I have a drink bottle holder thingy and have learned to drink on the ride (but I still have to stop pedalling). I am naughtly and actually don't drink during my ride, unless it's really hot/dry/windy. I ALWAYS have water there just in case though.
As far as gears, I will try and explain.
You have 2 sets of gears, front and back (called derailers for some stupid reason - since it's the bit that changes the chain that is the derailer if you want to de technical, but I don't so let's just say gears). The front gears, which are where your pedal is, generally have fewer gears and are kind of like a multiplier where you gradually step up through the back gears on front gear 1, then switch back to the lowest back gear and the next higher front gear
so you can have
front gear 1 by, back gear 1, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5, then 6
then you run out of back gears and you still want to go faster so you go to
front gear 2 by back gear 1, then 2, then 3, then 4, then 5, then 6 and so on.
and the same in reverse
the lower the gear, the easier it is to turn the pedals, but the less the wheels turn. Usually this means that if it's a hill, you go down gears so it's easier to push, and you go slower. If you are going fast on a flat or pedalling downhill, you go up gears so that your legs don't fly off trying to keep up with the revolutions (called cadence in bike parlance for some weird reason)!!!!!
You can do all the combinations of back and front gears, BUT it's generally recommended to do the following combinations
Front 1 = Back 1, 2, 3
Front 2 = Back 3, 4, 5,
Front 3 = Back 5, 6, 7
this saves endlessly skipping through gears and also it saves your chain because if you look at your gears, if you have the lowest on the front and the highest on the back, it actually crosses on a diagonal and this leads to wear and tear earlier.
In practical terms this means (if we start from the lowest gear, which you generally don't, but for argument's sake)
Right hand (front) 1 - left hand (back) 1
RH 1 - LH 2 (changing up lect back gears
RH 1 - LH 3
RH 2 - LH 3 (so rather than change your left back, you change your right front)
RH 2 - LH 4
RH 2 - LH 5
RH 3 - LH 5 (changing that front gear again)
RH 3 - LH 6
RH 3 - LH 7 (and by this time you're dong about 45kph and yelling whoopee!!)
I usually stay pretty well in RH 3-LH 5 and shift from there depending on the situation
There are way more gears these days, but it is easier to go faster with more gears (since that way you don't have your legs bouncing off at high speeds (with a narrow band of low gears), or conversely if the bike has a narow band of high gears, need legs like a weightlifter to get off the start line!!!)
As for changing gears, it's a bit like changing gears in your car, but without a clutch. You need to ease off a bit on the accelerator (pedalling) when you change so you don't get everything in a crunch and bang. For a while you might try stopping pedalling, changing then slowly easing back onto the pedals. After a while you will get the hang of mid pedal changing and even changing smoothly on hills!!! (to start with I would advise getting into the correct gear BEFORE the hill)
oh and if the chain jumps off, don't panic. there's a bit near the back gears that kida holds the chain away from the gears and moves backwards and forwards (far as I can see it's supposed to keep tension on the chain). If you push that back towards the pedal you can manually put the chain back on the cog (spiky gear bit). This will make your hands icky.
A cleaner cheat is to put the bike into a higher front gear and pick the back tyre up and spin the pedal (watch your shins). This will often get the chain back on without getting your hands dirty.
Last edited by Butterfly_Dawn
on Thu Aug 09, 2007 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
35kg lost. (November 2005 - October 2006)
15kg gained again (as at October 2010).
Back to the drawing board - Let's do this thing!
"You can't change the winds, but you can change the sails"
"Reach out and take control of what lands in your lap"