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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    Bedford, MA
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    212

    Wondering about cadence?

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    I just got a computer that has cadence as a feature. I am interested in what and "ideal" cadence is? How can I use this feature to improve my riding? Any advice? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Shelbyville, KY
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    1,473
    Play around with your computer. When you feel like you have reached a comfortable spin check out what your cadence is and attempt to keep it close. When I started riding last spring my goal was to keep my cadence in the 80-85 zone. As the season progressed this number increased as my strength and endurance improved. Just remember what works for one does not necessarily work for someone else. Find the zone that best fits you.

    Marcie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
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    4,391
    At a bike fit that I had a couple of weeks ago I heard this explanation (he had a pedal stroke analysis computer hooked up to my bike - how cool is that). Around 90-100 rpm is the point at which you start using your slow twitch muscles - these are the endurance muscles that don't tire as quickly. Under about 90 rpm you are using mainly fast twitch muscles, so keeping a high cadence will allow you to go farther without tiring as much.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    18
    I think this is a highly subjective question. I just invested in a cyclo-computer this year that measures cadence. I've heard all varieties of opinions.

    One of my very athletic cycling friends insists 90-100 RPMs is the way to go.

    I had one of the guys in the LBS tell me the 90-100 RPM business stems from how Lance Armstrong rides, so it has been very popular.

    I recently read an article... I believe in Runner's World... talking about runners becoming triathletes and learning to cycle. They encouraged keeping at least 80 RPM.

    Me? I need to up my RPMs big time. At the end of a ride, my average cadence shows up in the upper 60s - mid 70s. But that includes taking breaks down hills and rolling up to stoplights. I often find it is easier doing high RPMs up hills (90-100) and I try to ride mid 70s-mid80s.

    Keeping it general, I'd say working to up your cadence some will probably help make riding easier and improve your fitness. But I think shooting for a universal magic number doesn't really work? Just my opinion...

    Jen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    3,997
    Spinning is a high cadence - 90 rpm or more... and thats what people recommend

    However, I find spinning hard work and at best I can get to about 92

    In a TT I ride at about 86-90rpm, in training I pedal anywhere between 70-85rpm

    Just experiment with it... my heart rate rises as my cadence gets up to 90 - so I am actually more efficient at a lower cadence...

    Good luck


    Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
    "I will try again tomorrow".


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Bedford, MA
    Posts
    212
    Thanks for your feedback. I have been experiementing with cadence, haven't yet come up with a comfort zone for me. My averages range and I haven't really been steady, but I think this will come with time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Dallas, TX
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    2,716
    I keep my cadence around 90-100. I keep it high because I had some knee issues last year that resulted because I was mashing the pedals (AKA: pedaling at a low cadence), so now I spin (AKA: High cadence- 90 to 100).

    Candence is really important, because it tells you when to shift. As a newbie, it wasn't until I figured out cadence, did I learn why/when to shift gears.

    Basically, your goal is to keep your cadence steady by shifting up/down through your gears. This really taught me how to use my gears properly and not to waste energy.

    Best of luck to you!
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather, to skid in broadside thoroughly used-up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: WOW WHAT A RIDE!!!!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Thousand Oaks, Calif.
    Posts
    157
    I have such a hard time keeping a high cadence!! Mine goes WAY down when I am climbing. I climb really slow too, like 4 mph!! So is this correct, you need to be in lower gears to have a higher cadence??
    I have issues with shifting and the gears too.
    Doe's all this improve or get easier over time?I am always trying to work on my cadence and getting my average speed up and I often get frusterated!!

    Karen

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,135
    There is a *lot* of personal preference in this. We've got two really fast riders who'll be next to each other... one of 'em spinning away, the other one grinding away.
    I've read (and seen) that people tend to pedal at a lower cadence than they should, in too high a gear, and get sore knees. That translated for me to "when in doubt, gear down, and listen to hyour knees." I'm a masher - I can't do 90 rpm without paying 'way too attention to my legs and saying "Faster! faster!" and I'm afraid I'll hit a tree. 75-80 rpm works, feels fine, and nothing hurts.
    I'll do faster RPMs on the trainer but I have to think about it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by redhot3368
    I have such a hard time keeping a high cadence!! Mine goes WAY down when I am climbing. I climb really slow too, like 4 mph!! So is this correct, you need to be in lower gears to have a higher cadence??
    I have issues with shifting and the gears too.
    Doe's all this improve or get easier over time?I am always trying to work on my cadence and getting my average speed up and I often get frusterated!!

    Karen
    What kinds of speeds do you maintain when you're not doing a tough climb? I would say if you're dramatically slowing down your cadence for a hill, you're not downshifting enough, and that's why it's soooo haaaard... What kind of bike? Hybrid, road, etc.? On my road bike, I find it typically much easier on hills upping my cadence in a lower gear. But when I used to ride a hybrid, it wasn't nearly as easy on hills. For me, at least.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Thousand Oaks, Calif.
    Posts
    157
    Quote Originally Posted by Jen Jen
    What kinds of speeds do you maintain when you're not doing a tough climb? I would say if you're dramatically slowing down your cadence for a hill, you're not downshifting enough, and that's why it's soooo haaaard... What kind of bike? Hybrid, road, etc.? On my road bike, I find it typically much easier on hills upping my cadence in a lower gear. But when I used to ride a hybrid, it wasn't nearly as easy on hills. For me, at least.
    It's a road bike, my average speed is about 12 to 13 mph.
    It seems impossible to get that up too!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by redhot3368
    It's a road bike, my average speed is about 12 to 13 mph.
    It seems impossible to get that up too!!
    Well don't get discouraged. I know how hard it is when you see people zipping by you. Your speed is definitely respectable though. Can you ride with anyone to have them critique what's happening? How many rings on the bike? Do you downshift into the smallest one?

    Another thought is leg strength. How well would you rate yourself? Maybe weight training to get stronger?

    I will throw this out there. I took my bike in last week and paid for a fitting. I wanted to make sure my seat discomfort issues weren't related to a poor fit. Even though I knew the rules of the correct fit (knee slightly bent at bottom of stroke, knee over pedal axle at 3'o-clock position), they changed me around quite a bit (seat was too low). It didn't help my comfort, but I've already noticed MARKED improvement in my riding. I feel a LOT stronger since. I've been riding faster, and hills seem easier. It also feels comfortable riding in higher gears. So how good do you think your bike fit is?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    1,104
    I didn't buy this capability when I got my computer -- how do they measure cadence? Is there a separate wire for that? I wouldn't think it would work right to use the same hardware that's measuring how fast the wheel is going around!

    I've thought about it -- didn't really know much about any of it when I bought the computer, but figured I could buy a really inexpensive one to use to keep track of SOMETHING until I knew just what I wanted to be keeping track of some day!

    Geonz, you mention sore knees from "mashing" -- I've noticed this and fortunately, I found you all and read about this spinning in lighter gears thing (and my legs thank you!!!!!) and in trying it out, I learned that it's a good thing, and after a few warm up miles, I start to feel like I could go forever. Without a way to count at this point, I can't even begin to guess what my cadence is, but I like the "process" a lot.

    Oh yeah -- editing and re-editing, I've remembered just what my question is:

    (I hate when that happens -- typing away and suddenly wondering what my point was! )

    Sometimes, at a pedaling rate, one gear is seems too light, like I'm pedaling "crazily," (think granny gear going down hill) and the next gear just a bit too heavy. Is there a right way to deal with that? What I've been doing is slowing my cadence a bit and working in the slightly harder one, which is easier at the little bit slower rate.

    (and I still do some mashing now and then, and it always seems like a good idea at the time!)

    Karen in Boise

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Ventura County CA
    Posts
    605
    Karen in Boise (there is no "Z" in Boise)

    I don't have a cadence set-up on my computer so I just look at the clock and count revolutions for 15 seconds and multiply by four.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boise, Idaho
    Posts
    1,104
    Quote Originally Posted by fatbottomedgurl
    Karen in Boise (there is no "Z" in Boise)

    I don't have a cadence set-up on my computer so I just look at the clock and count revolutions for 15 seconds and multiply by four.
    You can count seconds AND revolutions AND ride at the same time? WOW!

    ( We got "there is no Z in Boise lessons" from Earl's boss before we transferred out here. People could still tell we weren't from around here )

    Karen in Boy-see

 

 

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