Changing Gears

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Christopher Mah, Mar 30, 2003.

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  1. I cycle in to work from Battersea to Holborn in London, and I notice that I seen to use my gears
    rather differently to others. I change gears as if I were driving so that I start of middle of the
    mid range, speed up a bit then go top range and up shift from there, then when traffic light
    approach I shift back down to middle-middle again. In London this means a lot of gear changes! A lot
    of other people on bikes though seen to stick to the high range or high gears all the time
    (necessitating a somewhat slow initial acceleration). I am wondering, am I using my gears
    incorrectly, I mean is it possible I might 'wear them out' before time by shifting so often?

    Sorry if this sounds like a silly question, but I keep wondering about it!

    --
    From the iBook of Christopher Mahon
     
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  2. On Sun, 30 Mar 2003 11:27:42 +0100, Christopher Mahon did issue forth:

    > I cycle in to work from Battersea to Holborn in London, and I notice that I seen to use my gears
    > rather differently to others. I change gears as if I were driving so that I start of middle of the
    > mid range, speed up a bit then go top range and up shift from there, then when traffic light
    > approach I shift back down to middle-middle again. In London this means a lot of gear changes! A
    > lot of other people on bikes though seen to stick to the high range or high gears all the time
    > (necessitating a somewhat slow initial acceleration). I am wondering, am I using my gears
    > incorrectly, I mean is it possible I might 'wear them out' before time by shifting so often?

    What you have described there is the same way that I ride. Yes, you might wear things on the bike
    out slightly faster, but by spinning away from lights in a fairly easy gear, you're not going to
    wear your knees out.

    --
    Huw Pritchard Replace bounce with huw to reply by mail
     
  3. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Christopher Mahon wrote:
    > I cycle in to work from Battersea to Holborn in London, and I notice that I seen to use my gears
    > rather differently to others. I change gears as if I were driving so that I start of middle of the
    > mid range, speed up a bit then go top range and up shift from there, then when traffic light
    > approach I shift back down to middle-middle again. In London this means a lot of gear changes! A
    > lot of other people on bikes though seen to stick to the high range or high gears all the time
    > (necessitating a somewhat slow initial acceleration). I am wondering, am I using my gears
    > incorrectly, I mean is it possible I might 'wear them out' before time by shifting so often?

    Some are doing it deliberately because they don't mind starting in high gears*, but most people in
    London simply don't know how to use their gears and hardly shift at all. So your technique is more
    "correct" than theirs! Wear won't be much of an issue unless using crossed-over gears a lot (eg.
    small chainring with smallest rear cogs).

    My guess is that you've got a mountain bike or hybrid with a triple chainset with something like
    22-32-42 chainrings - which are not very well suited to city cycling in my opinion. Changing the
    middle ring for a larger size would mean you could use it for more of the time without having to
    shift up to the big ring so often. But no point in changing anything if you're happy with what
    you've got and it all works well.

    * I'm one of those people when on my road bike (with a triple). I use the 39 tooth middle ring
    mostly in London and can't be bothered to change down to a low gear for every stop, plus I find it
    easy and fun to rapidly accelerate the (lightweight) bike from a high gear (compared to what you'd
    probably use). I blast past all the mountain bikers with just a couple of pedals! :) It may look
    like the roadies are struggling away in a big gear but it's quite easy really with the right
    technique.

    ~PB
     
  4. In news:[email protected], Huw Pritchard
    <[email protected]> typed:

    > On Sun, 30 Mar 2003 11:27:42 +0100, Christopher Mahon did issue forth:
    >> I am wondering, am I using my gears incorrectly, I mean is it possible I might 'wear them out'
    >> before time by shifting so often?
    >
    > What you have described there is the same way that I ride. Yes, you might wear things on the bike
    > out slightly faster, but by spinning away from lights in a fairly easy gear, you're not going to
    > wear your knees out.

    Aye. You can always buy new chainrings and cassettes from any LBS, and they aren't *that* expensive.

    It is a far more difficult matter to procure a new set of *knees*, even if you are on BUPA :)

    Alex
     
  5. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "Christopher Mahon" <[email protected]_nospam_ac.com> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > I am wondering, am I using my gears incorrectly, I mean is it possible I might 'wear them out'
    > before time by shifting so often?

    Gears are replaceable -- knees aren't. Your doing it about right.

    T
     
  6. Msa

    Msa Guest

    Pete Biggs <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    plus I find it easy and fun to rapidly
    > accelerate the (lightweight) bike from a high gear (compared to what you'd probably use). I blast
    > past all the mountain bikers with just a couple of pedals! :)

    Bloody show off, people like you give roadies a bad name!!!!!!!!!!

    :)

    --
    Mark
    ____________________________
    Practice does not make perfect... Perfect practice makes perfect

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    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
    Version: 6.0.465 / Virus Database: 263 - Release Date: 25/03/03
     
  7. W K

    W K Guest

    "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message news:[email protected]

    > My guess is that you've got a mountain bike or hybrid with a triple chainset with something like
    > 22-32-42 chainrings - which are not very well suited to city cycling in my opinion.

    unless its san fransisco or sheffield?

    Although actually I was going to say I never use the little ring, but I do - on a spiral ramp of
    the car park.
     
  8. Call Me Bob

    Call Me Bob Guest

    On Sun, 30 Mar 2003 15:22:53 +0000 (UTC), "W K" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Although actually I was going to say I never use the little ring, but I do - on a spiral ramp of
    >the car park.
    >

    You do lots of cycling in multi-storey car parks do you?

    :eek:)

    Bob
    --
    Mail address is spam trapped To reply by email remove the beverage
     
  9. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "Christopher Mahon" <[email protected]_nospam_ac.com> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Sorry if this sounds like a silly question, but I keep wondering about it!

    I think you're doing it right. The idea, as already suggested, is that you should spin the pedals
    quite fast rather than stomp them up and down, it's easier on zee knees. Gears are there to be used,
    you could manage with only one but why? <waits for replies about lack of complexity, less to go
    wrong etc.> ;-)

    Pete
     
  10. "W K" <[email protected]> wrote:

    |
    | "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message news:[email protected]
    |
    | > My guess is that you've got a mountain bike or hybrid with a triple chainset with something like
    | > 22-32-42 chainrings - which are not very well suited to city cycling in my opinion.
    |
    | unless its san fransisco or sheffield?
    |
    | Although actually I was going to say I never use the little ring, but I do - on a spiral ramp of
    | the car park.

    I have 22-32-42 + 9spd 11-28 and use the entire range in my 3 mile commute, both ways. The middle
    ring is used whenever it doesn't look like a hill but actually it is. The lowest gets used several
    times for some cycle lanes put up some very steep but short roads, plus Pitsmoor Road. I did once
    get the "might as well get off and walk mate" line but I just thought "but I get to sit down and do
    the same speed as you for less effort".

    --
    Patrick Herring, Sheffield, UK http://www.anweald.co.uk
     
  11. peter

    peter Guest

    On Sun, 30 Mar 2003 20:49:23 GMT, [email protected] (Patrick Herring) wrote:

    >Road. I did once get the "might as well get off and walk mate" line but I just thought "but I get
    >to sit down and do the same speed as you for less effort".

    Hmmm, I'm not so sure - spinning legs around compared to walking. Getting off the bike and pushing
    it used to be something I'd never do
    - I've been defeated! But after having 20 miles 'normal' cycling left in me and losing it all on a
    half mile hill I now get off and push. It may be the same effort - I don't know - but walking and
    having a break from the saddle retains that 20 mile for me.

    Regards,

    Pete
     
  12. W K

    W K Guest

    "Call me Bob" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Sun, 30 Mar 2003 15:22:53 +0000 (UTC), "W K" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >Although actually I was going to say I never use the little ring, but I
    do -
    > >on a spiral ramp of the car park.
    > >
    >
    > You do lots of cycling in multi-storey car parks do you?

    Actually...

    The car park at work is about 2-3 floors up, and comes at the end of 90mins of moderately
    undulating road.

    Going up is fun, but coming down in the wet can be interesting - esp as even knees and elbows don't
    stop you immediately on such a thing.
     
  13. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Patrick Herring wrote:

    >>> My guess is that you've got a mountain bike or hybrid with a triple chainset with something like
    >>> 22-32-42 chainrings - which are not very well suited to city cycling in my opinion.

    > I have 22-32-42 + 9spd 11-28 and use the entire range in my 3 mile commute, both ways. The middle
    > ring is used whenever it doesn't look like a hill but actually it is. The lowest gets used several
    > times for some cycle lanes put up some very steep but short roads, plus Pitsmoor Road. I did once
    > get the "might as well get off and walk mate" line but I just thought "but I get to sit down and
    > do the same speed as you for less effort".

    1) I was really thinking of central London when I said "city cycling" (as the OP rides in London).
    2) I know a big range can be useful but mountain bike triples aren't as conveniently arranged for
    urban road riding as road triples (or doubles and singles). A larger middle ring provides
    suitable gears for all the following: climbing gentle hills, cruising along on the flat and
    going quite fast down moderate hills, with the other two rings saved purely for steep hills and
    belting it. You have to use the big ring more with an MTB.
    3) I've got nothing against granny gears and know that they are useful even within the London area:
    eg. Hampstead.
    4) ...er, I've forgotten what my fourth point was.

    ~PB
     
  14. "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote: ...
    | 1) I was really thinking of central London when I said "city cycling" (as the OP rides in
    | London).

    True. In reply to the OP I too used a lot of gears commuting in London, even though my route was
    nominally flat. I don't think I used the lowest though.

    | 2) I know a big range can be useful but mountain bike triples aren't as conveniently arranged for
    | urban road riding as road triples (or doubles and singles). A larger middle ring provides
    | suitable gears for all the following: climbing gentle hills, cruising along on the flat and
    | going quite fast down moderate hills, with the other two rings saved purely for steep hills
    | and belting it. You have to use the big ring more with an MTB.

    But if you're changing gear all over the place anyway it's not much more effort.

    It just so happens that there's a longish uphill stretch of my journey in which the steepest bit can
    be done with middle chainring plus largest sprocket, so if I had a larger middle chainring I'd be
    defeating the purpose you describe. Roll on variable ratio gearing systems. A cyclist friend of mine
    is keen on that idea but I can't see how it could be done. Mind you he's also keen on VTOL
    microlights as a mode of personal transport, and I've never been able to convince him that that idea
    is unlikely to fly either...

    --
    Patrick Herring, Sheffield, UK http://www.anweald.co.uk
     
  15. In article <[email protected]>,
    "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote:

    > My guess is that you've got a mountain bike or hybrid with a triple chainset with something like
    > 22-32-42 chainrings - which are not very well suited to city cycling in my opinion. Changing the
    > middle ring for a larger size would mean you could use it for more of the time without having to
    > shift up to the big ring so often. But no point in changing anything if you're happy with what
    > you've got and it all works well.

    Yep a hybrid here. It seems that the gearing is defintely higher on my hybrid compared to most of
    the mountain bikes I see, which is nice. Thanks for all the comments (still reading) very
    re-assuring :)

    --
    From the iBook of Christopher Mahon
     
  16. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    MSA wrote:

    >> plus I find it easy and fun to rapidly accelerate the (lightweight) bike from a high gear
    >> (compared to what you'd probably use). I blast past all the mountain bikers with just a couple of
    >> pedals!
    >
    > Bloody show off, people like you give roadies a bad name!!!!!!!!!!
    > :)

    Since I've just got the one trumpet, I blow it hard! :)

    ~PB
     
  17. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    > Roll on variable ratio gearing systems. A cyclist friend of mine is keen on that idea but I can't
    > see how it could be done.

    I remember seeing one on Tomorrow's World some years ago, with a chainwheel that automatically
    expanded and contracted. Must have been belt drive, but I can't recall the details.

    ~PB
     
  18. On Sun, 30 Mar 2003 11:27:42 +0100, contributor Christopher Mahon had scribed:
    > A lot of other people on bikes though seen to stick to the high range or high gears all the time
    > (necessitating a somewhat slow initial acceleration). I am wondering, am I using my gears
    > incorrectly, I mean is it possible I might 'wear them out' before time by shifting so often?
    >
    > Sorry if this sounds like a silly question, but I keep wondering about it!
    >

    If is flat or flattish you don't need a lot of gear changes. I don't change gear often but remain on
    the middle chainring (38T) with third smallest sprocket (17T) when starting and remain there until I
    am either descending significantly (move to 15T or 13T or with good tail wind/burst of adrenaline
    then hit the big chainring, 48T) or ascending significantly (where shift is needed to ease the work
    on the knees).

    Gary

    --

    The email address is for newsgroups purposes only and therefore unlikely to be read.

    For contact via email use my real name with an underscore separator at the domain of CompuServe.
     
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