While we are not going to post the climbing index on our rides page (you have to do the math yourself) we have been posting a low gear warning on some of our rides that have extended steep grades. By way of reference my gravel bike has a 1:1 gear ratio on the low end (34×34) and any climb that makes me grovel for more than 2-3 minutes would earn a low gear warning. Sometimes a low gear isn’t enough, with a narrow rear tire you can often run out of traction on the steeper grades even with a low gear. I had a triple chainring setup on my dirty road bike before and found that the little chainring was almost useless since once it was steep enough for that gearing it was difficult to keep the rear wheel from spinning in the loose stuff.
The climbing index is a great metric to apply to professional road racing courses too. For those of you who follow the European peloton some mountain stages of the Tour de France and Vuelta de Espana have shocking amounts of vertical packed into a relatively short distance and may give you a whole new respect for the world’s best cyclist. Stage 9 of the 2019 Vuelta de Espana packed in an impressive 11,154 feet of vertical gain into a 58.4 mile stage which may qualilfy as “brutal”. To apply our climbing index to the European peleton you will first you will have to convert kilometers into miles and meters into feet in order to determine whether it is “rolling”,”climby” or perhaps “brutal”.