Changing bike gears smoothly and efficiently can take a lot of practice, especially depending on the terrain you are riding on. Discover how to quickly change gears when cycling with advice from a professional endurance coach in this free video on bicycling.
Hi, I'm Stephen Taylor, endurance coach and fitness trainer, my company is called STtrainer.com. I'm going to talk about how to change gears on a bike. The materials you will need for this activity include a bicycle and a helmet for safety. Most bikes have two sets of gears. The gears in he back are usually greater in number, anywhere from 7 to 10 gears in back, in front there's usually 2 or 3 gears. Let's start with the gears in back. The gears in back are used for fine tuning the resistance on the pedals. You will do most of your shifting with the gears in back, this is usually done with your right hand. When you shift gears, number one rule is to do so while pedaling. By using the gears, you should be able to always keep a fairly consistent turnover or cadence with your legs. If you start to change terrain, it either gets easier or harder, and your cadence starts to go down or up. Shift gears to keep your cadence about the same, to keep the resistance on the pedals about the same. Shifting is done with a number of different types of shifting depending on the kind of bike you have. You may have a mountain bike, a road bike, a commuter of hybrid bike or even a triathlon bike, like the kind I have here. The gears in front are used for more coarser adjustments. So for instance, if you are primarily riding downhill with the wind or at a fast rate of speed, you would place it in the harder gear in the front. If you are primarily riding at an easy pace, into the wind, up a hill or at a slower speed, put it in a smaller chain ring. Bikes that have 3 chain rings, the gears in front, usually include one that is very small. This smallest chain ring is referred to as the Granny Gear and is primarily used only for climbing steep hills. Keep the chain out of the Granny Gear, most of the time and keep it between the middle and the largest gear in front. With practice, you can get very good at changing gears. One of the issues is the timing of changing the gears. If you have good timing, you're more likely to make smooth quick shifts of the gears. Again, remember that you always need to be pedaling, if you shift gears without pedaling, the gear will not change. It'll only change while you are pedaling. One of the more advanced skills to learn with shifting gears, is how to coordinate between the gears in front and the gears in back. Let me show you what not to do. The key here is that you want to avoid a situation where the chain is in the extreme outside gear in the back. And in the front, it's in the gear closest to the center of the bike. Inside and front, outside and back or vice versa, outside and front, inside and back. This will create a situation that's called Cross Chaining. Not only will this cause friction in the drive train, it's noisy and it'll readily identify you as a beginner and a novice, and someone to avoid by the more experienced cyclist. The key is to adjusting your gears so that they respond to the terrain. As you get better at understanding terrain, and which gears to use and also using the proper combinations of gears. You will find that you enjoy cycling much more.