Calculation of the average slope of a climb

Calculation of the average slope of a climb

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The road slope has always been one of the topographical parameters that most interests bike lovers, be they simple fans or passionate cyclists who want to deepen concepts such as average road slope, altimetry, difference in height is the time spent on; these are essential metrics in order to best distribute efforts and energies during a long bike ride with particular regard to the uphill sections.

There are various methodologies for the slope calculation: a more orthodox one that derives from mathematics and which defines the slope as a trigonometric tangent of an angle (or angular coefficient of a straight line); then there is the less precise but certainly simpler method, which can give us the average slope of a topographic ascent (or descent) stretch of various lengths by hand.

Calculation of the average slope: the simplified effective method

The calculation of the slope of an ascent (or descent) is done by applying the following calculation:

Slope in% = height difference in meters / distance traveled in meters * 100

In detail, the difference in height is the difference between the final and initial elevation while the distance traveled in meters represents the actual distance traveled between the two measurement points located at different altitudes.

Example: if a cyclist travels a total altitude difference of 800 meters in 9 km, the calculation will be as follows:

Slope% = 800/9000 * 100 = 8.8%

Therefore the cyclist along his route faces an average gradient of 8.8%

Calculation of the time taken (in seconds) to cover a certain distance

Always remaining on the topic of important metrics for those who are passionate cyclists, we can talk about the time taken to travel a certain route. In fact, it is possible to derive the time taken by having the length of the route available and assuming a certain cruising speed

TIME = distance in km x 3,600 / speed in km per hour

Let's translate it with an example: a cyclist proceeds at 40.5 km / hour and has to travel 64 km. The travel time in seconds will be 5,688 or approximately 95 minutes or 1 hour and 35 minutes

This type of calculation is very useful for simulating the passage and / or arrival tables in a specific place: 3 different average cruising speeds are chosen and simulated. Once the departure time is known, it will be easy to simulate 3 different arrival times based on the different average speeds. For the Sunday amateur it also represents information to understand how much a lap will steal from him in Cini time based on the route and the average speed he intends to keep and therefore knowing when hypothetically he will be able to return home at a given preset time.

Slope detection and other functions of modern cycle computers

In an article of mine from a few months ago that I invite you to read, I was talking about modern cycle computers and their main functions and uses to support the modern cyclist and amateur who wants to keep up with the times while enjoying their sporting activity but without giving up monitoring their health values ​​and sharing paths and tracks accomplished.

Until a few decades ago, all this was not possible but technology now makes available to cyclists very advanced tools with a thousand functions: when I was a boy, for a cycle computer, the supporting functions were those mainly related to the following metrics: calculation of the distance traveled and of instantaneous speed is average and when it went well you could collect the overall data and reset it at the end of each year (and write it down in the good old diary of training).

Without going into too much detail today the cycle computers are their own and real control units able to provide data in real time on the physical state of the person (cardiovascular and wattage level as well as pedaling frequency) but also on topographical aspects of the detected routes (detection of the slope of the climb as they are equipped with an inclinometer that lets you know in real time the slope of the road you are facing via gps) as well as barometric data here too the data on the altitudes actually reached and obviously more than precise weather measurements are included.

Conclusions and latest advice

This technology and many of these objects are now available to everyone at low prices; I would like to point out and finally provide some links to better carry out a targeted search on Amazon, the e-commerce site where you can also buy numerous cycle computers from the best brands at excellent prices and with the usual "satisfied or refunded" guarantee.

  • Cycle computer
  • Bluetooth bike computer(bluetooth, it should be remembered, allows as a technology to transmit data for personal networks; in the specific case for a cycle computer it allows you to connect the cardio to the computer as well as to connect your favorite app (see "strava", the most used among bikers) from your smartphone to your trusted on-board computer)
  • Cycling GPS
  • Garmin
  • Bryton
  • Polar

Other related articles I wrote on IdeeGreen that may interest you are:

  • Cycling shoes for racing or mtb bikes: how to choose them
  • Bike and Cycling Helmet: guide and models
  • E-Bike, which electric bike to choose: E-Mtb, City E-bike or Corsa
  • Garmin, Polar and the other Cycle computers and Gps bikes: how to choose the odometer
  • Bicycle touring, equipment to bring on a bike trip

Curated by Tullio Grilli

Video: Determine the power required for a 1150 kg car to climb (June 2022).


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