For beginning cyclists, hills can be a big challenge. Experienced cyclists actually have no problems with hills - they know how to shift, to brake, to pace themselves, and they have gotten stronger on hills with practice. There are two areas with hills to be concerned with:
- Uphill. Cycling uphill is not that hard if you shift to the right gears. It took me a little while to learn this. What I like to do is build up some speed going into a hill, shifting to a bigger front gear and getting some momentum. This will carry me a little ways up the hill. As the pedaling becomes more difficult, I gradually shift to easier gears until I'm on the smallest front gear and largest back gear. If I'm lucky, I do not get to that point. It's also good to learn to pace yourself - do not pump the pedals too hard early on in a long hill, or you'll tire out.
- Downhills. Steep downhills can be scary for us beginners because of the speed. I recommend slowing yourself down with intermittent braking. If the downhill is not too steep, I recommend shifting to your big front gear and smallest back gear - you can really build up some speed that will carry you when you hit the flat or the next hill.