shifting basicsPosted: September 10, 2013
Bicycling Magazine just put out a handy post on the basics of shifting that everyone should read. Unless you’re a pro, you might learn something helpful. There’s a nice graphic in the link as well.
In a nutshell:
- It’s okay to look down at your chainrings to get a visual.
- Shift up or down before you need to; in other words, anticipate hills and even the wind if you can.
- Start in the middle – choose the middle gear in the front and back and make adjustments from there.
- When you’re just starting out, use the middle cog in the front and experiment with the gears in the back. When you’re comfortable, experiment changing both (but one at a time, please).
- Let up on the pedals ever so slightly when you’re shifting into a harder gear to put less stress on your chain.
And a couple of my own:
- When downshifting both front and back cogs, downshift the back first, then the front. It’s much more comfortable.
- If you’re in a relatively high gear and you need to stop at a stoplight, downshift into a lower gear before you stop. Starting up again when the light changes will be easier.
You may find that if you ride the same route frequently you’ll have a favorite gear ratio. For me it’s what feels pretty effortless but still allows me to maintain a good speed. I ride on hilly terrain and sometimes I’ll pretend my bike is fixed-gear and I’ll stay in the same gear up and down the hills, just for a fun challenge. And then there are days when the wind in my face – especially uphill – means I need to move into my granny gears.
Experimenting means you’ll be able to shift effortlessly without even thinking. Play around and have fun. You may even discover a more comfortable gear!
- The Basics of Bike Shifting (bicycling.com)