I’ve been out cycling a little bit recently and I have been enjoying it. As a calorie burner it’s not as efficient as running/jogging but it is a different activity and fun. Also, as I can cycle three to four times faster than I can run and because of the increased time needed to burn fat I now have somewhere between 9 and 25 times the area to investigate – it depends on a number of factors but is essentially the length scale factor squared.

When I’ve been out I’ve been changing gear but I have been wondering what the actual ratios are and understanding these would make things a little more efficient and help me know when it’s best to change from big to small etc. The bike is an 18 speed machine which I find surprising but then I’m slightly old and can remember 5 speed derailleurs being impressive technology. I looked up the number of teeth on each gear and created a spreadsheet.

Bike Gearings
Bike Gearings

This now means that I understand the numbers more and can change into a more correct gear given the upcoming terrain. All the above are in the form 1 : n, where it is turns of pedal : turns of wheel. On a more fundamental level I think I am surprised at how efficient we are at cycling and it should be done more, if you can get a bike.


Since getting rid of the Beast and buying a new car I have missed using a gear stick and doing things with my feet and left hand. I now have a hybrid car which has a stick I move into Drive position and then into Park position. That’s it. My left foot operates the manual parking brake. I really like the car. It’s comfy and drives really smooth. But I need my fix of gear stick work.

Fortunately I have a decent steering wheel for the PlayStation and I can use the gears on that. It’s not the same but it keeps the coordination going a little bit I guess.

There are a few things to note. I have the gear stick set up on the right of the steering wheel to mimic racing cars.

G29 Driving Force Wheel
G29 Driving Force Wheel

I will say that without really thinking about it I was heel-and-toeing the game and doing it quite well while using the clutch and steering. I’ve been playing Drive Club and while the game play and feedback about handling isn’t as good as Gran Turismo it will have to do until the PS4 version of GT comes out, which given that they said 2016 is quite likely to be 2025 knowing Polyphony.

It’s possible that not coordinating feet and hands in a real car anymore means I am going to get better at it on this gaming device. I will still get to drive manual vehicles, most likely minibuses at work for taking people places. I feel slightly sorry for them as I remember how to use a clutch!