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View Full Version : Downshifting As A Courtsey...


K'Tesh
08-05-2008, 10:51 AM
I've found that when I come up to a stop, It's frustrating to get stopped and find that I'm stuck in a hard gear. What's worse is when I have a car on my six, or someone who is to my right and wanting to wait for me.

I've found that downshifting as I approach a stop can be a courtsey with those that we share the road with. It's also easier on the bike and chain as you don't strain the drivetrain.

Rubberside Down!
K'Tesh

biciclero
08-05-2008, 12:10 PM
It is also frustrating to the patience-impaired like myself to come to a polite stop behind a biker already waiting at a light, and then be stuck there while they wobble to a *s l o w* start and take the next block to get back up to speed.

My rationale, besides the conflicting desires to go fast and also obey the rules, is that the less time spent in intersections, the better. Intersections are where you are most likely to get hit, so I try to get into and out of them ASAP. Plus it's great for surprising those cyclists who come to an IMpolite stop by swerving around me to stop in front, somehow assuming that they are way, way faster...

wyeast
08-05-2008, 12:54 PM
What? You mean everyone doesn't downshift at a stop? (fixie/ss's excluded) Why would you make things harder on yourself?

I mean, I don't drop all the way to granny gear, but I'll take it down a notch, just to make sure I pull away from the stop w/o wobbling around like a bozo. Last thing I need is to stand on the pedal, only to fall over the other side. :D

Donald
08-05-2008, 02:56 PM
And when there's cars about, I'd rather set the example than squeeze the lemon.

It's more an issue on my old analog commuter than my indexed mtb. The latter changes ratios like lightening, the former needs some love and attention to get the right trim.

So gimme a sec. Where the heck does anyone have to be so quickly on a bike that this is an issue?

Bikes don't need to be the next cars.

jr98664
08-06-2008, 01:17 AM
I usually do shift down while coming to a stop, but for when I forget or just need to stop quickly, I find it's easy enough to take the few seconds that you'll be spending at the light, pick up the rear of your bike and give the crank a spin while shifting. Not as smooth as an internal hub, and it might just work because I have clipless pedals, but at least I can avoid lumbering, high-gear starts most of the time.

Donald
08-06-2008, 09:55 AM
I find it's easy enough to take the few seconds that you'll be spending at the light, pick up the rear of your bike and give the crank a spin while shifting.

You happen to be packing panniers that hold a change of clothes, lunch, a lock, (and what passes for a lightweight in your office) laptop.

lefty175
08-06-2008, 12:06 PM
I try to downshift when I'm coming to a stop sign or light. I, however, sometimes am bombing it, trying to make the light but fail; consequently, I sometimes do not have time to downshift. I try to pick up the back of my bike and get it to a better gear, but that does not always work.

Also to add to the things starting in a big gear are bad on: your knees.

t27
08-06-2008, 12:12 PM
The ability to downshift while stopped is great for the city. Eight evenly spaced gears, same range as a standard double, and I can break when stopping and go when going.

brewcaster
08-06-2008, 07:26 PM
I often have wondered why so many folks don't downshift at the stops. I am pretty OCD about it. But I think it also helps that I have a hybrid bike with quick trigger shifters. I can get to the gear I like from stops VERY fast before having to put a foot down. I often beat cars out of the intersection, but not because I am racing them. I find that standing and pedaling while mastering the art of shifting while pedaling standing can get me to speed very quickly, then its back to the seat to maintain speed.

When I am stuck behind someone stressing their knees with a slow cadence because they refuse to shift, I just smile and enjoy the break. No sense in risking a pass with cars coming off a fresh green light to save what probably will be about 10 seconds in the overall commute.

Its been some hot ride homes lately.

donnambr
08-06-2008, 09:14 PM
The ability to downshift while stopped is great for the city. Eight evenly spaced gears, same range as a standard double, and I can break when stopping and go when going.
Yay Nexus 8! :)

brettoo
08-07-2008, 01:20 AM
Yay Nexus 8! :)

Ditto. Came with my new bike last month and already wouldn't want to ride without 'em.

djasonpenney
08-07-2008, 08:23 AM
It's not really practical to start from a full stop with an internal combustion machine unless you're in first gear. :D

Also, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation teaches us to stay in gear (not neutral), both brakes applied (hence left foot on the ground) whenever stopped.

Obviously bikers could have either foot on the ground, but all of this seems to be good safety advice. In the case of motorcycles, the risk of being struck from the rear is ironically higher when you're stopped at an intersection, because motorists have impaired depth perception as well as a congenital inability to see anything smaller than a car.

It seems to me that the same concerns apply for a cyclist. If you see a car approaching from your rear is not about to stop, you want to be ready to leave in a hurry (another good reason to use a mirror, so you can watch approaching traffic while waiting for the light to change). Also, since being struck from the rear may shove you into the intersection, you want to have your brakes applied in case this is not a viable escape strategy.

I often have wondered why so many folks don't downshift at the stops.

<snip>

Thorlak
08-07-2008, 01:17 PM
I was tagged at a stoplight once on my cycle. The driver seem incredulous
that I noticed. I had the clutch pulled in and in gear and the impact was just enough for me to slip the clutch and stall the motor. I had no ideal what happened until I tried to roll backwards away from the auto bumper in front of me and couldn't cause I was pinned. I had though my hand slipped off the clutch. So the light turns green,I put down the kickstand and checked the damage. Fortunately it just bent the license plate. I shot the offender a dirty look straitened the plate while the cars behind us honked and took my time going on my way again. The most interesting thing is that the driver of the auto didn't even bother to get out of the car and had a look on his face that I had a problem and just really wanted to get going again ! HA
(On a side, all I can think of stopped at an intersection in gear is my clutch plates wearing thin)

Ooooo so off topic..sorry

OldCog
08-07-2008, 09:49 PM
I mean really its pretty simple if you just drop your front deralliur into low you're already in a fair position to start off --- Of course indexed shifters and having them properly adjusted makes this duck soup

beelnite
08-11-2008, 01:47 PM
It happens. Sudden stop or a moment of forgetfulness. Get up to get going and...


OUCH! This hurts!

I'm a liberal shifter - the cables will wear out faster but the knees take much less abuse!

Haven_kd7yct
08-12-2008, 07:41 AM
Beelnite: Me too! I like my knees to continue working, so I shift liberally too.

I always try to downshift when approaching stops-- traffic signals, stop signs, or stopped traffic.

Sometimes I don't have time: on the Bridge Pedal, I hit one of the expansion joints going up the Marquam and my reflector on my front wheel got all catywampus, so I had to pull over to get it off my bike before it ruined my fork. Of course, I was in a really hard gear to start with, so I just had to suffer for a little bit until I could get up enough momentum again to carefully shift down-- down-- down-- ah, there we are! :)

djasonpenney
08-12-2008, 09:54 AM
In the winter, the bottom side of the bottom bracket gets s--t all over it and it gets washed aggressively. Most modern bikes feed the shifter cables over the BB, so...

Whenever you clean and oil your chain (hey, something else that you need to do more often in the winter), just make sure you drop some oil over the cables here as well. I think you'll find that cable wear is a marginal issue :D


<snip>

I'm a liberal shifter - the cables will wear out faster but the knees take much less abuse!

vincentpaul
08-12-2008, 03:42 PM
Whenever you clean and oil your chain (hey, something else that you need to do more often in the winter), just make sure you drop some oil over the cables here as well. I think you'll find that cable wear is a marginal issue :D

Depends on the type of cable and housing. Shimano advises AGAINST oiling the cable and housing. Other brands with teflon lining (housing) or coating (cable) also advise against oiling. With those cables and housing all the oil is going to do is attract dirt.

bikerinNE
08-12-2008, 04:14 PM
It's not really practical to start from a full stop with an internal combustion machine unless you're in first gear. :D

Also, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation teaches us to stay in gear (not neutral), both brakes applied (hence left foot on the ground) whenever stopped.

Obviously bikers could have either foot on the ground, but all of this seems to be good safety advice. In the case of motorcycles, the risk of being struck from the rear is ironically higher when you're stopped at an intersection, because motorists have impaired depth perception as well as a congenital inability to see anything smaller than a car.

It seems to me that the same concerns apply for a cyclist.

I guess thats why PDOT is making bicycle boxes that are painted green. But usually when I'm stopped at a light, I'm not sitting in the middle of the right, or left lane. I'm not there because of the fear that someone might not being paying attention, looking down at the radio or cell phone and not see my red brake lights. So, I'm off the the right as far as practical, or if I'm turning left i'm over to the left yellow line as practical. But i'm never sitting in the middle of the lane, giving myself no way out. I always give myself and out.

I don't view motorcycles and bicycles as the same at all. One uses gas, the other uses food for fuel. My motor, not a internal combustion engine. Yes, they both have to wheels, and are hard to see... but way different.

djasonpenney
08-12-2008, 08:04 PM
I think you have a very defensible notion to try to make your exit strategy as sound as possible. One might counter-argue that you could be inviting a car to share the lane with you at the left turn light, which is its own nightmare. But still, your point is interesting.

Please: I don't think that motorcycles and bicycles are the same, and I don't believe I ever said that. I was just pointing out that there are some similar issues, especially when it comes to visibility.

I guess thats why PDOT is making bicycle boxes that are painted green. But usually when I'm stopped at a light, I'm not sitting in the middle of the right, or left lane. I'm not there because of the fear that someone might not being paying attention, looking down at the radio or cell phone and not see my red brake lights. So, I'm off the the right as far as practical, or if I'm turning left i'm over to the left yellow line as practical. But i'm never sitting in the middle of the lane, giving myself no way out. I always give myself and out.

I don't view motorcycles and bicycles as the same at all. One uses gas, the other uses food for fuel. My motor, not a internal combustion engine. Yes, they both have to wheels, and are hard to see... but way different.

lazlo
08-13-2008, 10:03 AM
I'm a liberal shifter

I knew this forum was populated by shifty liberals!