Anonymous asked in SportsCycling · 1 month ago

Do I have to use the gears on my bicycle?

I was gifted a bicycle which has gears on the right handle and another adjustable thing on the left handle (unsure what it is). I've only ever ridden bikes without gears and after trying to research online, I still can't wrap my head around which gears to use and when. Is there a gear which I can leave my bike on when ridding so that I don't need to change it as it is can be used for all speeds i am peddling? I only bike recreationally and I don't ride on roads with cars. I will eventually learn the gears but for now I'm still confused

7 Answers

  • pmt853
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    By far the easiest way for you to work this out is to get a reasonably competent cyclist to spend 10 minutes with you and your bike. Do you have to use the gears - of course not but you'll almost certainly get much more out of your bike if you use it properly. It's pedalling not peddling.

  • 1 month ago

    Well, that is what gears are for. However cyclists often train using one low gear for quite a time; in order to learn to pedal properly.True fact.

    Source(s): Was competition cyclist road & track in N.Z. when I was young.
  • D50
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    Try riding around a non-busy level area and experiment with those "adjustable" things. You will notice that the one on the left moves the chain on the gear up front, at the pedals, and pedaling gets easier in one direction (and you go slower) and harder in the other direction (and you go faster). The one on the right moves the chain back by the rear wheel the same way. Keep practicing so you can make it easier to pedal (when you want to climb a hill) and harder to pedal (when you want to go fast). It's pretty simple.

  • 1 month ago

    Your bike doesn't have gears on the right handle.  It has a shifter that connects to the rear derailleur by means of a cable.  That allows you to change gears on the rear sprocket - whether it be a freewheel or cassette.  Don't understand those words?  Simple solution...  Go to a bike shop & ask.  Or, you have the world's most powerful research tool right at your fingertips.  It's called the internet.  

    Both Google & YouTube are filled with articles & videos on how to shift bicycle gears.  You should try it sometime.  This should get you started.  More videos than I could count. 

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  • 1 month ago

    Do you "have to"?  No.  That is until you come upon a steep hill & figure out that DOWNSHIFTING into a lower (easier) gear is better than stopping, getting off the bike & pushing it the remainder of the way uphill.  PEDALING (not peddling) a bike efficiently is mostly about one word..."cadence".  That's your pedal rpm.  I would highly suggest reading Articles For Beginning Cyclists by the late cycling guru, Sheldon Brown.  The very first part is all about "Understanding Your Gears".

    Every person in this world has their own ideal "cadence".  You might want to think of it as engine rpm in a car or heavy truck.  As speed increases, the transmission will UP SHIFT into higher gears so the engine doesn't over rev.  Conversely, as speed decreases, the transmission will downshift so the engine doesn't become overloaded.  Can you imagine a car taking off from a dead stop or trying to go up a steep hill in HIGH GEAR?  The engine would spit, sputter & eventually stall out - DIE!  On a bicycle, you are the engine.  So now the question to you you want to pedal smart or pedal hard?  

    Another good read if you're confused is..."A Beginner’s Guide on How to Shift Gears on a Bike".

    Last...your free grammar lesson for the day.  Peddling is to sell an idea, product or service.  A door-to-door salesperson might PEDDLE (sell) magazine subscriptions.  Infomercials on TV PEDDLE what usually turns out to be junk products.  You PEDAL a bicycle.  Illustration below...        

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  • 1 month ago

    Update your question with what kind of drive system you have 3x7, 3×8, 2x9 etc. Then I can teach you a sequential ratio shifting system. Count the number of chainrings up front and the number of sprockets on the rear wheel. Once I know this I can teach you how to shift and when to shift.


    Here's some basic advice that applies regardless of what multi drive ratio system you have. I'm telling you this because I already see one person has given you bad advice. 

    If a gear is too easy or too hard to comfortably maintain a cadence (crank rpm) of 70-90 it means you're in the wrong gear. It has nothing to do with going slower or faster

    Never cross chain; big big or little little. 

    Never stand while shifting. 

    Never use both shifters at the same time. 

    Never shift while pedaling backwards.

    Once I know what drive system your bike has then I can tell the easiest way to shift to the next higher or lower ratio with the fewest moves and least resistance; while avoiding redundant gearing. 

    For example a 3x7 drive system gets shifted like this lowest to highest gear ratio: 1(1-4), 2(2-5), 3(4-7) for 12 non redundant ratios. Entering an incline at a slow speed 1(1-4). Level ground comfort riding 2(2-5). Declines and level ground sprinting 3(4-7). 

    Starting gears for a 3x7. Be in 1(1) before stopping on stops going up hill. All other stops use 2(2) as a starting gear.

    You can get bicycle computers with a cadence meter on it fairly cheap off eBay. 

    Source(s): Motorized Bicycle Owner and Builder.
  • 1 month ago

    If you need to climb a hill, you will learn to shift gears. The 'adjustable thing' might be a brake. 

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