Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Road Rage

Sometimes I just wish other cyclists would stop trying to be “helpful”. Yesterday, and not for the first time, I received unsolicited advice to change down gear, this time when just cresting a hump-back bridge over the disused railway line. At that point, I'd spent nearly all the kinetic energy I'd started the ascent with, and was working slowly to manage the final inches. Under these circumstances, where the chain is under tension and needs to remain thus to maintain forward way, a deraillier (or Shimano) gear will not operate in any useful fashion to effect a gearshift!

I'm a low-gear sort of person, with a normal beat of about 50rpm, which is a walking sort of pace, where I can make best use of major muscles in aerobic mode to convert most energy into forward motion. I don't do the supposedly standard the 100rpm jog, as at that sort of pace I find most of the effort goes into moving my knees up and down. If the lowish top gear on my current bike doesn't work, it's far less effort, and just as fast, to just get off and push. The only times I don't are when it's not practical to get off (e.g on the Pont de Ré), and there it is just a matter of having to grind away in a manner that tires the muscles far more than pushing does for no significant gain (if any) in forward velocity.

If nothing else, the grey hair and beard should tell them that I'm old enough to have some idea of what I'm doing and that it works for me. So, next time you're tempted to advise, stop, think, and shut up.

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