Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bike Doctor Q&A : Sitting or Standing?

Dear Matt, I read that it is not recommended to stand up when cycling and also that it is better to use the lowest gear you feel comfortable with. I have always found that, on steep hills, standing up in a higher gear is easier than faster pedal action at a lower gear. Should I attempt to change my riding style?
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Sports science studies have shown that staying seated in the saddle and "spinning" at fairly high revs is the most efficient way to climb. This puts less strain on the muscles, while taxing the heart and lungs. So, in practice, you have to have a tremendous aerobic engine to ride this way.

And exceptions are to be made: if there is a sudden, short change in gradient, it is often best to get out of the saddle and "honk" your way over the steep part, as we old cycling lags say. Some people, with a very different physique and physiology, may find it more comfortable and effective to climb out of the saddle for prolonged periods, perhaps pushing a bigger gear.

So experiment by all means, but I doubt you should alter your style much. Do what feels right for you.

Source: Matt Seaton, The Guardian

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