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Ride On: Everything You Need to Know About Bicycling and Spinning

Cycling is about the most fun you can have burning more than 500 calories an hour. Plus it's so simple anyone can do it. What's stopping you? Get back in the spin with our pedal-pushing pointers.
Shifting gears How to Shift Properly

Cruising can be confusing when your bike has more gears than you know what to do with. Use this simple decoder from Troy Jacobson, the head triathlon coach of Life Time Fitness, for your smoothest cycling yet.

For starters

Your handlebars have a right shifter, which controls the gears on the rear wheel, and a left shifter, which controls the gears connected to the pedals; changing the gears alters the resistance on your chain, making pedaling easier or harder. The main thing to remember is that if you want a big change, shift on the left; for a smaller change, shift on the right.

For flat roads

Adjust your left and right shifters to a medium resistance, around the middle settings on each, for push behind every pedal stroke.

For uphills

As you approach and before you actually hit an incline, shift your right shifter to a lower gear or number to make it easier to pedal, then shift your left shifter to a lower gear as well. Once at the top, go back to the middle setting on both.

For downhills

If it's a gradual slope, adjust your right shifter to a higher gear. If it's a supersteep drop and your wheels are still spinning a bit out of control, adjust your left shifter to a higher gear as well.