How to Use a Grip Shift on My Bike
If you've ever cycled up a steep hill on a bike that doesn't have multiple gears, then you probably can relate to the wonders of "hard" and "easy" gears. While different bicycles have different methods of allowing you to shift from one gear to another, some bikes are equipped with gear shifts right on the handlebars, called grip shifters. Shifters in this position allow you to move up and down the gears without ever having to move your hands off the handlebars -- a good thing to have for those who are balance-challenged and don't want to take even one hand off the bars.
Mount your bicycle and begin pedaling to establish a moderate amount of speed. Start out on a long, flat surface or track so that you can practice shifting without the trouble of uphills or downhills just yet.
Grip the right grip shift firmly and reduce the pressure of your feet on the pedals, while at the same time continuing to pedal. Twist the right grip shift toward you until you hear one click. This action will move the back derailleur of the bicycle -- which moves the chain on and off the rear gear cogs -- onto a larger cog, making it easier to pedal.
Twist the right grip shift until you hear one more click. This will cause the derailleur to move the chain back one more cog, making it even easier to pedal.
Twist the right grip shift forward one click to make it harder to pedal. Generally, you should use the right grip shift for precision shifting, making it slightly harder or slightly easier to shift.
Twist the left grip shift backward one click. This will move the front derailleur and move the chain outward onto a larger chain ring. You should notice that it has gotten significantly harder to pedal. This is opposite from the result of twisting back on the right grip shift, so be sure to keep this in mind.
Twist the left grip shift forward one click, pedal for about 10 seconds, and then twist forward one more click. You should now notice that it has gotten significantly easier to pedal the bicycle. Use the left gear shift for rapid and significant changes, such as when you're approaching a steep hill.
Always continue pedaling when shifting, but do not put excess pressure onto the pedals while doing so. As such, try to shift before you go up a hill. On a hill, your feet will be putting a lot of pressure onto the pedals.
Ideally, you should shift from one gear to another, one gear at a time, though you can twist the grip shift several clicks to move several gears at once. If you do so, though, you may hear clanging as your derailleur struggles to complete the task.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.