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Shifting Gears

My fiance decided to buy a road bike last year, she is a newbie to the biking scene. Ive tried to teach her about shifting gears, but it appears she doesnt listen to me, so what analogies or sayings do you people use for shifting gears? Or just any advice for her?

4 Replies


this resource is a little nerdy, but it has a lot of good info for a beginning cyclist:

Try to encourage your fiance to just play around with the shifting and different gear ratios on an easy ride. Help her learn how the system works and how different positions make pedaling easier or harder. If she doesn't want to do it, that's her choice...but eventually she'll see the light. 


Take her on a ride with a signficant elevation gain. That will do it. Or, how about an indoor trainer? That, along with an online training program, or even just some GCN training videos, will get her shifting pretty quickly, I think.


Do you mean she doesn't shift at all or that she doesn't understand how the shifting works? Either way, I would suggest you see if there are any women's clinics or beginner rides in your area. Working and learning with a partner is often fraught with a lot of baggage that makes it tough to have fun at the beginning of a new sport.

paul trusty

i have taught many people with no riding experience how to shift from kids to adults. When starting try to ignore the front ring and focus on the back. I explain the goal of gears is to pedal at a consistent cadence and you shift when you are pedaling too fast or too slow. For a road bike shift with the brake lever when you are pedaling too slow. Shift with the paddle when you are pedaling too fast. 

Once they become very comfortable with the rear cassette and the concept of shift, it is easier to introduce the front crank. Doing both at the same time is confusing because shifting action is inverted on the front.  Most importantly give it time and be patient. Especially with a significant other.