I recently purchased a used bike from my local co-op. I've ridden previously on fixed bikes with straight bars, but this bike is the first one I've owned where I have to shift and use drop handlebars. I've been practising for the last two weeks or so, but am still uncomfortable with this. I have two big questions
1) I am having a lot of trouble simply keeping my bike steady with one hand while trying to shift. I am quite confident riding one handed and even shifting with one hand on the part where the handle bars curve out on the top, but have no control over my bike if I try riding one handed from the hoods. Its almost impossible for me to shift (with down tube shifters) and have a hand on the brakes just in case. It seems impossible for me to ride on the hoods and not have the handlebars carry a lot of my weight. I'm considering brifters just because then I'd never have to take my hands off the handlebars, but that'd be almost as much as I paid for the bike.
2) I have read that you are not supposed to shift while under load, but what about no load? I guess this partially stems from the fact that I'm not really comfortable shifting from the hoods, but I really have a hard time shifting and keeping control while still pedalling. Also, when I do shift while still pedalling, my foot sometimes comes off the pedal. Is there any way to prevent this without clipless pedals?