Yesterday I was cycling. This has become a routine for me. For past decade I have been cycling to my office. My cycle is without gears. I was fast and rode past a fellow cyclist who was briskly peddling. He was a school going kid; may be in class tenth. I saw his tensed face, I could see that he was not enjoying the cycle ride at all. The road was straight and without any gradient. I noticed that his cycle had gears and I almost knew the thing; I saw his gear combination and confirmed that he was in the wrong gear, which made him peddle more.
This is the case with most of the cyclist especially kids who have just started cycling. Their parents buy cycles having gears and broad tyres, may be because geared cycles are in vogue or may be out of affection thinking to buy best in the market or just because they want to simply splurge. Nowadays many cycle models come with gears. Infact it is difficult to find a modern light weight attractive looking bicycle without gears. The kids are not taught the correct usage of the gears and often end up selecting a low gear combination on a straight and level road. As a result on a level road, the cycle ride is slow, requires lot of peddling and riding becomes frustrating for the kid. Wrong selection of gears coupled with broad tyres, tire the kid. The kids should first experience the quantum of effort required for a level road, to negotiate a gradient and what to do on a slope only then would they appreciate the gear and its use. Only then would they be able to select correct gear for correct gradient. In any case city roads don’t require gears.
No wonder the geared broad tyred cycle originally designed for cross country and steep gradients when marketed by cunning shopkeepers to the city based gullible customers, resulted in good money for the salesman but a harrowing experience for the users who never got it right how to ride.
With geared broad tyred cycles the joy of cycling is no longer there. Worst thing is these bicycles are exorbitantly costly.
For city rides, the best bicycle is a light weight bicycle with thin tyres and no gears.