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Road cycling for beginners: how to use your gears correctly

Road cycling for beginners: how to use your gears correctly

Road cycling for beginners : how to use the gears correctly - SportActiveroad cycling for beginners : how to use the gears correctlyAlthough you may think you need no instruction when it comes to how to use the gears on your bike correctly, a surprising number of cycling enthusiasts struggle with climbs as a direct result of a lack of knowledge in this area. Road cycling for beginners, though it can be rewarding, can also be tricky if not approached correctly.

Having been teaching cycling classes on road cycling for beginners for years, the biggest problem I encounter is that the vast majority of individuals select a gear that is simply too high. As a result, they find themselves labouring over stretches that they would otherwise have found fairly easy-going. In turn, this means their ability to accelerate when needed (out of junctions, for example) will be significantly compromised.



Similarly, another common mistake I see during my road cycling for beginner courses is that people change directly from a high gear to a much smaller gear at the start of a hill. Rather than making their ascent easier, this dramatic change results in a significant loss of pace, meaning that instead of starting the ascent with a significant amount of momentum, they are forced to find the energy to get their bike moving again from virtually a dead stop.

The secret is to get your gears to work for you, not the other way around. Rather than sticking doggedly to one gear, seek to use them progressively instead - I guarantee you'll feel the benefits immediately! If you know there is a big ascent ahead, move slowly down through your gears rather than making a quick switch at the base of the hill; this way, you're far more likely to be able to cope with the ascent and won't leave yourself burnt out after the first few metres.

Find out more…

If you're interested in learning more about road cycling for beginners, and to view our wide range of cycling classes, offers and trips, simply visit our website www.sportactive.net. Here you'll also be able to pick up a free copy of our new guide, "How to become an expert road cyclist: Top tips to improve your experience of one of the world's most popular individual sports", packed with information on everything from how to brake correctly to the etiquette of riding in a group.


by Martin Birney


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