Thursday, March 9, 2023

5 Things Beginning Cyclists Need To Know About Shifting Gears

Shifting gears is one of the most important skills for any cyclist, whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider. Shifting gears on your bike allows you to maintain a consistent cadence, increase your speed, and tackle hills and inclines with greater ease. In this blog post, we'll discuss what beginning cyclists need to know about shifting gears.

  1. Understanding Your Gears

Before you start shifting gears, it's important to understand how your bike's gears work. Most road bikes have two or three chainrings at the front and between seven and eleven cogs at the rear. The chainring at the front determines the bike's overall gear range, while the cogs at the rear allow you to fine-tune your gear selection based on the terrain you're riding on.

  1. Shift Early and Often

One of the most common mistakes that beginning cyclists make is waiting too long to shift gears. Waiting until you're struggling to maintain your cadence or grinding up a hill is not the best time to shift gears. Instead, shift early and often to maintain a consistent cadence and keep your legs fresh. Aim to shift gears before you start struggling, so you can maintain a smooth and efficient pedal stroke.

  1. Use Your Rear Derailleur

The rear derailleur is the mechanism that moves the chain from one cog to another at the rear of the bike. To shift gears, use the right-hand shifter, which controls the rear derailleur. Pushing the lever forward will shift to a harder gear, while pulling the lever backward will shift to an easier gear. Keep in mind that you should never shift gears while you're pedaling backward.

  1. Be Mindful of Your Chain Alignment

When you're shifting gears, it's important to be mindful of your chain alignment. Avoid shifting into gears that result in a severe chain angle, which can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your drivetrain. Instead, aim to shift into gears that result in a straighter chainline.

  1. Experiment with Your Gears

Finally, don't be afraid to experiment with your gears to find what works best for you. Every rider is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Practice shifting gears on different terrains and inclines to get a feel for how your bike handles in different situations. Over time, you'll develop a better understanding of how to shift gears to maintain a consistent cadence and tackle hills and inclines with ease.

Shifting gears is an essential skill for any cyclist, and it's important for beginning cyclists to understand how their gears work and how to shift efficiently. By shifting early and often, using your rear derailleur, being mindful of your chain alignment, and experimenting with your gears, you'll be well on your way to becoming a confident and skilled cyclist.