Starting on Steep Uphills and Downhills
First, the uphill:
Make sure you’re bike is in the lowest gear (or close to it) and seat yourself firmly in the saddle. Your bike should be completely upright and not be leaning to either side – the pedal opposite to the side you have your foot down on should be slightly past the top of the pedal stroke. Get yourself into the standard uphill climbing position; your nose down close to the handlebar and rearend pushed back into the saddle. Now, push down gradually on the pedal and get your other foot onto the opposite pedal as quickly as you can and complete the pedal rotation. Avoid sitting up, this will cause the front wheel to lift up, and pull in with your arms as you start pedaling.
Next, the downhill:
Your bike should be in one of the middle gears to ensure that your chain has reasonable chain tension (and won’t slap around as you descend). With your pedals horizontal and your brake on, lean the bike over, sit on the saddle and bring your bike up to a vertical position. With your weight positioned as far back as possible put your foot on the forward pedal, slowly release your brakes and start your descent. Get your other foot onto the opposite pedal as you start moving forward and position the pedals back to horizontal by backpedaling. At the same time assume the standard downhill body position – with your rearend off the saddle and back, upper body leaning forward and arms somewhat relaxed, braking evenly – as covered in our earlier downhilling column.
If all this sounds a little tricky, that’s because it is and it will take a lot of practice before you master it.