Gear Selection in City Centres


New Member
This morning on Old Street a fellow cyclist asked me if I was stuck in a low gear. I replied that I kept a low gear to accelerate quickly, not only away from lights but out of potentially dangerous situations. I also like spinning fast as I find this gets my heart and lungs pumping fast (lungs? On Old Street? Not necessarily a good idea!)

Wondered if anyone else had any opinions?


North Wales
I ride in whatever gear my legs and situation dictates. Normally around 50-17, ie big ring, middle of cassette.

jonny jeez

Legendary Member
only ever seem to use 15, 19 and 21...or whatever the large ring gears are.

never visit the other two rings and kind of ride the opposite to Babeloo as I like the speed at which I can get to top speed in the larger ring's.


Cycle Camera TV
South Croydon
I saw one chap, who was in the smallest ring on the front, and would always change the the biggest ring at the back when he stopped. Presumably to help prevent chain stretching. but it always caught me off guard as he set off in front of me, as he was soooooo slow and i nearly went into the back of him a few times.

I personally like an easy gear when setting off, just my personal preference. and like around 90 - 110 rpm when going along. But when accelerating i like to be in a biggish gear and pound it!

Molecule Man

Well-Known Member
I tend to use a relatively low gear most of the time (can't remember the ratios), so I end up pedalling at 90-120 rpm (I think).
I started doing this when I had problems with sore knees, I thought it would take the strain off them.
Does anyone know if this actually helps or not?


Resting in suspended Animation
In city centres when setting off 28-20. As speeds are so slow sometimes a fair bit of the time anyway.


lately especially I'm quite happy starting in a big gear, I like the feeling of slowly winding it up and catching up and passig all the people that have shot off in low gear


Über Member
I thought this was going to be a thread about how hard it is to find cycling gear in City Centre "bike" shops!

It is though. The only bike shops near work are chains and unless you want to buy a whole bike or something in blue lycra they are hopeless.

No idea what gears I use in the city but they are low ones. I can't stand getting trapped in the pack at the lights. Overtake me later if you want once we've got some space to play with.

Shut Up Legs

Down Under Member
I typically change to middle front chainring (39) and 4th smallest rear (16) when approaching traffic lights & intersections, so I can accelerate faster when leaving. When I get up to about 20km/h, I change to my cruising gear. This is right front chainring (50) and either 4th smallest or 3rd smallest rear (14). Going up or down fairly steep hills I may use the others occasionally.

My bike's got good gear ratios: 50,39,30 on the front and 32,28,24,21,18,16,14,12,11 on the rear. It's a Vivente World Randonneur touring bike.

I try to use whatever gears keep my cadence consistently between about 65 and 80, which is my preferred cadence. I know people recommend about 90, but I just can't seem to get used to pedalling that fast.


Cycling in the sun
I can use my full range of gears depending on where I cycle in the city... I think I probably change gear too often:blush: - even by the time I travel 1 road from my house I will have changed gear.
Top Bottom