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I'd like to avoid using my two lowest gears while training for a hard and hilly cyclosportive. I am able to resist, but nevertheless do occasionally make a mistake. Is there anything I can do to safely physically prevent myself from using those two low cogs?

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    Just don't. Using too long gears on climbs can be counter-productive to your training and has little or no benefits. – Walto Salonen Feb 24 at 12:28
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    @WaltoSalonen It seems the asker is trying to train for a ride that has more difficult hills than the ones available where they live. Riding in higher gears is often recommended in this sort of situation; indeed, I'm not sure I've seen anything else recommended. What do dyou suggest instead? – David Richerby Feb 24 at 12:39
  • Note that using a harder gear may result in knee damage and other physical problems. – Daniel R Hicks Feb 24 at 12:54
  • I have added these two cogs (well, a new cassette). I have ridden with the older cogs for years. Please treat this as a mechanical question. – user2023370 Feb 24 at 13:36
  • @user2023370 People who think it's a bad idea aren't going to tell you how to do it. And, if somebody believes that it's a bad idea, "Don't do that -- it's a bad idea because XYZ" is a perfectly valid response. You might not care what they think but your question will be found by others who might be considering doing something similar. – David Richerby Feb 24 at 16:32
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You can probably turn the limit screw far enough in to prevent usage of at least the largest cog. Maybe even the second largest cog.

You could also stay on the larger chainring. Depending on your specific cassette and chainrings it’s roughly equal to not using your three largest cogs.

All that being said, in the end cycling is about power output. Using hard gears doesn’t automatically make you faster. Power is force (or more precisely torque) multiplied with rotational speed. Easier gears may allow you to pedal faster, resulting in the same power output over – possibly – a longer duration.

  • I think the point is that the asker is training for a ride with steep hills that will require high torque through the pedals even in their lowest gear. They want to practice applying that kind of torque while riding up hill but there aren't any steep-enough hills near where they live. The goal isn't to get up the local hills faster -- it's to get used to the stresses of riding up the steeper hills in the event. – David Richerby Feb 24 at 16:57
  • Max torque throughout the pedal stroke is roughly twice average torque, and max is still lower than what one typically experiences while walking up stairs. In most cases, the adaptation the rider should focus on is as @Michael says: work on developing power no matter whether at high torque or low, whether at high cadence or low. – R. Chung Feb 24 at 17:38
  • Staying in the larger chainring rubs on the changer, and it is still a little high. I like the limit screw idea - that's a quick change I can give that a try. – user2023370 Feb 24 at 17:54
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If you need to simulate riding steeper hills than you can train on, you can just use a cassette that doesn't have the lower gears.

For example, if your bicycle has an 11-28 cassette, replace it with an 11-25.

Also get a chain whip, a cassette lockring tool, and do the swap yourself. This really isn't the kind of maintenance you need to pay someone to do - it's

  • take rear wheel off (which you should know how to do because you have to be able to address a flat tire while riding)
  • unscrew lock ring
  • remove cassette

Literally - that's all that removing a cassette consists of. Given you'll have to swap the cassette back for the actual cyclosportive itself, you really don't want to pay for that work.

You will want to have someplace to put the dirty cassette when you're not using it - a plastic freezer-type bag works well. You can even label it with the cassette specs (for example "10-speed, 11-28"). Also have a relatively long plastic zip tie handy when you remove the cassette so you can immediately zip-tie it together in the proper order before you put it in the plastic bag.

  • Or have a second rear wheel with different cassette (optionally also different tires) for a quick swap. Note that the rear derailleur may need adjustment after swapping the wheel or cassette. – Michael Feb 24 at 17:32
  • Thanks. This is a fair suggestion, but I would rather leave things as they are in favour of this. Maybe I can get better at counting my gear changes :) – user2023370 Feb 25 at 22:12

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