Does it go mountains?
That's a question I often hear when riding on my recumbent
bicycle. The answer is:
In chronological order, I climbed (the pictures are up to 116k in size
and rated on a scale 1-5, 1 is best):
- Monarch Pass (3448m)
- from the east, ~1400m up from Salida. In
the Rocky Mountains, Colorado. proof(3), riding(3)
- out of Death Valley (~1500m).
- on California 190, westwards,
~1500m up from Stovepipe Wells. The subsequent climb out of Panamint
Valley had another ~1050m. California. after the climb (3), in Death Valley (3)
- Tioga Pass (9945ft/3031m).
- from the east, ~1000m up from US
395. Sierra Nevada, California. picture (3)
- Simplonpass (2005m).
- from the north, ~1300m up from
Brig. Alps, Switzerland.
- Malojapass (1815m).
- from the south, ~1480m up from Chiavenna. Alps, Switzerland. before the final ascent (3)
- from the north, ~1700m up from Fusch. Alps, Austria. picture (3)
- Staller Sattel (2055m).
- from the east, ~660m up from
St. Jakob. Alps, Austria/Italy. picture (2)
- Jaufenpaß (2094m).
- from the east, ~1140m up from
Sterzing. Alps, Italy. picture (2)
- Stilfserjoch (2757m).
- from the east, ~1850m up from
Prad. Alps, Italy.picture (2)
- Ofenpass/P. d. Fuorn (2149m).
- from the east, ~700m up from Sta. Maria. Alps, Switzerland. picture (3)
- Albulapass (2312m).
- from the east, ~600m up from La
Punt. Alps, Switzerland. picture (2)
- Oberalppass (2044m)
- from the east, ~900m up from Disentis/Mustèr. Alps, Switzerland. picture (3)
- Sustenpass (2224m)
- from the east, ~1300m up from Wassen. Alps,
- Col du Pillon (1546m)
- from the north, ~600m up from Saanen. Alps,
How do you do it?
I am not a powerful biker, I can do only about 400m/h over several
hours with baggage. That's about 120W. In other words, for an 8%
climb I cannot do more than 5km/h over a long time.
I have a 28 (front) by 34 (rear) gear ratio (about 23 gear inches),
which allows me to go 6 km/h with cadence being at the lower end of my
normal range. When it becomes really steep, I develop an even slower
cadence, and I have observed a speed of 4.5km/h (good for about
9%). If it's even steeper, I need breaks regularly.
Is it not more difficult?
Well, the bike is a little heavier (18kg), but apart from this it is
not really more difficult. Actually, because it is a long-wheelbase
recumbent, it is not very stable at low speeds: The centre of gravity
is pretty far back, and I have to steer a little more to keep the
wheelbase under the center of gravity. However, since I can ride as
slow as 4.5 km/h with it, it is stable enough for me.
I certainly cannot ride standing up, but that would only give me fresh
muscles for a short sprint. On real mountains, i.e., in the long run,
what counts is the power of the whole body. I can do not more than
120W over several hours and standing up does not change this (but
[Other recumbent pages]
[2003 USA bike tour photos]
[2005 Alps bike tour photos]
[cycling information on mountains]