain
  • Keep spinning as you climb try to keep up cadence rather than speed. Shift down as needed to maintain cadence. Shift up as you reach the crest of the hill


Downhill maintain control

  • Ride in higher gear increases control of bike
  • Avoid using largest chainring (highest front gear) with largest cog (smallest rear gear) as this can stretch and stress your chain
  • Watch where you re going
  • Don t pass going downhill (may need to gently brake when riding in a group)
  • If you have to apply your brakes, do so gently or feather them: gentle pressure and release, repeatedly as needed. At > 15mph you can t stop in an instant and slamming on your brakes can lock them
  • Sudden pressure to the front brake can make you flip over the handlebars. But if you only use the rear brake you can skid. So apply both brakes simultaneously
  • Keep spinning (even while feathering brakes) helps maintain control of bike and also dissipates lactic acid


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