Gears are an important component of bicycles because they allow you to maintain a comfortable pedaling speed when riding. A standard bike has several gears that you can choose to use on different terrains. Each of them has a unique ability that you can control when the situation needs it.
Changing gears while you are riding can be a bit tricky. I know that this was where I was most challenged when I started riding my mountain bike. But through constant practicing, you’ll eventually get the hang of it and it will soon become a natural reflex as you ride.
For beginners, I’d like to give you a few helpful tips on how to properly shift gears.
Different bikes have varying sets of gears. It's important to know how many yours has so you can identify the lowest and highest speeds your bicycle has. Most gear setups can be divided into the front and rear. To find out what your highest speed capacity is, simply count the number of gears in front and at the back, and multiple them (i.e. 4 gears and 5 gears means your highest speed is 20).
Once you are able to pinpoint this, you’ll be able to successfully shift gears on your bike.
As a standard rule, when your bike is in a lower gear, it is much easier for you to pedal but it produces less power. On the other hand, as you reach higher levels, there is more resistance on your pedals, however, you are able to emit stronger power.
You should be able to remember this when you are riding because you can shift gears depending on the terrain that you’re on. If you are on an uphill climb, it might be better to shift to lower levels, while downhill cycling would cause you to ride at higher ones. Its all about just knowing when to use them and matching it to your riding style.
Another basic rule to keep in mind is how to shift the front and rear gears. Bicycles normally have two levers on each side of the handlebar. The right one is used to control the rear gears, while the left one is for the front ones. Every time you grasp the control, you are increasing a gear on each of your wheels.
Things may seem very technical now, so my suggestion is practice, practice, and practice some more. Start off by cycling in an even environment without obstructions. Slowly change gears as you are pedaling and take note of the changes in your speed. Repeat this until you get more comfortable.
Once you’ve mastered this, move to a more challenging location. Ride on planes that are a lot bumpier or have some uphill and downhill paths. Cycling on these will heighten your reflexes and allow you shift gears much quicker.
Practicing also helps you to be in-tune with your bike. The longer you ride, the more clearly you will be able to understand how it works. This is a crucial step to master because shifting gears has a lot to do with impulse. While theoretical information can help you understand, truly improving will entail a lot of experience.
Similar to a lot of skills, the experience will always be the best teacher. You’ll learn far more actually riding than reading about it. Be sure to practice as often as possible, evaluate your mistakes, and learn from it. After a while, you’ll know how the body is slowly adapting how to shift gears on a bike properly through your reflexes and other body movements.
Happy riding to you!
I'm extremely passionate about biking. Cycling has taught me so many important lessons in life, but none more important than this: No matter where life takes you, your friends will always have your back.