I've been using a road bike for about 2 months and I've noticed I have been having trouble getting into the correct gear for climbing hills. On the flat I will be cruising in the large chainring with one of the smaller cogs at the back (in too low a cadence really but that's something I'm working on). I want to carry a reasonable amount of speed to the foot of the hill so I pedal up to it then find that I have to switch to the smaller chainring and one of the smaller cogs, basically meaning I have to do one shift with my left hand and 5 or so with my right. This is only an issue on hills that start quite steeply but I wondered if I'm doing something wrong and could change in a smoother way rather than 5 or 6 changes in a couple of seconds.
Also, the same thing sometimes applies when I am in an easy cog and the big ring then want to switch to the smaller ring, suddenly I am in far too easier cog and have to shift up a lot. Is part of this because I use a compact so the differences are larger? I have a 50/34 chainring and a 12/25 cassette.
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You're doing it right but heavy-handed with the drop down. As the hill approaches start working your way up to the bigger cogs at the back, maintaining the same cadence, but moving no further than the middle of the cassette (4th, 5th gear). When the road ramps up slip from big to small chainring, thus dropping down a whole load of gears (8/9/10) at the one time. Progress up the hill dropping one gear at a time in the small chainring. Again try to maintain your cadence although this may not be entirely possible because of the steepness of the climb. Do the opposite on the way down. It's like driving a car. If a hill suddenly appeared in front of you and the engine began struggling while in fourth gear, you wouldn't drop right down to first. You would try and sustain the momentum and work your way down the gears.
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