I'm finding that I'm using like 4 gears total as I break myself back into riding. My road bike has friction shifters, on the stem; and it just seems like too much of a hassle to crank up/down through the gears as I go. Is that normal?
Where the bike seems reasonably light, and the tires reasonably narrow, I don't seem to mind the hills quite as much. I use 1/1 (36 gear inches, 40t/30t) for starting and "tired" climbing; then seem to cruise at 1/3 (51 gear inches, 40t/21t) and crusing around 14mph. When I want to kick it up a notch, I go to 2/3 (67 gear inches, 52/21) at 18mph. Lastly, if I want to push my luck, I go top gear 2/6 (117 gear inches, 52/12 I think) and go upwards of 36mph (which hurts!).
Before you ask, my MTB has indexed shifting, and I'm quite used to banging through the gears on that. Actually, last ride I took on that, I pretty much used all 7 gears on the middle chainring (on-road only; 26 to 59 gear inches, not bothering on racing down hills).