The Chainlink

A couple of really ignorant questions to which I probably should know the answers, but nope.

1) What's up with those bikes with that extra set of handlebars perpendicular to the regular handlebars, the ones that make the cyclist practically lie down in order to grab? Usually used by people all done up in their little stretchy bike outfits who think they're doing the Tour de France but it's really a busy public path...What's the point of those handlebars, and doesn't it make it more difficult to control the steering??

2) On my bike I have two gear shifts: one on the left with 3 gear positions, and one on the right with 7. Yeah, I should have asked years ago when I bought my bike, but hey...in today's economy, who has time? But...what's the purpose of each? TBH, I pretty much have the one on the left permanently set to 3, and of course the one on the right I'm constantly shifting depending on the situation...start off at 1 when I start pedaling and crank it up as I get rolling...

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1) Aero handlebars keep the rider in a crouched, aerodynamic position that is made easier by resting on your elbows/forearms.

2) The left one shifts your front chainring and the right shifts your rear cassette. You are usi8ng them correctly.

Thanks, Gene!

How would I know when to adjust the front then as opposed to the rear??

If you need a bigger, more dramatic shift e.g. a hill, the front chainring. If you want something more subtle, the rear cassette.

Also, about TT/aerobars, time trials (TdF, etc.) and triathletes use those. They are not supposed to be used on group rides or in close proximity of other cyclists because as you pointed out, you don't have as much control or quick access to brakes. They are great for people maintaining a steady speed and needing to be aero.

Put the left in one position that you like and leave it there. Yoou may encounter lots of uphill that may have you change the left to a lower gear. 

I use the lower gear a lot in the winter with snow on the ground.

Using a lower gear in the front is also helpful for strong headwinds, or if you have a knee injury that forces you to back off a bit.

The left, the chainring, tells you what  type of riding you are doing. most riders are really only using one of them depending on how their bike is geared. If it is the middle for you that is your "regular" ride. The big ring is for riding downhill or with the wind or really fast. The little ring is for riding uphill, against the wind or really slow The big ring is harder to pedal and the little one is easier.  The right, the cog, is for minor adjustments within the theme you chose with the left. Is it a little bit hard to pedal? Downshift one or two gears on  your right. If it a little too easy? Upshift. In middle America where glaciers did what they do you do not need to shift a whole lot. You can likely get by using no more than three or four gears. I commute using two to three of them unless it is real windy either in front of me or behind me.

Based on your description of the riders you see using aero bars you can consider them as a way for you to bring on the need for a chiropractor. They serve no other purpose unless you have been reading The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and a biography of Lance Armstrong and are having a hard time recalling which book was which.

Based on your description of the riders you see using aero bars you can consider them as a way for you to bring on the need for a chiropractor. They serve no other purpose unless you have been reading The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and a biography of Lance Armstrong and are having a hard time recalling which book was which.

Indeed. ;)

DID I NOT SAY I'M IGNORANT??

Sorry I yelled, but man, sometimes I gotta to be heard.

Heck, if I weren't ignorant, I wouldn't be here -- I'm here to learn, brother!

Actually, the ignorant ones are the freds who time trial on MUPs.

Here's what I know- we are all here to learn and find rides and sometimes let off some steam. I am sure each of us have topics we are ignorant about. Me? Even though I've been riding my whole life, I tend to shy away from basic bike maintenance and lately, I've been working to correct that (see Wine and Workshop coming up). 

I agree, I get pretty pissed off at "Freds" going way too fast in pedestrian-heavy areas with little dogs and children (I have two little dogs and mostly love small children). 

And lycra a.k.a. cycling kits? Don't knock 'em til you tried em. They are damn fine and SO comfortable that I will gladly leave the house wearing one (and I'm not a fan of close-fitting anything). If you do long rides, they are a must-have and on a side note, wearing one does not have any impact on brain function and "little stretchy bike outfits" are worn by a wide variety of cyclists with a wide variety of attitudes. We aren't all trying to kill it on the LFP.

So today let's be a little kinder to one another. The second bike fatality just happened and of course, the cyclist is being blamed because he is no longer around to give his account. There are bigger fish to fry than each other. 

Oh, believe me - I totally understand (and believe me even louder -- you do not want to see me in those lycra thingies...I'd nauseate everybody outside!) the usefulness of those things...I'm just addressing those who see 'em as being granted "me over everybody else" privileges. :)

Awesome of you to ask straight forward questions tbh. And you are not the only ChiCycler who stops at stops signs. I commute everyday and I also do. I've also been cycling for over 15 years and I agree with your kit assessment. You are doing good brother, and you are not ignorant. Carry on :)

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