Stephen wrote:The single speed also helped me here because when there are no higher gears you're cannot be tempted to slacken off.
Same, and that ties in to my tongue-in-cheek comment above about keeping the bike in a high gear and spinning.
It's always tempting to shift into a really low gear and ride slowly up a hill at a comfortable cadence using minimal effort. That's fine if your goal is to get up this particular hill, but it's not particularly good training and won't really make you a stronger rider.
On the singlespeed, I find that if I let my cadence get too low, I get bogged down and it really becomes a grind. If I keep my cadence up, it's a nicer ride. But keeping cadence up on a singlespeed means, by definition, keeping speed up. That takes lungs and heart, more than it takes legs.
There's only one significant rise (I'm reluctant to dignify it by calling it a hill) on my commute, and it's often the fastest part of my ride home. It's certainly no slower than the flat bits. I need to attack it to keep the legs moving fast enough to be comfortable, because there's no option of dropping gears and trundling up lazily. And having done that every afternoon for 18 months has made me a much, much stronger climber than I used to be.