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My new bicycle is my new bicycle

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by RickStain, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    After watching Craiglist for awhile, I finally found a decent deal on a bicycle. Actually, two, one for me and one for Mrs. Stain (who can't ride hers for awhile, anyway, because she's pregnant). They are almost-new cheap Wal-Mart mountain bikes with a few nice parts added, including some really good seats, and I got the pair for $50, including the extra seats, locks and a few other accessories.

    Here's the deal: It's a multi-gear bicycle and I have no effing idea how to ride it. I took it out for a test drive, couldn't figure out how to get it out of a higher gear (or lower? Whichever is the one that makes it easier to go up hills but makes you put a lot of force behind your pedalling) and just about tore my knees up. Finally, I somehow got it into a different gear and made it home a little easier, but I have no idea how I did it.

    I haven't actually ridden a bike since I was a kid, and I didn't have a multi-speed bike then, so I have no clue what I'm doing here, and teh googles is being surprisingly difficult.

    Each handle seems to be able to rotate, although not all the time. The one on the left has a series of little markings that go from "lo" to "hi" with increasingly large lines. The right one has the numbers 1 through 6.

    What exactly should I be doing?
  2. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Okay it's really easy...

    On your left, you have your main gears (most likely 1-3) on the right you have the sub gears (1-6,7,8, or 9)

    The easiest gear there is is 1 and 1. That's the gear you would want to be in when you are riding up the biggest hill there is.

    The hardest gear, or the one, that you don't want to be in while going up hill is 3, and 7 (or whatever the highest gear you have).

    If you are riding, and you feel like you could be pedaling with more resistance and getting to your destination faster, move the gears to a higher number. If your legs are moving too fast and your feet are flying off the pedals, move to a higher gear.

    If it is too hard to pedal, lower the gear.

    Just make sure you are pedaling when you switch. For example, if you are flying downhill and switch like four gears, the next time you pedal, you chain will skip off the crank and then you have to get off and put it back on.
  3. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member


    This is how the gears work from easiest (the uphill gears) to lowest (your downhill, or flatland gears).
  4. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Without seeing it, I'm guessing the "hi" and "low" settings are for the front chain ring (the set of gears connected to the pedals). The 1-6 should change the rear chain rings (the gears located on the rear wheel).

    When you're riding up a hill, you don't want to have to strain to turn the pedals. You want to shift so you can keep turning the pedals at the same rate as you would on a flat stretch.

    Really, you just need to pedal around and play with changing the gears. Find a comfortable setting for flat ground, then work from there when going up or down a hill.
  5. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    You have to pedal while you shift or nothing will happen.

    If the chain is on the big ring in the front, it's harder to pedal. Small ring = easier.

    The sprockets on the rear wheel are opposite: small = difficult to pedal, large = easier.
  6. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Only on sj. would we be teaching an adult how to ride a bike. ;D
  7. Del_B_Vista

    Del_B_Vista Active Member

    It's also usually a bad idea to ride using the big front-small back and small front-big back combinations. The angle of the chain going across that span can cause wear issues.
  8. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    It's a lot harder than I anticipated.
  9. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    I was teasing, of course.

    It'll take you about five minutes to get the hang of it.

    It's like when I put toe clips on my bike. Practically fell over at every stop light. Other cyclists were kinda pointing and laughing.
  10. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I took it to Hardee's and back for lunch, which Google Maps says is less than half a mile. On the way there, I couldn't figure out how to get the gears to move, and the resistance was *way* too high. My knees still hurt.

    On the way back, I somehow got the gears to do something and had an easier ride, but it was making a weird clicking noise, so I'm sure that wasn't ride.
  11. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    It sounds like the derailleur is out of whack. You might need to lube it up.

    If you hear clicking, slightly turn one of the handles (not enough to change gears) and it should stop.
  12. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    If that turns out to be true, I'm coming back to this thread for instructions on how to do that.

    I will not type "lubing a derailleur" into google and see what comes up.
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