Bicycle Gears?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Bicycle Gears?
9
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 11:22am
Judie, anyone who bikes? I went biking yesterday and, for the first time, went on a dirt path w/ a lot of hills. I have a 15 gear bicycle and just stay at 13 or 14 for the most part because I'm going flat. I have never figured out how to shift gears consecutively as you get lower. I have three large and five small ones. So, I can get down to 11, using the largest big gear and smallest little gear (sorry, I don't know any technical terms), but how do I get to 10? If I shift the large gear to the lower level, I end up on 6. Do I do that and quickly shift up or do I go up to 15 to shift to 10? I can't do that while going uphill. Does this make sense?





iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: cl_jeanwl
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 1:19pm
doesn't make sense to me, but i also am confused about bike gears and would like help!
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2002
In reply to: cl_jeanwl
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 3:05pm
Add me in as confused, because out of 24 I only regularly use about 4-5 of mine on the rear, always the same one in the front. I'd have to watch what was happening when I was shifting to see (or I suppose I could reason it out) if the numbers get bigger are the gears getting larger or smaller and how does it make you feel. I do know that you want to avoid shifting if you're straining really hard to go uphill, that can cause wear or damage on the chain and the teeth. I've tried keeping the same gear on the back and switching on the front, but I ended up with a lot of noise that way, so I either need to get coaching from my dad or a tuneup from the bike shop!

If I do find out, I'll let you know, otherwise we'll have to wait for another cyclist to come by!

Judie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: cl_jeanwl
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 3:18pm
That's what happened to me with all that noise and then my gears were all off. It was frustrating! That's good to know about going uphill and shifting--thanks. My bike is so old anyway and desperately in need of a tune up.





iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2002
In reply to: cl_jeanwl
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 12:34pm
Jean, I learned a little more last night talking to my dad!

The higher the gear (and on my bike, the larger the number), the fewer the teeth (on the back). I tried to read up on shifting, and all I could come up with is that it's mechanically more challenging to move the chain over a larger distance, so it seems you might want to be somewhere in the middle on the rear cassette before changing gears in the front. If you're trying to change gears under too much pressure (from pedaling too hard uphill), you can get your chain off the sprocket, so when you're changing, especially in the front, you want to make sure you're pedaling more slow than fast and on easier terrain to make it easier on your parts and pieces. My chain noise that I was talking about may be something that needs adjusting, it's not supposed to chatter in different gears (and my accident may have worsened it), so I'm going to have to take it to a bike shop to have it worked on.

Another thing I'm supposed to work on is finding out my best gear. My dad thinks I'm riding in too high a gear (pedaling too slow for the speed I'm going), which is going to make it feel like I'm pedaling uphill for 40 miles! So that's my challenge, find a gear in which I can maintain 80 rpm (I can do 100 pretty easily at the gym). I won't be able to go as fast (mph), but I'll not get as tired as fast. I had no idea it was this complicated! But if he's right, I should be able to do the mileage better with less fatigue.

Hope that helps at least with your curiosity!

Judie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: cl_jeanwl
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 12:44pm
Funny, I had a dream about this last night and I was trying to shift uphill and came to a dead stop. My bike makes that clatter sound when I shift, too. I haven't had a tune up in years.

I didn't know the rpms were important. I like keeping to the high gears because I feel like I'm doing more work. Hmmm, it's something to think about the next time I go out. Thanks for all the info. I've really been enjoying biking lately. I'm thinking of taking a mountain bike clinic as soon as my wrists heal.






iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: cl_jeanwl
Tue, 05-20-2003 - 2:41pm
i feel like i need a bike gear shifting class. all these explanations aren't making sense to me without having my bike in front of me. i guess i'll try it out and see if any of this makes more sense when i'm on my bike.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-22-2002
In reply to: cl_jeanwl
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 12:39pm
If it helps any, I played with this last night. Literally, I picked up the back end of my bike (front tire wedged into a corner of the garage), pedaled with my other arm, and stopped to shift periodically (I'm looking for where the chain is hitting the derailleurs). The highest gear in the back is the smallest and furthest from the wheel (opposite of the front)--for each turn of the crank, you are getting the most turns of the wheel. As you shift to lower gears (bigger in size, closer to the centerline of the bike), it will be easier to pedal--for each turn of the crank, you are getting fewer turns of the rear wheel, but it may be less tiring on your legs.

Your highest/hardest (like 5th gear in your car) is when you're on the biggest gear in the front and the smallest gear on the back--the chain will be as far from the centerline of your bike as it can be. Your easiest/lowest (granny gear in a pickup truck/1st in your car) is when the chain is in the smallest in the front and the biggest in the back--the chain is as close to the centerline of your bike as it can be. All of the options in between will be easier or harder depending on the differences between the gear sizes in the front and the back.

Jen, you might try standing with your bike like I did, pedaling with one hand and shifting (you can shift when the crank isn't moving), and compare the numbers on your shifters (if you've got index shifting) with what the chain is doing, it should make more sense when you see it!

And as far as my chain noise goes, both of my derailleurs need to be adjusted. :( When I'm in high gear in the back, only the largest gear in the front is quiet, the other two make the chain clink against the derailleur (will cause wear in the long run). If I stay out of the highest gear (8), it's quiet in the front. Unfortunately, the two highest gears in the back (7 and 8) are noisy on the rear derailleur, so it looks like I may have damaged it in that accident. And Jean, about noise when shifting, to get into the largest gear in the front, it can take a couple turns for the chain to get all the way up there, and it is noisy! If I were to do this while I was riding, I'd be somewhere in the middle (4-5) before doing it.

It makes more sense to me after spending 10 minutes bent over next to my bike, hopefully it will make more sense to you guys too!

Judie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: cl_jeanwl
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 12:57pm
i'm going to print this out and take a look at it at home with my bike. (nt)
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
In reply to: cl_jeanwl
Wed, 05-21-2003 - 4:47pm
Thanks for doing the legwork, judie. I'll do the same thing as jen and see it in front of me. I think I'll get it better then. Oh, maybe when I go in for a tune up I'll ask them to show me. What happened to the days of the 3-speed Schwinn?