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View Full Version : Changing Gears - New Rider!! Help!!



ang75
04-01-2005, 09:02 PM
Hi there,

I'm brand new to this cycling sport and have recently purchased a Trek Road bike. What I'm wanting to know is what is the right way to change gears going up hill :confused: !!

I'm reasonably fit, but some of the hills I ride are like Mt Everest so do I change down to the smallest gear (I think that is what its called), on the front left gears first (there are 3 gears on the left side and I think 8 on the right), and then change down on the right once I have been thru all 3 on the left or is this wrong???

OR Am I supposed to alternate between left and right (front and back gears)when going up hill???

The reason I ask is the chain keeps coming off despite it being adjusted and readjusted!!! It never comes off for the specialists and is ALWAYS coming off for me going up hill.. :mad:

I know I'm doing something wrong, and it is always when I change gears. Should I even be changing gears going up hill????

Please please please someone must be able to help me!! ;)
Ang :o

DeniseGoldberg
04-02-2005, 03:11 AM
Ang -
First, welcome to the board, and congrats on your bicycle purchase!

It's possible that the gears need to be adjusted, but it's also possible that you're causing the chain to be in a position it wasn't intended to be in. Although your bike techincally has 24 gears (from your description of 3 x 8), the chain doesn't do well if you use the outside cog on the rear with the inside chainring on the front. That is, you really don't have 24 gears!

Are you shifting to the small (inside) chain ring in the front while the chain is on a small (outside) gear in the back (right shifter)? If so, that could be contributing to the problem; it puts the chain in what could be considered an unnatural position - stretched and angled. Sheldon Brown has an article about shifting gears that you might find helpful. It's at http://sheldonbrown.com/gears.html.

When you say the "specialists" don't have the same problem with your bike, I assume you mean someone at the bike shop. If so, did they test the shifting only a repair stand? Or did they ride the bike? If only on the repair stand, and if you think you're not asking the chain to do a stressful cross-over, ask them to take the bike out for a spin.

Hope this helps - if not, post another question!
--- Denise

CorsairMac
04-03-2005, 09:09 PM
Hi there,
I'm reasonably fit, but some of the hills I ride are like Mt Everest so do I change down to the smallest gear (I think that is what its called), on the front left gears first (there are 3 gears on the left side and I think 8 on the right), and then change down on the right once I have been thru all 3 on the left or is this wrong???
OR Am I supposed to alternate between left and right (front and back gears)when going up hill???
Ang :o

Howdy Ang and welcome to the board. The answer to your question regarding the gears is: the 3 gears on the left side control the front chainrings (the ones your pedal comes out of) and the 8 on the right side control the cassette in the back. As for shifting, the bigger the front chainring, the harder it is to pedal. The smaller, the easier. The back is the opposite, the smaller the ring, the harder it is.
That being said, when climbing a hill, or just riding in general, you should try to shift down the gears in the back first BUT: like Denise said watch out for "cross-gearing". The chain should never look like this: \ or this: / as that stresses the chain and could be what is causing it to jump. Also, when climbing try to anticipate the lower gear Before you really need it. Shifting gears when really pushing hard against the pedals while climbing also stresses the chain and the gears.
Hope this helps and have fun!! Let us know how it works out!

PS: COngrats on the new bike!!!!

MomOnBike
04-04-2005, 07:47 AM
Ang - One other thing on shifting.

In addition to keeping the chaing more or less straight (as opposed to slanted), you should back off a bit on your power when you shift. Think of it as letting up a bit on the gas in the car when you downshift. Actually, come to think of it, that's exactly what you are doing.

This reduces the strain on the moving parts so they can move over nicely.

I know, back off going up a hill?? Not at all what a girl wants to do, but it is easier on you and the bike. This is also a good reason to watch ahead and anticipate shifts.

NOTE: The current batch of typos can be blamed on Carmen, the Indexing Cat. She is being far too helpful this morning.

annerol
04-12-2005, 07:09 AM
HI Ang,
Ok DON'T feel bad. I was right there with you a few weeks ago when I switched from a ratty old mountain bike with about four working gears to a roadbike. My problem was solved when I asked a kind and patient soul to ride next to me and literally tell me "Ok, shift the left hand up, shift the right hand"...etc etc. It actually really helped. Felt a little bit like a five year old, but hey, we ALL start somewhere. Where are you? I'm doind AIDSlifecycle, and we have alot of super (read "patient with the newbies") people doing training rides everyweekend. check out the website. I'm in L.A. County if you're anywhere near that, let me know and we can ride together.
Anne

Jen
01-25-2006, 10:39 AM
HI Ang,
Ok DON'T feel bad. I was right there with you a few weeks ago when I switched from a ratty old mountain bike with about four working gears to a roadbike. My problem was solved when I asked a kind and patient soul to ride next to me and literally tell me "Ok, shift the left hand up, shift the right hand"...etc etc. It actually really helped. Felt a little bit like a five year old, but hey, we ALL start somewhere. Where are you? I'm doind AIDSlifecycle, and we have alot of super (read "patient with the newbies") people doing training rides everyweekend. check out the website. I'm in L.A. County if you're anywhere near that, let me know and we can ride together.
Anne
I am new to shifting too. This thread is helpful. One more question. I bought everything I need to change a flat and stuffed into a little bag that hangs from the back of the seat. ( new tube, co2 cartridges, thing to put co2 in tire with, tire irons. Now, do you really ride with all that stuff there? Where do you put money and a cell phone? Weird question but all that and water and I just added alot of weight to the bike.

triflor
01-25-2006, 10:52 AM
it seems like a pain at first but when you get a flat you'll be so much happier that its there.
as for water weight, same thing, but to have it there than not. If you really feel strongly about it look into other things you can change to make your bike lighter, certain components etc.

CorsairMac
01-25-2006, 11:13 AM
for distance riding I wear a Camelbak and carry the cell phone in that. Since I live in a state with really bad thorns, I run Slime'd tubes in my tires so I only carry a spare tube on long rides and I carry that in my Camelbak also. For short rides I've carried my cell phone/garage door opener in my jersey pockets before and they were fine. You can also get another pack - one of the triangle ones that fit under your top tube to carry the rest of your gear in. I just upgraded my seat pack for one that was a tad bigger and it will now fit 2 CO2 cartridges, the cartridge case, both sets of tools and tire tools, cell phone and opener, plus has a strap on it for a blinkie. I really like that much better!

SadieKate
01-25-2006, 11:44 AM
INow, do you really ride with all that stuff there? Where do you put money and a cell phone? Weird question but all that and water and I just added alot of weight to the bike.Jersey pockets carry tons. Sometimes the kitchen sink. Just view the stuff as weight training and do not skimp on water, snacks, tools and flat supplies.

DeniseGoldberg
01-25-2006, 12:07 PM
For short rides I've carried my cell phone/garage door opener in my jersey pockets before and they were fine.

I solved the garage door opener problem by adding a key pad entry to my garage door. So now I just need to remember the code.

But - I also carry a key to the house. Why? What if the power is out when I get home? The garage door doesn't work then... And believe it or not, that really has happened to me, and I was really, really glad that I had a key.

--- Denise

Nanci
01-26-2006, 05:28 AM
After BF locked himself out twice in one week, I decided it was time to stop hiding keys buried in the garden, etc. so we could later search for them like squirrels looking for nuts. I bought a combination key holder, which I screwed onto the side of my wooden steps, (the screws are inside the locked compartment) but there are various models that also hang from the door lock, lock onto something with a small cable, etc.

makbike
01-26-2006, 08:28 AM
Welcome to the wonderful world of cycling. I hope you have many happy and safe hours on your bike.

The best piece of advice I can give you comes from my wonderful BF. I hate hills though I must admit the dislike has diminished some. He told me often when we rode together "shift often" when approaching and climbing a hill. You basically have to anticipate the terrain. The goal is to maintain your cadence all the way up the hill (easier said then done, I know).

The issue with you chain is probably a result of you putting to much pressure on your pedals. Ease up just a bit as you shift and hopefully the problem will disappear.

Have a great ride!
Marcie

anne_77
02-03-2006, 06:02 AM
I have a trek too and there are some old posts on here when people gave me advice on changing gears. I was having a horrible time with my chain popping off - still happens occassionally but not as often anymore. User-error!

First, if your bike is new you will eventually need your cables tightened - which can cause gear shifting problems.

Second, to avoid having the chain come off, I've taken to putting the chain on the largest, inner-most ring in the back before changing to my smallest, innermost front ring. (I usually ride with the middle front ring.) This causes spinning at first but then I slowly move the chain to smaller and smaller rings in the back as I hit resistance going uphill. Then as the resistance gets greater, I shift to larger rings in the back. I also make sure to change to my small front ring before I'm actually going uphill, when I don't have resistance. I'm not saying this is the "proper" way to change gears. But it's what works for me and I have the same bike so maybe it's worth trying?

Once you're on the hill, hitting resistance, you don't want to change your front ring. So you have to do so before you start going uphill. If you try to change the front ring while on the hill, it will probably come off.

Third, I've personally had some minor problems shifting back to my middle front ring. Basically I have to hold the shifter longer than I would for changes on the back ring. (I think the only reason I have a problem with this is because my hands are small, not sure if you have the same problem.)

Hope that helps! Good luck!

Grog
02-03-2006, 09:03 AM
It's just a detail, but no matter what bike you have, the gearing system is all the same. It's either Shimano or Campagnolo, and the shifting levers are a bit different, and you can have a double or a triple, etc. but the technical stuff is all the same in the end. The same type of gears on different bikes should work the exact same way. Conversely, the same make of bikes (ex: Trek), and even the same model (ex: F7500) can come with many different types of gears.

barrb46
05-05-2006, 09:12 AM
It will help when changing gears on a hill to:
1) anticipate the hill and drop to the smallest sprocket on your front sprocket before hitting the hill.

2) when changing the gears on the front sprocket, have the gear on your rear cassette in the mid range and this will help a lot to keep your chain from coming off.

Hope this helps.