2 minute read


In the summer of 2018 I began mountain biking. Before then I had ridden bikes for fun and gone on a few mountain bike rides as part of some scouting activities. In 2018, however, I got serious and began riding on a more regular basis.

In the last year and a half I have learned more about the sport and have tried to improve my skills. One crucial skill I am still working on is knowing when to shift gears so you maximize your power going up and down the mountain. Without this skill you end up spending a lot more energy trying to get up the hill and consequently tire yourself out sooner than you would if you had better technique.

I have noticed that when climbing a mountain I want to still maintain a good cadence in my pedaling, but doing so requires planning. When I see a hill coming up I try and make sure I have a decent amount of speed entering the climb and so I can shift before I am struggling. If I am too late in shifting I run the risk of damaging my chain and the entire drivetrain of the bike.

One part of my strategy is if I see a climb coming up while I am still coming down a hill I’ll try and push myself a bit, trying to get a bit more speed so when I get to the incline I don’t have to work as hard on that initial climb and then I can back off pedaling a little bit while I shift to a lower gear, before the point I know I will begin struggling. It takes some practice and some judgement, but getting it right feels so good and make the climb that much easier.

Something I have noticed is that business and life require very much the same approach as shifting gears.

There are times when things are going well and running smoothly. They don’t require a lot of effort on our part, just a continual attention to making sure things are running like you want. However, if we look ahead far enough we may see some warning signs and recognize trouble on the horizion. Maybe you see an increase in the amount of stress you are under and can tell that you may need to dial back a little on some aspects of your life so you can handle that load. Before you do that, if you set yourself up with a couple of routines or if you push just a little to get some projects completed and off your plate, that extra little bit of wiggle room you have can help you climb that hill.

Shifting gears is a critical skill in both biking and in life. When coupled with a little bit of planning you can be much more effective in your business and personal life as you maximize your time during the downhills and effectively manage the stresses of uphill climbs.

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash.