How many gears do you use? Not in cycling, but in life?
I’m looking to buy myself a bike. But I’m not an experienced cyclist. I didn’t ride as a child and until very recently have never felt comfortable on a bike. But now there seem to be more opportunities for cycling since we’ve moved to the central coast. I’m driving less and want to cycle more. I’ve been trying out a few different bikes and really enjoying cycling so am now keen to buy one.
One of the things I’m considering is how many gears do I want on my bike? But I guess my bigger question is what are all the gears for and how do I use them? It may sound silly, and basic, but I’ve never really used different gears on a bike. My limited cycling to date has been pretty flat and so I haven’t bothered with gears. I have been too busy trying not to fall off, instead of figuring out gears!
While I was in England, I rode my bike around the lake – again, still flat. And I stayed in second gear all the time. My bike there has 7 gears but I wasn’t using its capacity, but I didn’t need to either. I was content with just cruising.
While cycling on level ground is fine and doesn’t require any real gear change, now that I am enjoying cycling more, and live up a hill, my cycling needs are different. My terrain is changing. I still won’t be going up any mountains any time in the future, but I will need and want to go to areas with hills. I want to get out of second gear.
Use all your gears
So what about in life. Are you busy cruising, like me on my bike, in second gear? Or are you using all your gears? Are you trying to get through some rough terrain while still in second gear? Do you try to go from first gear to fifth gear when something difficult happens, skipping the 2nd through 4th gears?
Good cyclists use all of the bike’s capacity, to help them perform to their best. They know when to coast and when to change gears for the tough climbs.
Are you in a phase of your life where you are cruising? Yes, we all have those easier times in life and should enjoy the coasting. But don’t get stuck in one gear. Whatever your age or health or circumstance, consider if you need to tune in more to your terrain and use all your gears so you can discover just how far you can go.
I’m going to learn how to use my gears on a new bike so I can change gear to suit the terrain. Then I can really discover how far and fast and uphill I can go.
What about you? Do you need to use your higher gears more often? Or do you have gears that you’ve never used?