To switch gears smoothly and efficiently:
- You have to keep your bike well cared for. That doesn't mean to say you have to take it apart every evening, clean every part with a cotton bud and lubricate them all again
Make sure that you can shift to each gear properly, one by one, and that the chain doesn't derail when moving to either the biggest or smallest chainwheels or cogs.
- If you see that something's not quite right, either get it checked straightaway or learn how to do it yourself, if you're good with your hands and it's not too complicated
Make sure that the cables connecting the shifters and derailleurs are in good condition at all times.
- It's also very important that the cogs, chain and chainring are lightly oiled
- Avoid using grease or thick oil, which will quickly congeal and prove very difficult to get off your clothes
- Use a light oil instead or an oil spray specially designed for bike gears
- Regularly clean your chain with a cloth, and lubricate it immediately afterwards. Take care not to spray or drip the oil on your brakes rim/brake pads or discs/brake pads
Last thing — when you wash your bike, or you have used it in the rain, make sure that you don't let your chain rust. Apply oil to it straightaway!
So now you know everything you need to know about gears!