The Cork Board

Cogs and whatnot

I’ve never been a mechanical man. That is, the finer, no, most, of the points of anything to do with engines or machinery have passed me by. So long as the machine in question worked, no problem. If there was a problem I would open up my wallet and delegate the solution to someone who had a clue.

Cars? I just drive them. I’ve no idea whether it is a V6, V8, V10 or V for victory. Cylinders ? Do they have those somewhere ? And as for horsepower – nope. It’s the same with my bike. I just ride it. After all, there is even less to know about, isn’t there?!

Imagine my inadequacy then when in the process of buying my new bicycle (God bless Mrs. Monkey) I found myself being inexorably drawn into a discussion about cog ratios. “ What ? Can’t we talk about the role of John Ruskin in promoting the Pre-Raphaelites and their subsequent impact on the history of art ? I just want to get up hills easily, “ I whimpered.

Lizzie takes a bath

I bought my original road bike 5 years ago – Hop on – ride – and it benefits from what I now know as a “triple set” (3 cogs) at the front. Thus making climbing hills somewhat easier. Triple sets are being phased out, I am told, and now there are only two available at the front. “ But the hills, the hills,” I bleated. “What about the hills?” This is where the discussion on cog ratios began.


I won’t bore you with the finer details suffice to say that cog ratios on triple sets are comparative with ratios on double sets somewhere along the way and I needn’t worry. Apparently.

I had, however, learnt my lesson. Don’t try to bluff MAN stuff if you’re not a REAL MAN. (Other genders are available.)Do your homework.

So, I thought, where is the bluffers guide to machinery, to cog ratios, and so on, so that I can pull myself up to my full 5’8” and proudly state, “I’ve had a 34/32 on my ratchet set since the spigot was tapped on the roundel and everything after that was tickety-boo.”?

Alas, I am left to invent my own….

“Watch out for the slap mark on the collpandle as it comes around otherwise you’ll have to wait for the joltoddle with the splines on.”

“Do you have one of those with a lick-spittle tapper?”

I am sure you can come up with your own. As for me, I’m off to find out if my 34/32 is as good as my 30/28.


8 thoughts on “Cogs and whatnot”

  1. Happy New Year to you Al. Lovely post and I couldn’t agree with you more. I believe all of this, however, can be referred to (at least here in the US) as either a “doo-hickey” or a “thing-a-ma-jig”.

  2. Rob van der whatsit has a great book on technical cycling info. Van der
    Plas. Just found him. Penguin book of cycling. Mind you my version is so old much of it is outdated. I started writing a blog post about it and never finished it 😀 As well as being up on energy, cogs, wheels, sprockets, chains, gearing for person and dog, he goes into the politics of cycling which I found really interesting. Might finish my post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s