Tuesday, 4 May 2010
On the cognitive side, I recently read Richard Guise's enjoyable and laid back novel, 'From the Mull to the Cape', charting his bicycle travelogue up the West Coast of Scotland. I was enthused to find that he'd picked up on an ergonomic issue with the gear levers on the handlebars – an issue I wholeheartedly agree with, having experienced it on my own Shimano set. There is inconsistency between the switches for the front and rear mech, which are controlled by levers on the left and right handlebar respectively. On the left, a flick of the thumb lever will take you up a gear, while the opposing lever takes you down; on the right, this arrangement is reversed. It sounds trivial, and if I understood the mechanics I'm sure there'd be a very good technical reason for it being this way. But from the user's perspective, it does make you think harder than you probably need to – and, even after much experience on the bike, this still confuses me from time to time (I even had to check my bike to make sure I had it the right way around before posting this).