If you are a cycling newbie, the whole changing gears thing may be quite daunting. But if you go on avoiding using your gears, not only will you not progress your performance, you actually won’t get very far! Bicycles have gears so that you can pedal with comfort without worrying about what terrain you are faced with, ultimately making your ride much easier and of course, fun!
To help make sure you are making the most out of your bicycle and to improve your cycling performance, we have pulled together some pointers on how to change gears effectively without too much technical jargon!
Get to know your shifters
On your bike you are going to have two shifters located on your handlebars. To keep it simple, the left-hand shifters will change the front gears and the right-hand shifter will change the back gears. Now, some bikes may only have one chainring in the front, which will mean only a shifter on the right-hand side. Different brands will vary slightly but all shifters are pretty intuitive. If you are unsure, check out the manufacturers instructions or speak to your local bike shop (like us!).
Play around with the gears
The majority of geared bikes have one to three chainrings in the front (these are the rings attached the pedal crank arm) and up to 12 gears in the back. Moving the chain from the smallest to the largest helps to ease your pedalling effort in small stages. The best way to get the hang of how your gears feel when changed is to cycle somewhere quiet (you don’t want to practice this on a road) and shift through all of the gears to get to know what they feel like.
Learn when to shift
If you want to make it easier when cycling up a hill, here’s where your gears can help. It’s important to learn when you need to shift and what for, using a harder gear for example works well for flat terrain whereas lower gears are better for inclines. Get to know when to shift and when in doubt do it before the terrain changes so you don’t risk a chain slip.
1. When you want to shift onto a different gear up front, use the left shifter.
2. When you want to shift onto a different gear at the back, use the right shifter.
3. For smoother shifting, pedal slightly while changing. It’s important to not back-pedal.
4. When pedalling fast and you’ve not got enough resistance, shift into a harder gear.
5. When pedalling too slow, don’t be afraid to switch into an easier gear - It’ll be more efficient.
6. Practice makes perfect! Experiment with your shifters and learn their uses.
If you are still not quite sure about using your shifters, our Hub Team will be happy to help you get the hang of them. Call us on 01242 231690 to arrange a visit to our unit.