Vintage Water BottleYes I can shift my gears and I'm not bad at it, but it wasn't always like that. I've had many conversations with my girl friends about which side of the gears we should be shifting and when. With the bike ride of the year coming in two weeks (and we don't mean the Tour de Victoria, sorry Ryder) we wanted to help you feel confident while out on your bike. Here is our top 6 tips to get you shifting those gears like a pro. Good luck.
6 Tips to get you shifting your gears like a pro:
1. Understanding your Gears:
Most bikes have two or three chainrings in the front and anywhere from 7 to 11 gears, or cogs, in the back. Moving the chain from the smallest rear cog to the largest eases your pedalling effort incrementally. Moving it between the chainrings in the front results in a more noticeable change—pedaling feels easier in a smaller chainring and harder in a bigger one.
Photo: Microvector Credit
2. Shift Savvy:
The left-hand shifter changes the front gears; the one on the right controls gears in back. If you get flustered on the fly, remember: RIGHT = REAR.
3. It's Okay To...
- Use only the rear cogs and the small or middle front chainring when you’re just getting comfortable on a bike.
- Look down to see what gear you’re in.
- Shift whenever a more experienced rider does.
- Practice makes perfect
4. When to Shift
The reason bikes have gears is so you can pedal (relatively) comfortably no matter what the terrain. Shift to an easier gear on climbs or when you’re riding into the wind. Use a harder gear on flats or if the wind is blowing from behind. When in doubt, shift before the terrain changes. When you shift, ease up on the pedals, especially on hills; if you’re pushing hard, the chain may skip or fall off. If you shift while going up a hill there is a very good chance your chain will fall off, so be prepared and shift early.
5. Avoid Cross-Chaining: Avoid what?
What you will hear, most likely, is a clicking coming from your gears and it means they are not happy and your chain can fall off too. Here is what you'll see:
- The chain is at an extreme slant, either in the big ring up front and the biggest cog in back, or the small ring up front and the small cog in back. This not only stresses the hardware, but it also limits your options if you need to shift again.
6. Cheat Sheet
- When traveling uphill and in a headwind: Use your small or middle front chainring + bigger rear cogs.
- When traveling downhill: Use your large front Chainring + a range of rear cogs, whatever feels comfortable.
- For Flat terrain: Use your small or middle front chainring + smaller rear cogs.
See you at the 3rd annual Tweed Ride Victoria on September 28th. Also a reminder during the ride we will be a judge for the best bicycle accessory. The best looking stylish bicycle accessory/s of any smart and sassy rider will be the winner of a very coveted prize.
The best bicycle accessory is a curious contest, for it relies on not only a knowledge of your particular bicycle, but also a thorough grasp of what it means to be a Tweed Rider. Spoke cards? Beautiful basket? A garland of Fall foliage? A Pannier made of tweed? Any or all of these fit the bill! But it is up to the individual taste of the tweed rider for it to all come together for their bicycle.
Joie de vivre!