Shifting Gears

The one thing I really suck at is shifting.

When I was training for the triathlon last Summer, my sister (to be… she did say yes, so she’s stuck) coached me through the motions.  “Left–down a couple! Right — up one!” If it hadn’t been for her I would’ve bike-walked the triathlon I swear.

This was naturally brought home as I took the bike out for its first run since September 20th– this morning.

If you live in the Seattle area — or any of its suburbs– you know that it is replete with hills. Big hills, little hills, hills that climb on rocks. Lots of hills. If you ride a bike, hills are not fun.

You see, there are two sets of gear wheels on a bike: little teeny wheels up to big wheels on the back-end, and but 3-changes-of-gears (wheel sizes) on the back-end. The general idea is to keep the chain line straight between these two sets of wheels whence you shift. However, this requires you bend your head down and actually LOOK at what you’re doing, which necessitates removing your line of sight from the road, which is where things like potholes and cars are.

It’s a lot like juggling projects, but with much more immediate results.

I rode six miles this morning, at an appalling time of about 30 minutes. I rode past a speedometer rated for cars (you know the sort– they tell you you’re going 40 –and flash — while you’re going past a church or somesuch) and it told me I was going 15mph. I paused to consider what “biting it” at 15mph would do to me on this bike.

Then I kept coasting. It wasn’t worth the worry, really.

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