Five things you require to know on shifting gears on a bike

Posted by tan xiao yan on

When riding a bike, it is impossible for you to ride at the same speed all the time before you run out of your energy. On this case, it is time for gears to come in handy. Gears on a bike help you ride more efficiently and consistently so as to help you save energy and sustain it longer. Shifting gears may seem complicated to you if you never try to do that. However, it’s actually pretty simple as long as you figure out the secret of shifting. Here, I am going to share the secret with you, with these helpful tips, you will find that bike’s gears can it easy to adjust effort so you can keep pedaling comfortably regardless of what the terrain throws at you.

Identify your gears
Start by asking yourself, “what gears do I need?” Bikes are available with a broad range of a number of gears from one to 30 or more. Keep it clear in mind that what is your fitness level and what the terrain you will be riding. Then you choose your gears accordingly. If you are a regular mountain cyclist and you find climbing challenging, you will find that more gears installed on your bike will you a lot. Make sure that you have a clear idea of your gear numbers. On the most typical type of the bike-21-speed bike, you will see a left-side shift lever with the numbers 1, 2 and 3, and a right-side shift lever with 1 through 7 on the handlebars. The left lever controls the three chain rings on your front derailleur, and change how easy or how hard it is to pedal. The right lever controls the cluster of chainrings on your back derailleur and helps you make a slight adjustment to your ride.

Shifting Basics
Use your left hand to shift the front gears while use your right hand to shift the rear gears. Bikes with gears will have hand controls on the handlebars for you to shift. Usually, the derailleur will shift the chain from side to side to make it catch on a new front gear when you use the left-hand controls. Thus using your left hand to shift the front gears is a common case. The rear gears have their own derailleur, and when using your right-hand controls, the rear derailleur will shift the chain to catch on a new rear gear. You can change your gears to make your pedaling easier to keep your energy in certain situations. There tow ways for you to shift down. One is shifting into a smaller fear in the front, the other is to shift into a bigger gear in the back.

Knowing when to shift
The reason that bikes have gears is to help you pedal more comfortably no matter what the terrain you are going to ride. Therefore, shift early, shift early and shift when you need. “Anticipate the road ahead and shift gears before a hill, just like you would in a manual-transmission car,” says Thompson. There are general ideas on this. Shift to an easier gear when climbing or riding into the wind while using a harder gear when riding on flats or the wind is blowing from behind. If you are in doubt, shift before the terrain changes. Pick a low gear when you start off and gear up as you build up speed.

Knowing how to shift
Using the right combos is of great importance. “If you are climbing a steep hill, opt for lower gears, the 1 on the left side combined with 1 to 4 on the right,” says Joanne Thompson, owner and manager of Bike Station Aptos in Aptos, California. “If pedaling feels way too easy, switch to a higher gear, the 3 on the left side combined with 4 to 7 on the right, to help you go faster.” Of course, safety is something you should always keep in mind when cycling. Shift up carefully to avoid hurting your joints. Maybe you are excited when you “pump” to your bike into motion in a high gear, but it may do a great harm to your body in the long run. Avoid straining hard to push your bike to a too higher gear which will put stress on your joints and even hurt your knees, leading to soreness and even joint problems over time. You can use your bike’s higher gears, but you should shift into them gradually after you have already built up speed.

Avoid Cross-Chaining
Avoid choosing gears that “crisscross” the chain. You may have noticed that the chain sometimes will point in a slightly diagonal direction when riding, which will happen only when you pick gears that make the chain run at extreme diagonal angles. There are tow simple tips to help you avoid this situation. One doesn't use the largest front gear with the larger rear gears while the other one doesn't use the smallest front gear with the smaller rear gears.

To recap

With all the tips I have mentioned above, I believe that you must have had a clear idea on how and when to shift your gear so as to make your riding easier. Thus, if you are still wondering if you should shift your gear when riding, stop hesitating, action now. you will not regret about your choice and your riding enjoyment will be improved to a larger extent.