I don’t live in a particularly hilly neighborhood. At least, I didn’t think so before I bought the long john. Now, all I see is hills. I could probably tell you to the nearest degree all the different slopes in a 3 km radius.
My biggest problem with the hills (other than getting up them) is they force me off the bike. I can generally get myself about half way out of the ravine before I have to dismount and push. I hate pushing my bike. It feels wrong to push my bike.
The good news is I’m learning how to use the gears to my advantage. I know, I know…. “you didn’t know how to use your gears before?” No, I didn’t. I learned to ride on a fixed speed. I got a ten-speed road bike when I was twelve, and no one taught me how to properly shift gears. I played with them a bit, but ultimately found that I liked riding better when I wasn’t fiddling with the gears. When I was 16, I got an eighteen-speed hybrid, and only ever used the front derailleur. Sad, yes. I never really had a firm grasp on the concepts of gears and torque and really didn’t care. I only rode the bike for fun, and I had plenty of fun in one gear.
Now, it’s a whole new world. A hilly world.
I’m learning the hard way about things like cadence and momentum. I have to think about what I’m doing whenever I start pedaling. I feel like I’m learning to ride all over again. I even have a memory aid (a chant) so that I remember to keep my fingers on the shifters, and USE THEM!
The other thing I’m learning is that I am much more comfortable on the road, behaving like a vehicle, than I am borrowing the sidewalks from pedestrians. Actually, I really don’t like using the sidewalks at all. I end up using them going up hills, and turning left at busy intersections. If I can gain enough strength in my legs to go up hill, then I’ll also have the strength for a good start-off in the left-turn lane.
And that would make me really happy.
Enjoy this beautiful Friday!