mig wrote:MickF - have you always preferred low gears or has there been a trend towards them as you've got older? i ask as i come from a racing background and would use a 53T outer a few years ago even for normal (summer) riding. i'm finding now that i don't tend to use it at all. maybe from repeated winters on 65-70" fixed or maybe as i'm getting older. i'm assuming that my gear choice will go lower as i age. is this what you have found?
My cycling career was
always one of utility. I've never raced or been "sporty" in any way.
From being adult, I've cycled to work when I could. Started off only a mile or so on a 3sp, then six or seven miles. It was then that I bought my first dropped bar 10sp. The route then was only into Devonport from out in Plymstock, not much of any hills.
We moved to Scotland, and I traded up for a better bike. 12sp double, but even with seven miles each way, there were no hills to speak of. We moved house, and I had fourteen miles each way, but this time it was over the hills, so I bought bigger cogs for my 6sp Suntour block.
We moved to Plymouth and the gears weren't to my liking, so chopped and changed cogs till I was happy. All this time I'd been using 52/42 chainsets. We moved to Cornwall, and I bought a new chainset 36/52 but still played around with the cogs. I eventually had a whole set of them!
After buying the Mercian, all the good bits went on it, and I sold the other put back to standard. Still, I fiddled with ratios. I did JOGLE fully loaded with panniers and 36/52 with a 13-28 7sp Suntour cassette. I managed ok and didn't walk up Berridale but I had a rest at the bottom before tackling it.
After leaving the RN, I started to ride for leisure and pleasure as I didn't have to commute, and found steeper hills as I explored. I modernised my Mercian to a triple Campag 30/42/52 with 9sp 13-23 but it wasn't low enough so went to 9sp 13-26. That was fine, but I found I wanted lower especially as I'd got into towing a trailer, so when I went to 10sp, I fitted 30/42/53 and a 13-29 cassette. That was fine, and the way it remained until fairly recently.
When Campag came out with the 12-30 10sp cassette, I jumped at it. Perfect.
It was as I was ordering a new rim from Spa that I browsed their site and saw their reasonably priced inner rings, so I took a punt on a 28t.
It's too low generally, but on the odd occasion I want it, at least it's there.
Is it me getting older?
Dunno physically that it makes a difference, but mentally I'm not so much in a hurry maybe?
I still adore my top gear of 53/12, and would happily go a bit higher but TBH it's not needed.
If I lived somewhere flat - Milton Keynes for instance(!) - I'd ditch my triple and use a double or even a single.
Mick F. Cornwall