Anticipation is the key to smooth bicycle gear shifting. If you wait to change gears until you feel your pedaling speed (or cadence) slows down, then you’ll already have lost your momentum. The point of having 10 or 20 gear is to be able to make each shift the smallest possible change in bicycle gearing.
To help you understand bicycle gear shifting better, here are two terms commonly used:
The terms used in bicycle gear shifting can be a bit confusing. Upshifting is the term used when a rider wants to accelerate. It is shifting into a smaller cog on the back wheel, which generates greater speed if the rider maintains the same cadence.
Downshifting is the term used when a rider wants to decelerate. It is shifting into a larger cog, meaning less effort, and less speed, at a certain cadence. Downshifting is what a rider does when he gets to the start of an ascend.
Below are some bicycle gear shifting tips to remember:
When you’re upshifting, shift only 1 cog at a time, and wait until you spun out of that gear before you shift again. The shifter for the rear derailleur (if your bicycle has derailleurs) is at your right hand.
When you’re downshifting, shift before you feel you’re losing momentum. Downshift as soon as you feel an increase in pitch.
Shift your chainrings (either down or up) any time there’s a significant change in the terrain. Reaching the base of a big climb or the start of a downhill are natural times to shift gears (from one chainring to another). The shifter for your front derailleur is located at your left hand.
For those who find anticipation a tough one and just don’t get it right, they opt for a multiple geared bicycle that smoothly changes gears at any point when riding. In fact, a rider can shift gears with this type of bike even at a stop. So there’s no need for timing.
For easy-to-use, multi-speed bicycles, visit Zize Bikes, the maker of custom, extra sturdy bicycles for everybody, including bicycles for heavy people which can support weight up to 550 pounds.