How to ride a bike at speeds

Tips for beginners

  • Don’t be alarmed if you don’t get it right the first time. To a bicycle, as well as to a car, you need to get used to it, to “feel” it. To do this, get on your bike more often.
  • Change speeds by pedaling only
  • Before going uphill, you need to slightly increase the speed (accelerate) and switch the speed, before descending, on the contrary, slow down and switch in advance
  • Do not skew the chain
  • Listen to your bike. Squeak, rattle should not be
  • Take care of your health. Riding in high gears is harmful (stress on the knees)
ride, bike, speeds

There is nothing super complicated in the art of gear shifting. You just need a bit of patience for a bike trip to bring a lot of positive emotions.

What is gear shifting for??

Which is harder. to lift two ten-liter buckets of water or the same buckets, but without water? The answer is obvious.

Climbing a hill on a simple bike, without a gearshift, you will have to spend much more physical effort than going the same way on a bike with the right gear.

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Each cyclist pedals with his own, only one to him a comfortable speed. This frequency is called cadence.


It is convenient for each biker to ride with his own developed pedaling rhythm, at which the fastest gearbox of pedaling occurs.

If the twisting frequency is less than the usual rhythm, then it will be a waste of energy.

Incorrect cadence provokes injury to the limbs as a result of exceeding the load on muscle and articular fibers, therefore, when traveling, the state of comfort when pedaling is important.

Pedaling at the same rhythm is recommended for any ride. Acceleration is done only with the gear selector.

The same rhythm of twisting leads to less fatigue, therefore, increases the rider’s endurance and the ability to overcome obstacles.

You should not start driving at high speeds, first you should warm up at low speeds and only then unwind to high.

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When choosing, it is better to stick to the middle. Poor road conditions reduce the ability to change gears.

Bike specs are not always capable of quick chain shifting on star drivetrains.

Riding with obstacles (wind pressure or climbing uphill) requires a reduction in the speed of the transmission.

In this case, the pedaling speed increases and the transmission speed decreases.

Riding on flat surfaces requires a 4 to 1 speed support. When racing in high-speed gears up to 100 km / h, a combination of 8 to 1 or more is used.

Simple muscular effort may not be enough for such acceleration, so even professional cyclists use a 5-to-1 gear and then increase their speed by pedaling.

Many pro athletes avoid frequent shifting, and when riding upwind, set the speed limit on the large rear sprocket and small chainring.

Also, a professional when skating with obstacles can reduce the gear to 2 to 1 and maintain a high speed with the least effort.

Small gears require frequent pedaling, up to 100 rpm.


Regarding the speed (cadence). Each person is comfortable with their own cadence, at which the pedals will rotate with maximum efficiency. If the speed of rotation is lower than the rhythm you are comfortable with, then the strength will be wasted. If the cadence is incorrect, there is also a risk of injury. This is due to increased stress on the joints and muscles. So pay attention to this point when driving.

You don’t need to pedal too quickly, otherwise you will quickly get tired. Finding the ideal frequency for yourself is not difficult; rely on sensations. I will only add that in addition to road conditions, the choice of gear and cadence is influenced by the strength and direction of the wind, as well as the physical form of the cyclist at the moment.

Under any conditions, the goal is the same. to pedal at a constant speed and constant effort on them, regardless of the selected gear. The same rhythm significantly postpones the onset of fatigue and increases endurance. Consequently, a significantly greater distance can be overcome.

It is impossible in advance to accurately match a particular gear to specific road conditions. Of course, there are many formulas, graphs and tables, but most of them are calculated for road bikes, fair weather and smooth asphalt. Should the conditions change, and all the calculations are down the drain. The choice of gear depends on the road or its absence, the slope of the track, temperature, soil conditions, tire pressure, wind, the physical condition of the cyclist, the level of adrenaline and blood sugar.

When driving upwind or uphill, you need to switch to “lower gears” close to 1: 1. This set of gears increases cadence but decreases speed. When driving on flat terrain, the gear ratio can be 4: 1 to maintain speed. In a motorcycle race, a speed of over 100 km / h can be achieved. In these record-breaking rides, cyclists use a gear ratio of 8: 1 or more. However, usually the muscle strength of the legs is not enough to spin such gears from a place. Even athletes do not use gears greater than 5: 1, but rather increase their cadence.

In 1985 in the United States, John Howard set a speed record of 245.077 km / h. For the first time he covered 241 kilometers on a bicycle in one hour. Ten years later, Rompelberg Fred from the Netherlands broke his world bicycle speed record with a result of 269 km / h.

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Many novice cyclists avoid frequent gear changes and even when riding upwind, leave the chain on the large drive and small driven gears. Their ride is more like the maneuvers of a sailboat against the wind. As a result, after such a ride, knee pain can naturally occur. Meanwhile, a competent cyclist when riding upwind, having reduced the gear ratio to 2-3: 1, will be able to maintain a higher speed with less effort. In small gears, pedal at a frequency of 80-90 rpm.

How to ride a bike at speeds

Recently I saw Alexei Baevsky, took the bottle holder from him to his Aggressor. Lesha reprimanded me and was CRASHED saying that I was changing gears incorrectly and I had a chain skew and soon it would be possible to throw it out. I got into no and started looking for material. I found several articles. I bring to your attention the most useful theses of them.

Any cyclist should know how to properly switch speeds on a bicycle. When they buy a bicycle for children, they are always interested in how many speeds it has. And the higher the number of speeds, the better. But experienced cyclists know that the speed of a bicycle depends on the rider, or rather, on the work of his muscles. And the art of competently changing gears is a quality of cunning professionals that allows you to squeeze the maximum possible resources out of the car in rough terrain.

It used to be simple: the road bike had one speed. Therefore, on the plains, everything depended on the skills of the cyclist himself, and to ride in the mountainous terrain, one had to adapt to the terrain conditions: while riding downhill, the cyclist accelerates the car as much as possible in order to enter the next mountain by inertia. If the ascent is protracted, then the cyclist rides uphill until he can pedal. Then he dismounts his bike and proudly walks alongside to the top to continue his journey down again.

Modern bicycles have two sets of gears. front (sprocket) and rear (driven sprocket). It is extremely important to learn how to choose the right gear depending on the nature of the ride. First, you need to learn a few simple rules for shifting gears:

  • Shift gears only while the bike is in motion (this rule does not apply to planetary hubs).
  • Try to change gears when the load from the chain is removed or insignificant, otherwise you may not be able to switch, and even break the gearshift mechanisms or break the chain (this largely depends on the quality level of the bicycle components). Particularly hard on the front derailleur.

Let’s take a closer look at the switching process itself:

  • A typical modern bike has 2-3 stars in the front and 8-10 stars in the back.
  • The numbering of the front stars is from 1 to 3. in the direction of increasing stars, the numbering of the rear stars is from 1 to 8 (9.10), in the direction of decreasing stars.

For simplicity, let’s take the popular budget 38 drive as an example:

  • The large chainring is used when driving on a good, level road (asphalt or compacted soil) in the absence of strong headwinds. Trailing sprockets 8 to 4 are usually used with this sprocket. Although in sports skating and racing, you can often see any combination of.
  • The middle chainring is used when driving on dirt roads, bad asphalt, not very loose sand in combination with rear sprockets 6 to 2 (which does not exclude the use of the entire set of rear sprockets). On these programs it is convenient to ride in dense city traffic, maneuvering between various moving and stationary obstacles. When there is a strong headwind on the highway, a middle chainring is also often installed.
  • The small chainring is used with chainrings 5 ​​to 1. These gears are used when driving on very steep climbs, wetlands, sticky mud, sand, thick grass.

Drawing of parallel universes. Left (in red) is not correct. the universes of bike chains are parallel, on the left (in green) is correct!

Gear selection

There is no unambiguous answer to the question: “Which gear to choose?” It depends on many factors: the terrain, your personal convenience, the characteristics of the bike. But first, you can use the table, which is compiled for a bicycle with 24 speeds (it has three positions on the left shifter, and eight on the right). For a bike with 18 speeds (there are three positions on the left shifter and six positions on the right), the table will look different.

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ride, bike, speeds

These tables give a rough idea of ​​which gears you can select. (The gear range for an 18-speed bike is shown in parentheses) You will have to draw the exact chart that is perfect for you.

Terrain Left shifter Right shifter
Uphill 1-2 (1) 1-4 (1-3)
Driving on a flat road 1-2 2-5 (2-4)
Descent from the mountain 2-3 4-8 (3-6)

cycling speed shifting tips

It’s not hot enough to hide in the shade while sipping a mojito, and not so cold to wrap yourself in a blanket and warm up with hotter drinks (I’m talking about tea, what did you think about?)

Finally, the time has come when you can roll out your two-wheeled friend and drive blood through the body to his heart’s content.

In the article on contact pedaling, we casually touched on the correct gear shifting, so today I propose to consider it in more detail.

The time when a bicycle had only one speed is long gone, and today’s bikes have a considerable number of them.

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Many are interested in the question of how to cope with all this stock of speeds.?

Outwardly, the question seems to be simple, there are special things (shifters) on the steering wheel that you know, click and have fun.

But if you dig deeper, it’s not that simple. To enjoy the ride, it turns out, you need to know how to switch these things correctly.

Most modern bicycles have 3 stars in the front and 7 to 10 in the back. It would seem, switch them at your own discretion and do not ask stupid questions.

But it turns out that there are such mutual positions of the front and rear stars, which it is extremely undesirable to allow.

No, this option is certainly possible, but it first of all indicates the inexperience of the rider, and secondly, that soon he will have problems with the gearshift system itself.

Why this is so, I will show with a simple example.

Look at the picture and find the difference. Don’t you notice? I suggest.

The figure shows a simplified diagram of the gearshift system (top view): the short black mowing lines are our stars (front and rear), the red and green mowing lines are our chain.

It can be seen from the figure that in the variant with the position of the red chain (incorrect), the angle of its longitudinal bending is much greater than in the green (correct).

This suggests that the red circuit is subjected to significantly higher loads than the green one, which means it will fail faster. At best, it will just fly off.

In addition, increased side loads can damage both the chain box and the rear derailleur itself.

Now let’s figure out what the correct chain position is and how to achieve it in different driving situations in order to make the most of the shifting system.

Correct chain position and sprocket ratio

We will make a start from the front stars, there are fewer of them and it is they who are responsible for the choice of the road situation.

The smallest chainring is numbered 1, the next 2 and the largest 3 respectively (depending on the number of stars in the block).

The largest sprocket (3) is designed for driving on a level road with good coverage

The next one (2) will be convenient for driving on unpaved roads with bumps, small sandy areas, many bends, etc.

The smallest one (1) is useful on off-road, steep climbs, driving through mud, sand, rocky and other not particularly flat sections of the path.

But that’s not all. Each of the large stars corresponds to a set of rear.

Rear sprockets are necessary for a more accurate adjustment to the road situation, and their numbering is exactly the opposite of the front sprockets.

The largest star has number 1, and further, as the diameter decreases, 2, 3, how many of them we have.

So, if the number of rear stars is divided by the number of front stars, we get for each of the front stars several corresponding rear.

Example. We have a set of 3 front and 9 (for even counting) rear stars. Divide 9 by 3, we get 3. This means that each chainring corresponds to 3 rear.

Moving along a straight, flat asphalt road, we turn on the 3 front chainring, which means (remember the correct position of the chain) that it corresponds to 9, 8, and 7 rear.

We go to a dirt road with potholes from the wheels of the transport, we switch to 2 front, which correspond to 6, 5, and 4 rear stars.

We go down a mountain trail with steep ascents, switch to 1 front, which corresponds to 3, 2 and 1 rear stars.

This is of course ideal, in reality you can add one more on each side to the set of three rear ones:

It may be difficult to remember the first time, but as you gain experience, this is introduced into the subconscious and brought to automatism.

So, we figured out the correct position of the chain and the ratio of the stars. Now let’s discuss the question of when to change gears.

When to change gears

ride, bike, speeds

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I’ll start with what you need to remember: when getting on the bike, select the middle chainring (2) and start pedaling (pedaling).

I explain. In order to reduce the load on the knees at the start.

The bike was stationary, and you will need to make some effort to accelerate it.

On a large star, this effort may be too great, on a small star, it may not be enough to maintain balance.

As the acceleration progresses, we select the rear sprocket that is most suitable for torsion (remember what cadence is).

If the road surface and the site allows, we smoothly switch the stars to the maximum, corresponding to the middle chainring (in our example, up to the 7th) and only then switch to the large chainring (3).

If the quality of the road decreases (bumps, bumps, sand), smoothly switch the stars to the minimum corresponding star (in our example, to the 3rd) and only after that switch to the small front star (1).

As soon as the traffic situation begins to return to the original (flat area), we also smoothly return back to the middle chainring and then to the large.

The working chainring is medium! We start with her, and end with her.

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How to change gears

Finally, we got to the last, but no less important question. how to change gears.

How not in the sense of where to press and what to turn, but in the sense of how to switch correctly so as not to break the wood.

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As we said above, all switches should be smooth, without jerking and trying to jump over a star (or even two).

Wait for the moment of inclusion of the selected gear, and only then switch to the next.

All switching needs to be carried out only in motion: standing still, it still will not work.

There should not be any unnecessary loads on the pedals during switching: you will break the chain. Reached the required speed. temporarily removed the effort from the pedals (it is enough to simply accompany them). changed gear. continued pedaling.

Knowing and following these simple rules, we will greatly improve the quality of bike handling, save our own health and extend the life of our two-wheeled friend.

Speaking about extending the life of a bicycle, it is worth remembering about timely maintenance, but we will leave this for a separate article. In order not to miss it, I recommend subscribing to blog updates.

And finally, 9 useful tips:

  • it is worth thinking about which gear to choose in advance, without waiting for the moment when it will be too late;
  • do not forget about the front derailleur: first we switch the front, then the rear sprockets;
  • trying to maintain an even cadence (cadence);
  • before lifting, we switch to the small chainring in advance, then it may not work;
  • if the speed is chosen incorrectly on the rise. wait for a more or less flat area to switch, do not break the chain;
  • we carry out all switching without unnecessary load on the pedals;
  • when driving on viscous soil, we switch to a higher gear. less likely to get stuck;
  • rushing to shift means endangering the gear shifting system. Smoothness is the key to success.
  • before the descent, we select the necessary gear in advance, then there may not be time for this, because you will have to monitor the road and the brakes.

P.S. If you have any questions after reading the article, do not hesitate to ask in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев.

P.P.S. You can familiarize yourself with the topics that will be revealed in the near future on this page.

Avoid distortions

There is such a thing as prohibited transmissions. When changing gears while riding, make sure that there are no strong distortions of the chain. If the front of the chain is on the outermost sprocket, and at the back. on the extreme inner (or vice versa), then, in addition to the likelihood of the chain slipping, there is a danger of its premature wear and damage to the mechanism. The more parallel it is in relation to the frame, the better. Optimal combinations of front and rear chain positions can be summarized as follows:

  • 3. large front. 4-8 back
  • 2. middle front. 3-6 back
  • 1. small front. 1-3 back.

Switch in advance

Switching speeds is possible only when there is no load on the pedals. When climbing up, overcoming irregularities or quickly screwing in, the load is maximum, and it is too late to fold the gears. This should always be taken care of in advance. For example, if you see a rise in front of you, then you need to switch at least a few meters before it. Otherwise, the mechanism may simply not work. In addition, there is a possibility of damage to the stars and breaking the chain. However, you can also switch on the mountain. High quality equipment allows you to do this. But both with an expensive quality body kit and with the simplest switch, there is a way to switch on the mountain. It is enough to accelerate the bike until inertia appears, then release the pressure on the pedals and, while rotating the pedals while the bike is moving by inertia (or is at the balance point), change the gear. In this case, switching will not cause difficulties.

Switch on the go

You can only change gears while the bike is in motion. In a stationary state, the shifter will also work, but the position chain will not change. Then, after the start of the movement, there will be a sharp jump from one star to another. This could cause the chain to jump off or become stuck between the sprockets.

What are the transfers for?

The larger the sprocket at the back, the lower the speed of the bike, but the less effort it takes to twist. Low gear is ideal for uphill climbing, sandy, uneven terrain or snow. The wheel moves slowly, but with tremendous force. Accordingly, if you get stuck in the mud, this is the ideal ratio.

High gear provides a quick set of speed, but at the same time requires a lot of physical effort from the cyclist. It is good for high-speed movement on flat roads, as well as for downhill driving.

As a rule, in each situation, the most convenient gear ratio is selected over time. Experienced cyclists don’t even think about it, changing gears automatically. A beginner needs to set everything empirically, because the speed of the bike will depend not only on the gears, but also on the physical condition of the rider. As we said earlier, riding in one gear with a high-speed bike is very bad. At least, the cassette is erased faster, and then a bike with speeds is not needed. But first of all, this demonstrates the inability to use the technique.