[DWJ] Gears

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Thu Mar 29 16:48:39 EDT 2007

Ania wrote:

>It didn't even occur to me to try learning to drive in an automatic. Maybe
>learning to drive a manual is harder, but then you can drive anything; I
>gather from the comments made that if you are an automatic driver and need
>or want to drive a manual for some reason, it involves a whole lot of

Or learning about changing gear, at least, which if one never has might be
more difficult when one is already used to driving.  (A bit like changing
from one computer to another, maybe?  Someone used to Mac isn't going to
find it as easy to move to Microsoft as someone would find it to start with
Microsoft from scratch, and vice versa?)

>Again, maybe this is not the case with ultra-modern cars (which I would
>never be able to afford to buy, now or probably ever), but I have been told
>that automatics really guzzle petrol in hilly areas. I live in Wales, which
>is hilly- very hilly- and the roads are narrow and wiggly, so a manual is a
>better bet for me. The lurching goes away pretty quickly. I don't have to
>think about changing gears and all that, it has become, well, automatic. I
>also agree with the point someone made about better control/more active
>involvement in the driving you get with manuals.

With an automatic, as I understand it, you can't easily slap it down a gear
as you coast into a corner at forty decelerating and with brake-lights
showing, then take off at the other end of the bend like hot sh*t off a
shovel, thus making the silly nerk who's been trying to find out what you
keep in the boot swallow your dust...

(Yes, well, I don't like Things three or four feet taller than my car and
with headlights level with the back of my head sitting four foot off my
bumper on a country road.  And it dunnarf surprise 'em when this ancient
diesel estate car suddenly *isn't there*... but a quarter mile away and
round the next bend before they worked out what happened.)

>I suppose if you live somewhere flattish with lots of big roads and long
>distances then an automatic makes sense. I still don't think I'd ever
>contemplate buying one, even if I lived in such a place. As it is, I'm
>rarely in the car for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time.

I don't really see why being in top automatic gear would be much different
from being in top gear, on a long straight road.  Don't you still have to
have your right foot on the accelerator just the same?  (Serious question.
I have never driven with anything other than manual gears.)

>Older cars and especially lorries used to have double declutching- you had
>to depress the clutch to get the car out of gear, let it up, then depress it
>again to put it in the next gear. Fun fun fun.

That was one of the ways to get into second gear in Big Bertha the Beast.
In fact I have a feeling it may have been the only way.

>Ania, definitely a fan of manual transmission.

Not having tried the alternative I'm not able to make a balanced judgement,
but I don't find changing gear to be that much of a chore.


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