Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Climbing hills with cargo

B.O.B.trailers need some kind of kickstand.

 And obviously I need a stronger trailer with two wheels under the center of the load.

Trailers have a tendency to yank the bicycle around when hauling more weight than the bike and a long cargo bicycle is really the best.


MAXIMUM TOTAL COMBINED WEIGHT OF 450LBS (on steep hills) Fish delivery

There is so much dogma about the right way to pedal a bicycle. I get so upset when they tell me the most efficient way to pedal is FAST!

When you run out of low gears to spin fast because your hauling cargo, you must rely on muscle. And the best way to build muscle is to slow down and push as much resistance as you can while still maintaining a balancing speed.

If you don’t believe me, try adding one hundred pounds to your wimpy bike and see how far you get, on even the smallest hills.

Perhaps the most efficient way to pedal power a fully loaded bike up steep hills would be with short crank arms and super low gears, obtainable only with a second cassette or a ‘mountain tamer’ fourth chain ring.

This one is OK if geared correctly and heavy duty wheels are put on the rear:

I don't know how much it weighs and I don't think it can be bought, but it's about time!

     straps adjustable at both ends:

I wouldn't count on this one for steep hill climbing with this kind of cargo:

Most commuter cyclists seem to not understand real hill climbing.  Riding as fast as they can on bikes made for speed. But when I tell them how they should add 100lbs to their bike to build muscle they even laugh at me. The secret to cargo cycling is patients and low gears.

There are some popular devices for carrying cargo like the Xtra-cycle add-on. I don't like the size of the rear wheel because it is like using a higher gear than a 20" wheel. Some companies are finally making cargo bikes with 20" drive wheels.

On some bikes the 'trail' will be changed. I know of one man that built a long cargo bike with the cargo box to the rear rather than in front of the rider, he has a hard time balancing it on the turns.

smaller drive wheels are like lower gear

It is very difficult to get the right kind of cassette (rear gears) 34 sprocket cassettes are overpriced and usually have a large jump from 26 to 34 for 8 speed,  a 9 speed cassette can do 30 to 34 sprockets.

 I think it would be much more sensible to use a large motor connected to the drive wheel with an automotive timing belt or use a geared hub motor, because the bicycle chains can be torn! I did it twice last year then I tore my muscle tendon a little!

$ The Teracycle cargo monster is difficult to climb steep hills with because it has a large drive wheel and the gears are too high. The lowest gear would be no more than 13 gear inches even with a Mt Tamer forth chain ring of 18 sprockets. 

I need 10.5 gear-inches with 400lbs on 16% grade. That’s about 1.75 mph with a 60 rpm cranking speed.

However it is possible to climb hills in higher gear on an MTB I use 22 gear-inches as opposed to 18gi on my recumbent bike.  But not with 400lbs.


 A pure ratio of the distance traveled by the bike to the distance traveled by your foot as it goes in a circle around the bottom bracket.

I would therefore propose the following equation for Gain Ratio:

Road Speed / Foot Speed = (Large Sprocket Radius / Pedal Radius) * (Tyre Radius / Small Sprocket Radius)

I believe that this fits with the basic laws of lever kinematics with a chain drive. It is identical to

Road Speed / Foot Speed = (Tyre Radius / Pedal Radius) * (Large Sprocket Radius / Small Sprocket Radius)


 I know of only one trike that has low enough gears, the Light Foot starts about $3000 and the seat is way too high, but they can put a better seat lower on the frame, but it will create more swing steer. Gosh there is always something wrong.

Don't ever buy a bicycle with higher than 18 gear inches for the lowest gear. + Gear-inch formula: front sprockets divided by the rear sprockets multiplied by the drive wheel diameter.  

The Nuvinci gear-hubs for bicycles are worse than useless; they can't handle more than 26 gear-inches of torque (with human legs). And they weigh 11lbs. The maximum torque before it starts slipping is 130Nm or 96 LbFT . One wheel revolution to one crank revolution is the lowest gear possible.

Someone said they saw a video of some guy jumping on the pedals, and thought that it showed how strong the thing is. All it really shows is that it takes much more leverage to move in higher gear. And it shows how strong the chain is; I have torn chain links just climbing hills in low gear.

The Flat Pedal Revolution 

Don't place the ball of your foot on top of the pedal axle, look to place it in front of it. Make sure that your big toe knuckle is on the front inside pins.

The secret to climbing hills with too much weight is low gears and faster crank speeds. I can balance better with a faster cadence. Clipless pedals do help, but they can create knee damage from pulling to hard.

Clipless pedals on recumbent bikes with the ball of the foot on the pedals can create toe numbness because the toes are sticking up in the air, I will have to bolt the cleats onto the center of my shoes. Pressing with the arch of the foot is much better for circulation. Also I think it’s better to just lift your "upswing" foot so the other foot doesn’t have to push it up.

It is not necessary to have your feet clipped to the pedals, just lift your foot enough that your pushing foot does not have to lift the returning foot and leg.

Some people think they are pulling a lot more than they actually are. The only way to know for sure is to test it with a torque sensor on the pedals.

Road bike shoes can be treacherous for walking on cement floors, too bad they don’t make special recumbent commuter shoes.

 For info about hill climbing motors and gears 
see the links below:


Anonymous said...

When I initially commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each
time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove me from that
service? Thank you!

Also visit my web blog ... womens road bikes

Jon Tomas said...

I have a Mongoose Status 3.0 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike to Climbing hills. That's really good. I think you should have one.

Prodromal said...

What is so good about the mongoose? Looks like just another cheap mtb. suspension is not needed to climb hills with cargo. In-fact if you loaded your bike with cargo, the springs would compress too much, you would have to tighten them up quite a bit. and you simply cannot put a heavy duty rear rack on this kind of bike.

Advertising it as a cargo bike will not do you any good. These kinds of bikes are toys.

Unknown said...

Utility cycling is the original and most common type of cycling in the world.
It shifted their use and public perception from being a dangerous toy for sporting young men to being an everyday transport tool for men—and, crucially, women—of all ages. i have aslo a Firefighter bicycle it's nice and comfortable

Esmeralda said...

Great post!

Zahid Hossain said...

When I at first remarked I tapped the "Advise me when new remarks are included" checkbox and now each

time a remark is included I get a few messages with a similar remark.

Is there any way you can expel me from that

benefit? Much thanks to you!
Please take a look to my site:
beglaubigte Übersetzung Hamburg

Unknown said...

When I at first commented I tapped the "Exhort me when new comments are incorporated" checkbox and now each

time a comment is incorporated I get a couple of messages with a comparable comment.

Is there any way you can remove me from that

advantage? Much gratitude to you!
Feel Free To Visit My Site:
صيانة سونى

Prodromal said...

I am working on finding a solution to this problem, but it may take a long time.

Prodromal said...

Maybe just block the email adress??

Prodromal said...

this is the question I put out there.!topic/blogger/CaoFC7tQ0X0

StarmusiQ said...

"Very informative article that you share. In future you share more. Thanks for sharing..
Starmusiq Song" said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stephen Robart said...

Wow! Cool post. You make a nice post. It will help us a lot. I want to say thank you very much :)