Graham Carter wants us all to get on our bikes.

Like most cyclists, he believes it is one of the best and most interesting forms of exercise, suitable for people of all ages and levels of ability.

IF you are one of those people who thinks cycling is not for you because you struggle when you come to a hill, my message to you is this: get over it.

In more ways than one.

This latest instalment in a periodic series of articles aimed at persuading would-be urban cyclists to get on their bikes in Swindon will show you why hills are absolutely NOT a valid excuse for leaving your bike in the shed.

Many of the obstacles we face in life are mostly in the mind, and that is especially true of cycling.

I understood this best after a conversation with my friend, Paul Ashman, who runs a busy cycle education business (not surprisingly called Paul Ashman Cycling).

One day he joined some relatively inexperienced cyclists on a charity ride, and was shocked when one of his fellow riders got off her bike to push it up the slope leading out of a subway, complaining: “I hate hills.”

Call that a hill?

Apart from routes up into Old Town, Swindon is relatively hill-free. Basically: Eastcott Road, Victoria Road, Kingshill Road, Drove Road and Croft Road are hills. All other roads: not hills.

You should take a leaf out of the book of professionals in races like the Tour de France, as I witnessed, first hand, when a couple of stages of the race came to Yorkshire in 2014.

I went to Haworth and positioned myself on a significant hill, not dissimilar to Victoria Road, yet when they came through, the riders raced up it in seconds, not pausing to even consider it a challenge.

Men who were used to tackling mountains clearly considered anything less than Alps or Pyrenees to be small fry, and this underlines that cycling - at all levels - is about what you are used to, but also mindset.

Indeed, ‘hill’ is not a word you hear very often in cycling circles.

Serious cyclists will describe the terrain as ‘a bit lumpy’ rather than ‘hilly’, and TV commentators have an array of tamer-sounding words that describe roads that go up a comparatively gentle gradient, compared with mountains. They include ’rise’, ‘ramp’ and my favourite, ‘false flat’.

Of course there are also practical (as well as psychological) ways of going uphill more effectively, and they are simple.

Even when they become more practised and accustomed to using gears more effectively, many cyclists make the mistake of choosing a higher one than necessary.

For years I would change up to a gear in which I felt I was reaching maximum effort, thinking that was more efficient, but then the penny dropped, and I dropped down a gear.

Rather than picking the highest gear you can manage, for maximum efficiency you should select the highest one that feels easy.

Even more important is to be in the right gear for the gradient - not when you need it, but just before.

You should also try to gain momentum before reaching the slope, gathering speed over as long a distance as practical, and then, when you start to slow down, sit back in your saddle, and relax.

Indeed, perhaps the best piece of advice, when coming up against hills, is the simplest of all: DON’T PANIC!

Take your time, take it easy and enjoy it.

You might find this hard to believe, but the more you cycle, the more you start to relish the challenge of going uphill, so don’t be surprised if you find you start to like or even love that hill.

And remember that if I can do it - a middle-aged guy who wakes up every morning feeling over-the-hill - anybody can get over any hill in Swindon.