Yesterday I went on the weekly group ride organized by Mt. Eden Cycles, which seems like the bike shop I will most likely hang out at. Still haven’t found my pub away from home, but maybe I have a bike shop.
Anyway, the route went up and down Scenic Drive in the Waitakeres, one of the most popular hilly routes within easy riding distance of central Auckland. It turns out that my bike’s gearing is too macho for me, with a 53-39 up front and only sporting a 23-tooth cog in the back. While I was grinding away up the hill, barely able to turn the pedals, other less fit people were blithely passing me, their legs moving in a much more comfortable rhythm. I did get some respect at the après-velo coffee shop for not getting dropped worse in that gear, but it’s still preferable to just not get dropped at all.
That gearing was pretty standard when the bike was new a dozen years ago, and is still what you’d commonly see on a serious racer’s bike, as long as lots of climbing wasn’t expected. But I n recognition of the range of people who buy good road bikes these days (Chris Froome, but also myself, John Kerry, etc.), bike manufacturers have generally featured easier ratios in recent years. Luckily, it’s a cheap fix to switch out the rear cogs for something more civilized.
This route rolls around every fourth week, so next time I expect to be ready.