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Old 08-31-05, 03:46 AM   #1
Old ButTrying
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How do I use gears and speeds

All new to me as got my first bike today. (Titan Hyperional 26" )51 years young. L/H control 1,2,3. R/H control 7speed. Never rode a bike with gears before last memory age 5 or something borrowed bike no gears back peddle brake. Rode my bike today(5 minutes) back peddle brake not there ,oh on the bars lol. Was told where I bought bike (left 1/ right 1 ) when I confident enough to ride my hilly street.They said leave left control on 2 , said 3 is for granny, (I am one ). Dont know how speed should be set. Did not fall off today, (5 mins) less handle bar wobble but unfit tied legs. Any help for me?
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Old 08-31-05, 05:51 AM   #2
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The left hand makes big changes in gearing. The right hand makes smaller changes. For normal riding on fairly flat terrain you probably want to ride in 2 on the left hand and pick a gear on the right hand that alllows you to pedal comfortably at a rate of 75 or greater pedals per minute. I think the best thing to do is find a nice level area, select 2 on the left hand and then experiment by using all of your right hand gears to see how they feel.
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Old 08-31-05, 07:07 AM   #3
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The left hand control moves the chain on the front gears (by the pedals; these are called "chain rings"). The right hand control moves the chain on the back gears (on the rear hub; these are called "cogs").

You can only shift while turning the pedals. Shifting simply "pushes" the chain sideways; it needs to be moving in order to actually jump to the adjacent ring or cog.

Find some level ground. Put the left shifter into the middle (2) position (lift the back wheel and turn the pedals if necessary to move the chain). The chain should now be on the middle chain ring in front. Put the right shifter into the (1) position (again, turn the pedals). That should move the chain to the largest (leftmost) cog in the back.

Now start riding. When you're moving smoothly, move the right shifter to the (2) position. The chain will move to the second-to-largest cog. You should be going a little faster now. This is just like shifting from first gear to second gear in a car. On level ground, you can probably continue shifting to 5 or 6. By that time, you will be moving much faster, and it will be increasingly hard to pedal.

If you start to go up a hill, it will quickly get hard to pedal. Now you need to downshift, so click the right side back a position or two toward (1). If the hill is really steep, you can get even lower gears by moving the LEFT shifter to the (3) position. That will move the chain to the smallest (leftmost) chain ring.

The key is that you have to shift to respond to changes in terrain (and winds). You have to practice, with the goal to be able to keep your pedals turning at a fairly rapid and constant pace (called "cadence").

For starting out, though, don't worry too much about it. Just have fun and concentrate on riding safely. When you go up hill, shift the right side to lower numbers; when it gets easy to pedal, shift the right side to higher numbers. When you are comfortable with the right side, you can start playing with the left side to see what that does for you...
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Old 08-31-05, 07:17 AM   #4
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Your Local Bike Store (LBS) where you bought your bike should have a "trainer" where you can sit on your bike with the rear wheel off of the ground an practice shifting to learn how to do it. Shame on them if they don't and for not having you do this prior to sending you out the door. Go back there and ask if you can do that.

Or, many bicyclists have a trainer in their garage or basement,

Do this until it feels comfortable.
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Old 08-31-05, 02:20 PM   #5
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Thank you all very much for the fast replies.The head understands it a bit better now. Lets hope the unfit body will.Today I shall find something safe to put the bike up on and practice, I live out of town and makes hard for me to go back to LBS for training.

Can Or Can't Teach an OLD DOG new Tricks?
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Old 08-31-05, 04:29 PM   #6
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To obtain the smoothest, most reliable shifts, be sure to downshift early, before you are mashing the cranks too hard and too slowly. While shifting, most veterans will instinctively ease up on the pedal torque, spinning the cranks gently.

If you get interested in bicycle gearing, you may want to set up a simple Excel spreadsheet. Head columns B, C, and D with the number of teeth on each chainring. In cells A2 through A8, enter the number of teeth in each of your seven rear cogs. Now, each cell entry B2 through D8 is 27 (26 for a mountain bike) x the number of chainring teeth / the number of cog teeth. The resulting "gear-inch" numbers are proportional to pedal effort and inversely proportional to pedaling speed. They will give you a good idea of the overlap among your three 7-speed ranges of gears and will let you know how much overall range you have.
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Old 08-31-05, 05:41 PM   #7
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Bit advanced for me yet John But thanks I will keep in mind to change down early, if I get that far. I am like a new kid learning to ride for the first time, but without training wheels. I am nowhere near game enough yet to take it to the road am still learning to balance and steer. I am riding in 2 gear and 1 speed. I live on a sloped block, when going down slope not peddling and speed picks up, and I get nervous and feel I need to slow down what is the best way, Just giving short bursts on the brakes, bar brake levers new to me also. Very unfit thats why a bought a bike and spent dollars on a new one so I would not throw the towel in, only doing about 5 mins then out of breath have rest and go out again and try again a bit later. Thanks
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Old 08-31-05, 06:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old ButTrying
Today I shall find something safe to put the bike up on and practice...
You can't just put the bike on anything. You have to get the back wheel off the ground with the bike being supported so it doesn't fall over - like this.
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Old 08-31-05, 06:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Your Local Bike Store (LBS) where you bought your bike should have a "trainer" where you can sit on your bike with the rear wheel off of the ground an practice shifting to learn how to do it. Shame on them if they don't and for not having you do this prior to sending you out the door. Go back there and ask if you can do that.

Or, many bicyclists have a trainer in their garage or basement,

Do this until it feels comfortable.
I said "Trainer" not training wheels without realizing that you may not know what a trainer is.

Please don't use training wheels - you could get killed.
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Old 08-31-05, 06:24 PM   #10
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Thanks. The training wheels was a joke. I am just going to keep at it. They say practice makes perfect. Perfect a long way off for me, if ever but going to keep trying. If I can only ride 5 mins a time, I will do it several times a day can only go forward and get fitter from here not backwards. Maybe next week I will be ready to ride on my road but not until I am more confident. Having a few laughs at myself on the way and sorry I did not look after myself better in my younger years.
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Old 09-01-05, 05:53 AM   #11
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On my MTB putting the left shifter into 3 puts in the largest ring not the smallest. Other than that good advice here. Just keep at it I'm 62 and road my first century this year.

Good luck

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Old 09-01-05, 09:33 AM   #12
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At 51 you're not old around here, not at all. I got back into biking at age 52, that was ten years ago. Now I have three road bikes, ride 3000 miles or more a year, and race. I can't think of a healthier, more enjoyable sport, it can really grow on you.

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Old 09-01-05, 11:21 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old ButTrying
Very unfit thats why a bought a bike and spent dollars on a new one so I would not throw the towel in, only doing about 5 mins then out of breath have rest and go out again and try again a bit later. Thanks
Most of the information given on this forum is how to improve riding to bikers with some exoperience. Just face it, with your limited experience it is going to be an achievement for you to do a 10 mile ride. The best advice we can all offer you is to keep practicing. I have a training role with youngsters at a local school, But you are even out of my field.

My advice is for you to stay within your limits on energy used and on speed. Make certain that you are confident on gear changing and riding before going to the shops, but keep practicing and keep riding. By the way, Make certain you have a good lock for when you do want to take the thing out and park up for a cup of coffee, or into the shops for a bit of browsing. My wife had a lock on her bike (15 years ago now) but it was still stolen due to it being a cheap lock.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:41 AM   #14
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This is what I recommend to my BikeEd students, it works great by keeping it simple:

You got a good advice from the shop, leave the chain on the middle front ring (left shifter on #2) and use the largest cog (granny) for the rear for going uphill and starting, then try moving to the second and third largest cog as the terrain goes flatter and you are picking up speed.

Only use these three speeds until you get the concept and can change gears without even looking at the shifters numbers and you feel that you are pedaling more effortlessly then the use of the other gears will come naturally.
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Old 09-01-05, 02:51 PM   #15
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Thanks Joe 3 is the largest on mine too I just checked. Going to try road today have hill in both directions so I will just see how far up it I can get today and then I can see I am getting better the further up I can get each day.Thanks again great site with great helpful people.
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Old 09-01-05, 09:37 PM   #16
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I have to laugh at your screen name and then see your age. I just bought my first road bike 2 months ago and just turned 64. I've just been through the same learning curve phase you are in now and you've received some good advice on gear changing and shifting. You'll soon be doing it by feel for left front and right rear shifting/gear changes. Practice makes perfect!

Being a distance runner, aerobic conditioning was not an issue with me. But, I'm certainly using different muscles and having to condition them as well as my butt to the stresses of cycling. You'll be just fine. Keep at it!! Just ride!!
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Old 09-02-05, 12:52 PM   #17
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One comment on choosing a gear.

Someone pointed out to try to pedal at 75 RPM or higher, which is good advice.

However, it may take a little time to get used to pedalling at a certain rate. I would suggest picking a gear that you feel good with on particular terrain and then move one down on the right shifter. and try to keep the same speed. This will tend to move your RPM up a little. I think the natural tendency is to pedal a little slower than what really works best (before I played with my cadence I was hovering around 50 RPM). Once you get used to faster cadence and shifting you will be able to naturally get into the right gear without any thought.

The reason that cadence is important is efficiency and also if you pedal too slowly all the time it could lead to leg issues, it did with me. This might be especially true if you have any existing issues with your knees or legs.
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Old 09-04-05, 09:22 PM   #18
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All those gears be it 3, 10, 21 are there for you to chose from to keep your standard pedaling cadence the same speed no matter what the road conditions, up hill, head wind, flat, down hill, or just plain tired out! It's up to you to learn what gear is the one you use the most at a cadence you can put out all day long. Eventually as you get fit and strong you will find that you will probably use just one gear for the most of your cycling on flat terrain. That gear should be something positioned in about the midde of your range of gears. It is to your very best interest to go to www.sheldonbrown.com and others and learn how to calculate your Gear Inches (gear-in-inches). Knowing how to calculate your gears in terms of GI and making a personal gear chart you will move into the relm of advanced cycling. All my bikes have a small gear chart taped to the handlebars. This way i control my choice of gears very acurately. Rapido, intercity road trips since 1959.
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