If you’ve never owned a fat tire beach cruiser before, there’s a period of adjustment when you pick one up because while the principles of riding it are the same as any other bike, the practicalities are different. The tires and gearing on your women’s cruiser bike are designed to take you through sandy environments where traction is important while also remaining useful on paved roads and other surfaces. The difference in tire size and traction, as well as the weight of the bike frame and accessories, all come together to create a bike that behaves and balances just a little differently, and that quickly becomes apparent during challenging moments like uphill climbs.
How Many Gears Do You Need?
Entry level beach cruiser designs are often single-speed because it’s simple to use and inexpensive to produce. The issue is that with a single speed gear setup, you have to supply more power to get more performance. That makes uphill riding an energy intensive exercise and for some riders, it might even make certain inclines inaccessible. Multi-gear bikes allow you to take advantage of force multiplying mechanics to get more traction and torque going uphill, but you do need to know how to use them. Most choices for a beach cruiser with gears have either three speeds or seven, although you might find other options from custom designers and small companies. Inexperienced riders are likely to find it easier to use a three speed, but a larger number of gears gives you more control over your power output, so it’s worth thinking about going all in on a seven speed model.
Changing Gears on an Uphill Climb
The key to getting the most out of each revolution of your pedals is finding the right moment to shift and then practicing until you can do it smoothly. Many riders choose to wait until pedaling becomes difficult, losing a lot of momentum in the process and leading to situations where the bike could stop mid-shift if the timing is wrong. Instead, shift down to a low gear as soon as you feel resistance to get more power as you pedal up, so you lose less velocity on the climb. As you come to the top and begin to accelerate, smoothly shift upward until you’re back at an appropriate cruising speed and pedaling velocity.
Should You Add Electric Assistance?
Buying an electric version of that black beach cruiser you’ve had your eye on could help you get more fun out of it from the very first day. Bikes with motors provide the user with speed assistance to help them go further on the same amount of exertion. When you go uphill, that means getting an extra boost that helps you avoid losing speed as you climb. This can make it easier to manage hills on a single speed model, but it also provides a lot of energy-saving help when you’re learning how to shift a multi-speed cruiser to get the best performance out of your ride, so it’s worth considering no matter what kind of cruiser you like.