RAGBRAI LI Route Announced on Jan. 27!

Walking up the hills

Ok so I’m a veteran hill walker. Living where I do in NJ there are literally no hills to train on. If I go to my parents there are 3 rather small hills. So just curious what people seriously think of those of us who have to hop off half way to walk up the rest of the way? Do you view us as wimps? Quitters?

I personally don’t see it as quitting or being a wimp. You are still getting a workout and you are doing what it takes to get to the top and keep moving on. I’ll be honest I weigh well over 200lbs so I say my even attempting to do this is something to be applauded. I guess I’m just worried about people judging me for walking up the hills. I’ve seen people call hill walkers sissies and other names so it kind of is bothering me right now.

49 Replies

bruceday, March 23, 2012 at 7:51 am

Don’t let their personal ego issues ruin your enjoyment. Walk or ride up hills as you choose or are able. Most people would not even consider riding for 450 mils anyway, so you should have people’s respect.


Michrider !!!, March 23, 2012 at 8:07 am

Don’t worry what others think!!! I’ve walked up the big hill last year and the one in 2010! At least we’re out there moving and not sitting on the couch!!!!


Sandaltan ., March 23, 2012 at 8:10 am

You are not walking up a hill. You are cross training.

If you are worried about what people think of YOU just take a close look at what EVERYONE else is wearing!!!



RonB, March 23, 2012 at 8:38 am

You will have plenty of company. Lots of walkers on hills of any size. Don’t sweat it (well, you will actually be sweating it), just do it! Just be sure to stay on the shoulder or as far right as possible.


Tony, March 23, 2012 at 9:18 am

Personally I haven’t found a hill I couldn’t walk. As all my veteran RAGBRAI’ers will tell you. 500 miles of any road in a week is challenging. For many its the most physically challenging thing they do. Think about all the people you know. How many would be capable of hopping on a bike and ride it 500 miles. Not many. I respect any rider out there. For what ever reason they have to ride. They are riding to there best ability. If you have to walk a hill. I’d say your smart enough to know your limit and not damage your body. I’ve also pulled up to a shade tree on a long hot stretch of road too. For most seasoned riders when we see someone walking. We asked them if they are OK or need help. There really are no ill thoughts. Well… if that rider is walking the bike in the middle of the road. There might be some ill thoughts.


Cathy Veal, March 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

Hello Bees,
If I’m not walking a hill then I’m not in RAGBRAI. By early afternoon and if the hill is long, my knees will only let me get half way up that hill. So I “rider off” and I start walking. as I’m walking I come up on some very nice folks to talk with. Once during 2010 ride my knees and I were walking up a steep hill, I heard a young man say “Oh great, I’m getting passed by a walker.” Go ahead and walk any hill you want. And don’t push your knees to do more than they should.


Blumblebees, March 23, 2012 at 10:08 am

Thanks guys! You always know what to say. I agree about it being smarter than risk hurting myself. I’m so excited I can’t wait for july to be here…well I mean I have a ton of training left to do but man I’m looking forward to this. I hope I get to run into some of you guys along the way. I already know to keep an eye out on the curbs :)


knees36, March 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

Bees…distinguishing you from Beebs…I walked my first hill (Potter’s HIll) on my 30th RAGBRAI and it was h.e.l.l. for me mentally. I got over it pretty quickly as I walked the second hill about 2 or 3 miles further down the road and just laughed about it. So, I “second” what the others are saying. Just enjoy the ride, don’t worry about walking hills if you have to…it’s tough walking them as well, especially the back of your legs can get really tight and you can actually pass some bikers who are still in the saddle and are in “tractor low” on their bikes. Have fun on your first RAGBRAI and many more thereafter. Cheers. 8)


Ragbrai Nation, March 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

Wait a minuet, wait a minuet! I didn’t get my $0.02/worth in!!!

If you train as much as you should, you should actually relish the hills… No joke! 8) If this year is like the last two years I’ll prolly walk 1 or 2 hills for the week but then I’m 59 yrs old. Oh, sure I had some riders along side me on the steeps when I was doing some peak-effort cranking (lasting several minuets, sometimes), saying, you’re gunna kill yourself. They apparently knew nothing about being in the granny gear groove. They were not enjoying what they were doing but I was having a blast!

Having said that I do use a mind-over-matter technique where I verbally call out to myself in 3rd-person, as if there was a personal trainer present, yelling, “ROLL ‘EM UP! ROLL ‘EM UP! ROLL ‘EM UP!” You’ll come up with something.


Dint, March 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

You’ll look a lot better walking up a hill than falling off your bike because you were to proud to get off and walk. Don’t sweat it, you’ll have lots of company and you will also be surprised at just how many of the hills you’ll make it up. I’m not a great climber by any means but there is something about being passed by a rider who looks to be about 80 some years old dressed in a long sleeve shirt, long pants and boots on a bike that was made before I was born that will give u inspiration you didn’t know you possessed. Have a great ride.


Sandaltan ., March 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Have you/can you bike up the Kalo hill Knees???? I never have and never will unless I bike it on a trike with rest stops.



knees36, March 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Yep, ST, actually there’s two hills out of Kalo, one is straight on from the downhill through Coalville crossing the DM River while the other is a little more hidden, and really a “zinger.” I’ve done them both. The straight on hill has been part of a RAGBRAI route from Dodge in the past and takes you on through Dolliver Park (I’ve done that one lots of times), but the Zinger Hill (I just named it) takes you off from the River Road about 100 yards from the bottom of the “straight on hill” and eventually you arrive in Otho…about a mile or so later. It’s a dandy alright and much like the hill we’ll be climbing out of Lehigh. Zinger Hill has no rest stops, though, and is very lightly travelled!!! See you on the road. Cheers. 8-O I should “edit” and let you know that I have nice granny gearing, a teensy 24 tooth chainring and a 32 tooth rear cog…my tractor low!!!


ehlent, March 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I’m surprised no one mentioned yet that this is a very flat year. Sure there will be a few small hills but it shouldn’t be too bad. If you need to walk, then do so. There is no shame in walking. Just get out and enjoy the ride.


CyclingRoberto, March 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm

You asked, so here’s my read on this. Wahhh I’m fat and can’t go up the hills! I live in NJ and there’s no hills to train on…wahhhh. I was born in NJ, and there’s plenty of hills. If you live in South Jersey, hop over the Delaware to PA where there’s hills a plenty. And if you put in the mileage even on the flats, you will ride up every hill. And you might loose some of the extra poundage. It’s the Register’s Bicycle Ride… not Walk. If you can’t ride up a hill because of some physical limitation beyond your control, or you just don’t like to ride uphill, that’s one thing; but if you are too out of shape and under-trained, that’s another. You sound like you’re worried about what others are thinking. I wouldn’t go there myself. I’m more concerned with what I think of myself. Walking is out of the question.


Sandaltan ., March 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm

K36; tractor low is the way to go especially if you are a bagger hauling your worldly possessions.



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