Does it go mountains?

That's a question I often hear when riding on my recumbent bicycle. The answer is:


Which ones?

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)
Großglockner Hochalpenstraße (2505m).
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, Switzerland. picture(3)
Col du Pillon (1546m)
from the north, ~600m up from Saanen. Alps, Switzerland. picture(2)

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 training does:-).

[Other recumbent pages] [BIER Liegeradseite] [More pictures] [2003 USA bike tour photos] [2005 Alps bike tour photos] [Reisebeschreibung Rhein/Inn] [cycling information on mountains]

Anton Ertl