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Old 10-22-04, 09:36 AM   #1
HiYoSilver
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Them dar Stop signs are killing me - help

Getting back in biking shape is a pain. I'm learning how to handle hills again and to shift gears without falling over, but those dang blasted stop signs are killing me. I was doing fine until the first stop and then it was pain from then on.

Without blowing thru the stop signs, how do you adjust to these annoyances?

Problems I am finding:

1. Starting up hurts, because I am in a medium/low range gear, but not consistent as to what gear I am in. I usually just shift the front shifter from High/Medium to Medium/low. Sometimes I think of shifting too late, and starting is a pain. Even if I have shifted, the first few revolutions hurt the top of the thighs.

2. I am trying to clear the intersection, so I push a little harder and being out of shape, I am forced to drop a few gears from where I was before the stop.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Huff
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Old 10-22-04, 11:14 AM   #2
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I just shift down before stops and when getting back up to speed shift back up. It is second nature.
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Old 10-22-04, 11:23 AM   #3
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Huffypuffy:

Are you shifting the front or the back? If I'm in a part of town with a lot of stop signs, I find it a lot easier to stay in the middle ring in front and go up and down the cogs in back. Like Noisebeam, I just shift to a larger cog as I approach the stop sign. It gets more natural everyday.

Also, I usually don't unclip and put a foot down. Just a quick trackstand and go. That's a skill that eventually became easier the more I did it.
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Old 10-22-04, 01:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
Huffypuffy:

Are you shifting the front or the back? If I'm in a part of town with a lot of stop signs, I find it a lot easier to stay in the middle ring in front and go up and down the cogs in back. Like Noisebeam, I just shift to a larger cog as I approach the stop sign. It gets more natural everyday.
I do the same thing. I shift from ninth to sixth because I'm more comfortable starting in the lower gear plus the fact that it's healthier for the drivetrain (and my knees for that matter). It took a bit of trial and error to find the right combination, especially after coming from an eight speed MTB cassette to the nine speed road cassette I currently run.
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Old 10-22-04, 02:13 PM   #5
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Well, I think it is rear, but haven't automatically associated right with rear and left with front.
Sometimes I mean to switch the rear and switch the front. Or even worst, mean to shift down and shift up instead.

If I'm coming down hill, I try to shift the front. If more level, try to shift the rear. If uphill may try shifted both front and rear.

Huff
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Old 10-22-04, 02:28 PM   #6
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Huff: Most (all?) bikes are set up so that the left is front and right is rear. Just keep at it, it'll become second nature.
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Old 10-22-04, 02:28 PM   #7
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I have 19 stop signs and 12 sets of traffic lights on my 10-11 mile commute (yes, I was bored one day and counted them) which forced me to quickly learn the technique that others have mentioned of downshifting before you stop. It took a couple of weeks to stop shifting up when I meant to shift down and shifting the front when I meant to shift the back and it's reasonably second nature now - the only time I occasionally forget is on a busy dual-lane road where I have to get up to 25 so I can shift across 2 lanes of traffic without getting squished and then come to a stop and shift down in about 30 feet for the inevitable red light in the direction I want to go in.
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Old 10-22-04, 03:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huffypuffy
1. Starting up hurts, because I am in a medium/low range gear, but not consistent as to what gear I am in. I usually just shift the front shifter from High/Medium to Medium/low. Sometimes I think of shifting too late, and starting is a pain. Even if I have shifted, the first few revolutions hurt the top of the thighs.
The top of the thigh thing will clear up soon. Just tough it out for a week or two.
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Old 10-22-04, 04:58 PM   #9
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I am glad to hear that you stop at those stop signs and signals. Too many cyclist blow through them and give us all a bad name. So with that said; I don't know if you've tried standing up in order to power away from a near or total stop. I ride a single speed and that's my only alternative - that, and choosing a gear that I can repeatedly mash up to cruising speed in the first place. A lot of cyclists frown on standing in nearly any situation. But if your knees are hurting you from sitting as you grunt away from stops, getting out of the saddle might help tremendously. You'll be using different muscles (including your upper body), minimizing the strain to the ligaments around your knees, maximizing your leg extension and using your weight to gain momentum. I do this at nearly every stop and I get up to speed and back in the saddle by the time I clear the intersection.
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Old 10-22-04, 06:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huffypuffy
Getting back in biking shape is a pain. I'm learning how to handle hills again and to shift gears without falling over, but those dang blasted stop signs are killing me. I was doing fine until the first stop and then it was pain from then on.

Without blowing thru the stop signs, how do you adjust to these annoyances?

Problems I am finding:

1. Starting up hurts, because I am in a medium/low range gear, but not consistent as to what gear I am in. I usually just shift the front shifter from High/Medium to Medium/low. Sometimes I think of shifting too late, and starting is a pain. Even if I have shifted, the first few revolutions hurt the top of the thighs.

2. I am trying to clear the intersection, so I push a little harder and being out of shape, I am forced to drop a few gears from where I was before the stop.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Huff

What's obvious from your post is that you're not used to shifting. Ride around your residential neighborhood and practice on the front rings(left), then practice on the back (right). When you've practiced enough it will become natural to do it. I agree with other posters that you could leave your front gear in the middle, and just shift in the back for flat, city riding.
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Old 10-22-04, 08:47 PM   #11
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Check out your state(if you live in the US) driving handbook. In some of the states I have lived in making a full stop is not required. With the slower speeds on a bike you have much more time to judge the situation than you do in a car. In these states a stop sign equals a yield sign if you are on a bike.
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Old 10-22-04, 09:57 PM   #12
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I've become quite good @ downshifting the front and back @ the same time, for when I know I'll need the acceleration. I find I don't put pressure on my knees if I "spin" in low gears more then "push" on high gears to accelerate. Once you got some good speed, you up shift both, and you got a nice strong gear to keep up your momentum.

Of course, this requires responsive gears.
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Old 10-22-04, 10:11 PM   #13
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Stop signs are your friends. If you come to a complete stop and have to unclip then you get practice clipping and unclipping. It will soon become second nature. I have even caught myself attempting to unclip from my gas pedal when I'm driving.

Coming to a complete stop also means you can practice getting up to speed when you start. Lets you practice shifting.
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Old 10-23-04, 11:35 PM   #14
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I find standing very effective ... but I also plan what gear I want to be in while I'm stopping
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Old 10-24-04, 09:17 AM   #15
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Blow the stop sign
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