Cycling uphill with a beach cruiser is usually a problem for cyclists who don’t understand the limits of the bike that they are riding. Beach cruisers are designed to be used on flat terrain and are far from the best bike to ride uphill on.
Can beach cruisers go uphill? Beach cruisers can definitely go uphill but a single speed cruiser will not be able to go up as fast or as easy as a multi-speed one. For most people walking a single speed cruiser up a hill of any significant size is the best option. If your cruiser is multi-speed then you can go up hills far easier.
The gears of a beach cruiser make it easier for a strong cyclist to ride up hills. They can easily shift gears while they ride. Since most beach cruisers are 1,3, or 7 speeds it is important to know what options you have on your bike before ever beginning your climb.
HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT BEACH CRUISER
If you live in a flat area, buying a beach cruiser with a single gear should be fine for most of your rides. For those living in hilly areas or if you often ride to and from areas that are hilly a multi-gear bike is the best choice. Riding up large hills with a single speed bike is difficult if not impossible depending on the incline of the hill.
If you often carry large items or groceries on your bike then a single speed beach cruiser probably is not the best option either. With a single speed bike you will have to pedal quite hard to get moving since there are no lower gears to change into. Pedaling hard might not be a problem normally but if you are carrying extra weight it certainly can be an issue.
If you often find yourself using your bike to carry anything besides you, then it is a good idea to consider a beach cruiser with 3 or 7 speeds or to use a different style bike altogether.
Beach cruisers are designed for comfortable rides along a flat surface and aren’t meant to be used on hills for long periods.
HOW TO SHIFT GEARS WHEN CYCLING UPHILL
When cycling uphill, you get to test your true grit, and will-power. You will also be able to master all the important gear changes as you go up the different stages of the hill. Most cyclists find it difficult to climb hills because they do not know the right time to shift gears. They usually just ride slowly in the same gear and then shift up once they get to the top of the hill.
The trick with gears is that they shift best when you are putting intense pressure on the pedal. If you reduce the pressure on the pedals, the gears become extremely easy to shift. The main issue with trying to downshift, especially at the last minute, is that, more often than not, you will be stuck in a gear that is too high, and the bike might stop abruptly.
When cycling, never remain in the same gear. You must be on alert and expect to shift gears at any time as the terrain dictates.
Do not apply too much pressure on the pedals when riding, and only try to downshift as soon as your speed begins to decline. Take note that if you wait too long to downshift you will have issues doing it while continuing to stay on your bike.
For long and steep climbs, plan on shifting into the lowest gear as soon as you start to get resistance. Don’t wait until it is virtually impossible to pedal before shifting gears.
CYCLING TECHNIQUES WHEN GOING UPHILL
The technique you use while cycling uphill will determine whether you will have a successful ride. It is necessary that you sit on your beach cruiser when pedalling, but standing up can help you get some extra speed in a pinch. You can easily switch to a lower gear once you get a little bit of speed from your harder peddling. Of course that is assuming that your bike isn’t already in its lowest possible gear.
If you are near the top of the hill but can feel yourself slowing down too much it is better to accept defeat and get off the bike than to try and pedal harder. When you are pedaling harder your feet can slip off the pedals easier and you can injure yourself.
ASSESS THE ROUTE
Cyclists are usually concerned with the type of bike to use but they forget that nothing affects their cycling experience like their choice of route. It is important that you take your time and explore the road network of the area that you are planning on riding in. Check if there are alternate areas that are less hilly or ones that have smaller hills.
When using Google Maps or any other map, you may be surprised and disappointed when you eventually decide to try a route. You may discover that the roads are long and the hills are steeper than what was described on the map. Knowing exactly how steep a hill is will help you prepare physically and psychologically for the journey and decreases the chance that you will be exhausted along the way.
If you come across a hill that looks too large for the bike that you are riding there is no shame in choosing an easier route.
EXPLORE THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECT OF BIKING
Cycling is not just a physical activity. There is a psychological side to it that can make climbing hills easier for you. The simple trick is to divide the journey into sections. Look for road signs that suggest that you have conquered a section of your journey, make a mental note of what is left of your journey, and look forward to the next road sign. Also, look ahead for road signs or clues that suggest that the road ahead will be steep, and be ready to change gears ahead of time.
BE READY TO GET OFF AND WALK UP THE HILL
Yes, this sounds a bit funny. But if the gears on your beach cruiser are too high, pedaling up a hill might be uncomfortable for you and would give you a horrible riding experience. Don’t hesitate to get off if your bike won’t allow you to change gears.
Just because your bike doesn’t have lower gears doesn’t mean that you have to walk up the entire hill though. There will be certain parts of the hill that will be less steep, and you can remount and ride in those places. You can also go into the bottom section of the hill riding as fast as possible to allow yourself to get farther up the hill before you have to get off.
Knowing when it is the best time to get off or get back on is something you will learn over time. If you regularly ride the same route you will quickly learn the fastest way to get to the top with as little effort as possible.
Getting off and walking up certain parts of a hill is not easy, but if for most beach cruisers it is the only option when you encounter a hill that is simply too big to climb while staying on your bike.
Beach cruisers can certainly be used for hills but they are far from the best bike for them. If you regularly take routes that have many large hills a road or hybrid bike is a better option. Most beach cruisers will be able to handle small to medium sized hills depending on if they are 1,3, or 7 speed bikes but even with a 7 speed you will often end up pushing if it is a larger hill.