In a previous article, I discussed whether or not folding bikes are good for long rides, which is a very common question among people who are embracing this compact alternative to the standard bicycle. Today, I want to look into another very common question surrounding folding bikes: Is it hard to ride a folding bike uphill?
Right off the bat, I can tell you that the effort you’ll need to make in order to ride a folding bike uphill will really depend on how low the gears of your folding bike are.
Continue reading to find out what this means! I would like to begin this article by reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of folding bikes and then move on to discuss how hard it is to ride a folding bike uphill.
Let’s get started!
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Folding Bikes
Folding bikes offer many different advantages and disadvantages. In fact, I’ve written an entire article about the disadvantages of folding bikes so you know exactly what you’re getting into if you decide to get one.
Today all I want is to do is review the advantages and disadvantages of folding bikes so you have a fresh idea of what they have to offer and what they lack.
- One of the main advantages of folding bikes is that they’re specifically made for commuting because you will be able to fold them up and bring them with you on the train so you can continue getting to where you need to go.
- What’s more, you can bring the folded bike with you into the building, which means you won’t have to worry about leaving it out on the street. This, in turn, means that you don’t have to think about theft or protecting your bike because it will be right by your side. They’re also allowed in museums and receptions, so security won’t be a problem.
- The main attraction is that folding bikes are of course very easy to storage and they take very little space once they’re folded, which means you can store it in any cupboard or under the bed while you’re at home. If you’re traveling by car, train or plane, you won’t have to worry about storage either because once it’s folded, it won’t take much space.
- Even though folding bikes are a lot more expensive than standard bikes, they often maintain a good resale price which means they don’t devalue as much as a regular bicycle. In other words, if you decide to sell your folding bike and it’s in good shape, you might get back most of the money you spent in the first place.
- Overall, the folding bike also offers a lot of freedom and it’s very convenient precisely because it’s so portable and compact. Trips can be more fun and carefree because you can ride as long as you want, and then simply come back home on a bus or a train.
Like I said before, I already dedicated a complete article to the topic of folding bike disadvantages, but there’s nothing wrong with freshening up our memory!
- One of the drawbacks of folding bikes is that they are very difficult to customize because there aren’t many accessories that will fit. This means that if you want to personalize your folding bike, you’ll have to purchase accessories that are specifically made for them, and they will be expensive.
- Talking about expensive, folding bikes are overall more expensive than regular bikes and they have a lot more pieces to break, which means that replacing them in case of damage will be costly. Whenever you need to repair something on your folding bike, prepare to spend some serious money!
- One major disadvantage is that the tires on the folding bike are a lot thinner than on the standard bike, which means that if you don’t invest in some suspension, you will feel every bump on the road and you won’t be as comfortable as you should be. Keep in mind that folding bikes are meant for urban areas, so they won’t perform well on rough terrain anyways.
- Folding bikes will also get you a lot of unwanted attention because they’re impossible to ignore. They’re smaller than the standard and when they’re folded up, they are impossible to miss. They also have a very particular design, and even if they’re gaining popularity, they’re not common enough to go unnoticed.
Is It Hard To Ride A Folding Bike Uphill?
The ability of climbing a hill with a folding bike is determined by two things:
- the number of gear inches that your lowest gear has
- how hard you pedal
Low gears are what allow you not to exert yourself too much while you’re riding uphill, and this will depend on the folding bike model you own. This means that if you want to breeze through a hill with your folding bike, you’ll need to get a folding bike that features low gears to help you do that.
The lower your gear, the easier it will be for you pedal up that hill, no matter how steep it is. So, if you’ve heard that folding bicycles are not good for climbing hills, that’s just one of the many misconceptions surrounding this kind of bicycle.
Folding bikes feature a range of gear inches that are as wide as those of a standard bicycle, so it can definitely ride uphill. The biggest challenge would be the terrain and this can be dealt with by customizing the tires and investing on suspension.
If the tires of your folding bike are thin and the bike features multiple speeds, it means that you will be able to ride small or subtle rolling hills. When it comes to steeper hills or mountains, you’ll need to have low gears, which means that you will have to look for one of the few folding bike models that have this feature.
Overall, riding uphill on a folding bike is not as easy as it is with a standard bicycle. It’s definitely possible if you choose the right features, but remember that it still takes effort and exercise to ride uphill!
Tips For Riding Uphill on a Folding Bike
Regardless of the kind of bicycle you’re using, I believe you should know what it takes to ride uphill, so I’m going to give you a few general tips that you should keep in mind.
1. Using the right gears
We already established that gears play a very important role when it comes to riding uphill with folding bikes and other kinds of bikes as well. Bicycle gears are what make it possible for you to ride uphill without putting too much effort into it.
When it comes to climbing uphill, low gears will make it easier. The low gear on your bike is the smallest chainring you’ll find in the front of the bike, and the largest cog on your rear gears. So make sure that your bike has it!
2. Be positive
Attitude is a big part of everything we do, so before you even get started, you have to accept the fact that cycling uphill will take a lot of effort on your part and no kind of bike will eliminate that from the equation.
Be motivated and embrace the challenge! If you’re not used to riding uphill, you should practice on smaller hills and take your time before you move on to steeper hills. The more hills you ride, the more you will be able to learn and the better prepared you’ll be each time.
3. Control your breathing
When it comes to exercising, learning to control your breathing is essential to being able to perform to the best of your ability. Because riding uphill can be extraneous, you need to learn how to keep your breathing steady so that your muscles will be well oxygenated during the ride. Your posture can also help you a lot, so make sure that you keep yourself straight so that your chest and lungs remain open.
4. When you turn, take the outer side
If you take the outer side whenever you need to turn, you will lose less momentum and it makes you visible to other riders, which will keep you safe. If you go wider on turns, you’ll also be putting less pressure on your steering and you’ll be able to maintain a smoother pace.
5. Don’t stand up on your bike
It is not uncommon for cyclists to stand up when they’re reaching the top of the hill, but with folding bikes this practice can be very unsafe. So remember not to stand on the pedals as you’re reaching the top, and keep yourself planted in your seat as you climb.
The only tip that really matters is: practice! The more hills you ride on your bike, the more experienced you will get and the more you will understand what you need to do in order to navigate a hill without too much effort.