A long time ago I had a wonderful Rahleigh internal hub 3 speed and in high school I traveled a lot of miles on that bike. Now in old age I have a Specialized 21 speed derailer commuter bike with rear baskets for going to the store for groceries.
I don't understand or use all those 21 speeds. So far I have only used 4 speeds: 2-4, 2-5, 2-6, and 2-7. So here is my dumb question:
Do the gears go up like this:
on up to:
Or do the gears go up like this:
On up to:
Too much for me to figure out, never did focus much on gearing per say. Like many riders though, I find I don't allways use all the gears just a few favorites so it's a range as well as "close" gearing that one looks for; many speeds, some just a tiny bit different inbetween. "Gear number charts" break it down also called gear calculators.
these are avilable on line as well as other explanations.
You shouldnt use 1-6, 1-7, 3-1 & 3-2 because the misalignment of the chain is bad for the system. Shifting onto a different chainring is the equivalent to changing several gears at the back. So carry on as you are, using the middle chainring most of the time. If you come to a sudden uphill, dropping down into the small chainring reduces the number of downshifts you will have to make. Similarly if you have a strong tailwind or are in 2-6 or 2-7 at the start of a long downhill shift up to the big chainring.