Author Topic: Changing gear questions

Changing gear questions
« on: March 04, 2013 »
Ch2s at mtbr writes:

I was wondering if there are particular situations when you're better off switching the front or rear gears to change speed? I normally change the front gear speed when I want a big speed change rapidly such as if I'm on flat pavement and a sudden steep hill appears, and change the rear gear for more subtle changes like a slight change in the path's inclination.

Am I using them right?

When gears were invented it wasn't imagined that they would play such a huge part in cycling. They were felt to be a marketing ploy by early manufacturers whose products were touted as superior through lack of artifice. Henri Desgrange ("Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles?") not only banned them from the Tour de France but considered them witchcraft; pre-WWII carnage included funeral pyres of martyrs unwilling to cling to the old faith. The resistance was of course to prevail. It is difficult now to imagine a time before gears, bar the singlespeed/fixed cult which is allowed to practice their religion but denied tax exempt status, even as a charity.

The decision whether to switch the front or rear gears to affect speed doubtless has a technically satisfying answer. Of greater interest are the ramifications to personal growth: are big changes better than a series of subtle changes? When life challenges present themselves will you be in the right gear to take them on? (Desgrange might ask "Do you use them because the hill is there or because they're there?") Can electronic shifting accelerate your path to self-actualization?

Are you using them right?

Let's see if I can make it easier.
Doh! a gear, a useful gear,
Hey, you might as well have fun.
Me, the one who's pedalling here,
Far, the distance not yet spun.
Know the answer in your head,
Ha! It only goes to show,
Knees grow weak because they dread,
That will bring us back to Doh! oh-oh-oh!