Get To Know Your Gears
While the number of gears on a bike can vary, they all do one basic task: control speed by determining how much or how little resistance is placed on the pedals. While riding on level ground, practice shifting between gears.
• Gears are controlled by clicking small levers typically located on the left and right side of the bike's handlebars. When you click a lever, the bike chain is shifted over a set of gear rings or cogs located on the back wheel and the pedal crank of the bike. Shifting moves the chain from one cog to another to make resistance easier or harder.
• "Downshifting means you are using a lower gear to make pedaling easier, like when approaching and climbing a hill," Bausch says.
• "Upshifting means you are using a higher gear to give you more traction, like when you are on flat, easy terrain, going downhill, or rounding a curve," Bausch says.