Do hills become easier with time, or do they gradually get harder with age?

Do hills become easier with time, or do they gradually get harder with age?

This is the question I’ve found myself asking over and over again on my local climbs.

It was just like yesterday. I remember the tears from my first climb. The staggered pause and glare at that frozen road ahead. Unbelievably hard. Slippery slopes. Dangerous. Wet. The chest pains, hot breath and cold snot.

Feverishly stomping on pedals before the abrupt jump walk. 
F*&# this!

Mam Tor region, Peak District (Derbyshire). Photo: Benjamin Elliot

Pain and failure are terrible diseases. Cold and hard, served in chunks on rusty steel plates.


At the time, it was the walk of shame that got me the worst. Walking your bike up a hill is quite embarrassing. Especially when it’s broad daylight and you’re the only village cyclist who has clearly failed, and now lumping cold metal up a frozen hill.

“So that’s why they call it a push-bike ey’?”
“You kno’ you should be riding that, right!”
“I used to have one of those you know. I had to ride it to wo-rk.”

Those were sentiments usually spluttered out by my neighbours during my early days. Ah yes, the good ‘ol glory days training for my Q.H.H (Qualified Hill-Hater) certification.  Fully accredited by The University of Failure and chaired by the sadistic Professor Ass.

That was three years ago.

These days I tend to look forward to conquering my local hills. The climbs have become fun, and I’m slowly discovering new techniques for riding 9-12% climbs on just one gear. I’ve learnt how to read road gradients on approach, and can now gradually pace my body rhythms to match my cadence. I now listen for the wind for guidance, and observe bird flow to check for gale speed and direction. Mother Nature has become my beloved derailleur paired with honest Father Cadence.


In One Gear We Trust.

There’s a pace and rhythm to hill climbing that I’d never realised before.

Sure, sometimes even the harshest of climbs (over 15%) still manage to get the good o’l feet kissing sweet tarmac again. But on most of my routes those experiences are few and far between. 

In short, hill climbing has gone from being an annoying friend to a favourite cosplay lover in disguise. My fetish is here to stay, and you’re sure enough to catch us in a slow embrace at 5am in the morning – or just kissing shy of midnight on a warm summer weekend. 


I love the view at the top, and am glad she’s all mine. 

Mam Tor.

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