All the gears and no idea

Lately I’ve been trying to get my head around how to make the most of my new bicycle. It supposedly has 10 gears, but any fool knows you shouldn’t cross the chain over (big ring to biggest sprocket or small ring to smallest sprocket) so at least one gear on each ring is ruled out. So that’s 8. Actually it’s more like 6, but with three ways to go about it. 

If I don’t clear up my terminology this could get rather confusing, so B means big ring, S means small ring, and gears are 1-5 from most teeth (26) to least (14) meaning the fastest gear is B5 and the steepest hills would be climbed is S1. So by 6 speeds with three options I mean you can go B5-B4-B3-S3-S2-S1 (middle) or B5-B4-B3-B2-S2-S1 (top) or B5-B4-S4-S3-S2-S1 (bottom). There’s actually not a huge difference between the three:


This graph shows the miles per hour I’d be doing at a cadence of 70RPM in various gears, in order to illustrate the gearing options. You can see on all three options a slightly bigger jump going from the big ring to the small, but the difference between them isn’t as big as I’d imagined. The reason I worked it out in miles per hour is so I know from the speed on my computer whether my cadence is too fast or slow for a particular gear. At the moment I ride just a touch on the slow side. (Who needs cadence sensors!)

So anyway, I set off into Leamington town centre today to buy a couple of things. I’m much more in control of the bike though I still miss the convenience of hub gears allowing you to change gears while stationary. I would never have thought that a town like Leamington would compare unfavourably with Stafford in terms of cycling infrastructure, but there’s a distinct shortage of bike stands and I’m not terribly impressed with parts of the cycle lanes – I had another nasty moment on that obscured side road, though at least I was forewarned this time.

Well I got into Leamington on my carefully planned route, bought some new M&S underpants and had a coffee, and realised I’d forgotten to plan a way back! Muppet! Then the rain started, and that concentrated my mind a bit and I found my way ok. There’s a statue of Queen Victoria in the town, with a plaque on the side explaining that a World War Two bomb moved it sideways an inch on its plinth. It’s still visibly lopsided now!

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4 thoughts on “All the gears and no idea

  1. Everyone knows you’re not supposed to cross chain, till they get on a hill that requires one to cross chain. Then that stupid rule gets tossed out the window.

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