How to Change Speeds on a Road Bike

Shimano_xt_rear_gears_derailleurRoad bikes provide a variety of options when it comes to changing your riding speed. There are multiple gears on the bike that provide both coarse and fine changes in gears to help maneuver the bike better. In the cockpit, as the handlebar is called, the left shifter mechanism takes care of the front gears while the right one takes care of the rear gears. The front brakes and rear brakes will help to decelerate,

Fine Tuning With Rear Gears

There are usually more number of gears on the back than in the front. The gears in the back are used for fine tuning the resistance while cycling.  This is done using the right hand. The basic brake lever only serves to slow you down, so don’t mistake this for your shifter.  The shifter controls the gears. It moves sideways, and with every click, it moves the rear chain up and make that gear a little bit easier. There is another lever right behind the first, which is used to move the gear down and to increase the resistance level. There are different shifters out therewith different ways of shifting.

Using the Front Gears

The front gears are used for coarser control of the bike. So, if you are riding at a high speed, downhill, and with the wind, you would like to change gears to a high resistance. On the other hand, in a reverse situation, you can dial the resistance down using the front gears. The controls for the front gears fall on the left hand. To shift from a lower gear to a higher gear, you need to push the big lever inward. To shift to a lower gear, push the shifter which makes your effort easier. Keep in mind that this is exactly opposite to the controls for the rear gear.

Practice, Practice, Practice

All this information may make road biking seem like quite a complex affair. But it is really not. It is only a matter of practice before you start controlling the brakes like your second nature. Practice will engrave the various controls in your head and you will be able to move quickly as the situation demands. Timing is everything because this is what will help you smoothly transition between gears. When you first start from a stop, you will want to start from a lower gear. As you accelerate, shift up.

Master the Coordination

Once you have learned the basics, the next level is mastering the coordination between the front and the rear gears. The first step is to know what to avoid. Topping the list of Don’ts is cross-chain. This happens when the front gear is set for the least resistance with the back gear for the highest resistance, and vice versa. If this happens, you will experience high friction and noise, a sure sign that you are a rookie.

Understand Terrain

Know the terrain you will be cycling in. This will not spring up any surprises on you, and you will be able to enjoy a smooth ride. You should be able to effectively control your bike speed and keep it from moving too fast or taking up too much energy to move. This will happen if you know how to easily shift gears. You will not only be more comfortable with gear co-ordination, but will also enjoy the whole experience of cycling much more.

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