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Oxford University Cycling Club rider Danny Axford on his way to a 4th BUSA Hillclimb victory

Hill climbing is one of the key skills required to make cycling more enjoyable. One of the best ways to learn this skill is through practice. There are several ways to practice. Solo intervals or group rides that focus on hill climbs. The Low-Key Hillclimb series in the San Francisco bay area is a good example of a climbing series focused on developing an individual rider's climbing skill.

A hill climb can also be an event, such as a one day race. Such events may either be an individual time trial (which forbids cooperation, drafting, or team tactics) or a regular road race. A hill climb usually represents an event which gains altitude continuously, usually terminating at a summit. Well known hill climbs include the Mt. Evans Hill Climb and the Mount Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. The San Francisco Hill Climb is no longer run. The Cycle to the Sun race is a young race run on a volcano in Maui, Hawaii. Hill climbs occasionally feature in major professional races, such as the Tour de France, but they are usually referred to as mountain time trials, and are not necessarily from the bottom to the top of a hill, although they usually are (they can simply be a time trial over hilly terrain).

In the UK, there is an end of season tradition of cycling clubs promoting hillclimb time trials in October, for small cash prizes. The hills tend to be relatively short, usually taking between three and five minutes to complete, and the races attract many spectators, including locals not otherwise interested in cycling, who come to watch the pain of the faces of competitors.

Hill climbing has also been known as "The crucible of every good cyclist". Because climbing long or steep (sometimes both) hills takes quite a bit of effort, being able to tackle hills makes riding on the flat a whole lot easier.

Being able to tackle hills efficiently can be a "Race Winner" for anyone. Because downhills can be decided in seconds, uphills takes minutes, and being a good climber makes it possible to drop several riders behind.