Gone are the days of grinding up mountain passes in gears big enough to blow out your knees. The introduction of compact chainsets has been a boon to recreational riders who love climbing, allowing you to spin away on even the steepest of grades. If you’re tackling a particularly steep climb — Mt. Baw Baw or Mt. Hotham, for example — a 34-tooth chainring paired with a 27- or 28-tooth cassette will make your life a lot easier.
In terms of other gear, always ensure you’re always carrying a spare tube or two, tyre levers, a handpump and/or CO2 cannisters. And even if the weather’s looking good at the bottom of the climb, always bring a rain jacket with you: the weather can change quickly and dramatically in the mountains!