I posted this on my 'personal page' for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer' but thought it worthy of here (since I'm very sure I'm the only one who sees that page).
Last Saturday I participated in Cyclepath's "Ride With Jim" event. Jim is taking a bunch of neophyte road bikers and helping them ride efficiently & safer. I have a hybrid (a cross between a road bike & a mountain bike) so I used my road bike part as a reason to crash the party. (if you can see it, there is a painted cross-stitch pattern on the cross bar by the stem).
I learned sooo much about climbing hills. With my hands/arms closer together I sit higher and open my lungs more, pedal like I was scraping mud off of them, move forward or backward on my saddle to change groups of muscles that are working hard. He also suggested that I think about getting a mountain bike cassette (that's cyclespeak for the rear wheel gears) because they're bigger and therefore makes climbing hills easier.
On Monday I test drove/rode road bikes-women's and two mens. Specialized Rubys in two sizes-no wow moment. The Specialize Rubaiux (men's version of the Ruby) was like going home-back to my beloved deceased 1975 BRC 10 speed. I also tried a Cervelo...which unfortunately the seat killed whatever pleasure the power the bike had because it was like riding on the seatpost! Ouch. I decided that I would wait until next year to buy one...when I would have a cornucopia of styles and makes to choose from.
On Tuesday I had my mountain bike gears installed. Yes they do help quite a bit with the hill climbing. I kept forgetting to put it in the smallest front sprocket yet it climbed much easier than before. Worth every penny.
Yesterday I started with the "Ride With Jim" crowd but since I was the last one up the Sikome Lake hill I choose to do my own route and let them do the regular route without me holding them up. I still rode 34km., just at my leisure and I met up with them at the top of the hills by Spruce Meadows. They had only been there for a couple of minutes before I showed up. I made it up 1.5 the the two hills walked a short way and then was able to ride the rest of the way. That was only thanks to the new gear ratios.