I know that I will get smoother at shifting and using my gearing more efficiently, but I currently suck. I have 3 rings up front and 8 cogs in the rear. Spending time on some web sites I know a little bit about the gear ratios, but I don’t really need to go into that at this time.
On the largest chain-ring I should not use the largest cog and when I am on the smallest chain-ring I should not use the largest cog. This is because of the angle the chain takes is bad for the chain and the sprockets as I understand it. Using the smallest chain-ring with the largest cog/sprocket gives me the least resistance to pedal against. This would be used for climbing etc.
Next, I know that I need to change gears while pedaling forward, but not mashing the gears. The optimal gearing would allow me to keep me at my ideal cadence/spinning. This is supposed to be the best use of my energy while riding.
Ok, that is what I know. I have problems judging the ‘throw’ of the shift levers to solidly set my chain on chain-ring and cog. It seems that I constantly hear the chain chattering until I play with the shifter for a while. This seems to be bad form. I should be throwing the shifter in the perfect spot to move the chain fully from cog to cog and chain-ring to chain-ring. How do I mange to do this? Is it just time and feel? Is this a sign that my front and rear derailers are out of alignment?
Is it proper to jump gears in one swoop, or should I be changing one gear at a time? I seem to really get messed up when I am moving to different terrain. There are a lot of hills where I ride. The bike will stall as I move up a hill in a big gear and then I find myself spinning uselessly as I go down a hill or onto a flat. Because I am so pitiful at shifting I stay in the middle chain-ring and move between the middle three cogs.
Spinning is supposed to remain at my optimal cadence. How does this work with climbing? Even in the smallest gear I have I need to mash pedals to go up my hills. Well, go up them until I need to walk. Are you guys able to spin up the big hills, or do you need to mash the pedals as well?