if you cycle on and off androgel with clomid, will you still get shut down of your natural t production?
If you take enough time off and perform proper PCT, you will be able to recover your natural T production. Androgel will lower NT levels.
I would use a croquet mallet to kick start my test.
There's no real reason to cycle androgel. Even if you rubbed on 30 grams of gel per day, or six packets, that's 210mg test per week. This would get very expensive and messy. The most I've rubbed on is three per day for HRT and it's not fun, especially in the humidity of summer (it doesn't fully dry if you sweat easily).
As far as shutting down your own test, yes, it will do this to some extent. The low dose (HRT dose) shouldn't shut you down completely, especially if you rub it on in the morning, but again, it's just not worth it. If you're functioning normally you would produce more testosterone on your own. The gels would merely replace what it shut down.