How to Use Gears Effectively

Using your gears effectively can make all the difference between a difficult ride and an easy ride.

Your gears are there to assist you. Sometimes it is hard to know what conditions require what gears.

Let’s take a look at a variety of conditions and see what gears are best to employ to cycle efficiently.

Why Do I Need to Use Gears for Cycling?

As mentioned, gears are a helping hand (or foot, as the case may be) when it comes to cycling.

Essentially, gears help by making it easier to pedal at a comfortable pace, regardless of the terrain or gradient of the surface you are riding on.

Low Gears

If you are facing a high gradient, then you need to drop your gears down. Sometimes they need to be dropped as far as they go. The further down your gears go, the faster you will pedal.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you will achieve great speeds. These gears are designed to keep the bike moving so that you don’t start rolling backward down a steep gradient.

Because these are the lightest gears, your bike won’t travel as far with each push of the pedal. These aren’t gears for speed, but simply to allow you to keep the pedals turning and the bike moving.

Middle Gears

Approaching and traveling up moderate inclines will require a middle gear. These are good for a variety of different terrains, as they are neither light nor heavy.

Middle gears are also excellent for undulating pathways that feature peaks and troughs. The front sprocket holds position while the rear sprockets shift up and down to deal with the energy-zapping inclines and then acceleration on the decline.

The middle gear is essentially a great all-rounder. Not fantastic for climbing steep hills as you won’t be able to turn the peddles fast enough to push your weight. Also not the best for pushing higher speeds on the flats.

Top Gears

Just like the TV show, the top gear of your bicycle has speed in mind. This is a tough gear to start in, so work your way up from a middle gear to make your acceleration less strenuous on your legs.

If you are coming down a hill and want to hit some high speeds, then accelerating in high gears will add even more thrust. Each time you turn the pedal, you are pushed further and faster - an excellent way to add exhilaration to your ride.

Using Gears Effectively

Now you should have some idea of how to use your gears effectively. Doing so will mean that you can easily cover greater distances, as the gears are helping your legs ride in the most efficient way possible.

Steven Knight

Written by @tom on January 4, 2021