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  1. #1
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    high cadence low gear vs. low cadence high gear

    okay...

    I am just starting to get into cycling... I currently weight abou 250 pounds (give or take a big mac) and am 6'2. My ultimate goal is sub 200... i have been riding almost every day somewhere between 5 and 8 miles. my question is this. CUrrently I find myself running in 2-6 on my mountain bike but have fairly low cadence. I don't find it comfortable to run 2-5 at the higher cadence. I don't have a cyclocomputer, but I have to assume im running in the 50-60RPM range (going 1,1000 and noticing i have made one complete revolution) and any faster and I seem to get more tired then just switching to a higher gear. I can run flat out in 2-8 or even 3-8 at that (relativley low) cadence for probably about 1/2 mile before my legs ask for a break.

    My purpose for biking is two fold, one I really am enjoying it, but two is to get in better shape and use it as part of a weight loss routine...

    advice?

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    It sounds counterintuitive, but a 90 cadence requires less effort in the correct gear than a 70 cadence mashing.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  3. #3
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    I've found that 70 works for me. I can't run 90 yet, I just don't have the balance and my legs just can't spin that fast. Again I say "yet" because I hope to get there.

  4. #4
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Cadence will build over time, but requires you to work at it. I constantly have to tell myself to spin, and so far it's working well. I've also forbidden myself from running the "big ring" on my roadie so that i work on my spin in the middle ring.

    don't worry, it will happen. I think one way to get into spinning is by getting a singlespeed. One of my riding buddies can push a cadence of over 160 on his singlespeed.. that is SOMETHING to behold. And he's only been riding for a year.. so yeah.. you can do it .

  5. #5
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    As soon as I get a roadie i'm putting a cycloputer with cadence on it so I can watch myself and train myself to keep my cadence up.

  6. #6
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Another way to build cadence is 1st gear sprints.

    Make sure you are clipped and strapped or riding clipless before attempting this.

    To do this, you run up your cadence until your butt starts bouncing and then back off a tad and hold the fast cadence until you hit the top of your heart rate zone (If you are using a HR monitor). Before you do this though, be aware of your cardiac health. When you hit HR max, do a slower cadence cooldown until your Heart rate normalizes and then the process repeats.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  7. #7
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caincando1
    As soon as I get a roadie i'm putting a cycloputer with cadence on it so I can watch myself and train myself to keep my cadence up.
    If you don't have a cadence sensor, "Crazy Train" by Ozzie Osborne runs 90 BPM, pedal in time with it and you have a 90 cadence.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  8. #8
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    If you don't have a cadence sensor, "Crazy Train" by Ozzie Osborne runs 90 BPM, pedal in time with it and you have a 90 cadence.
    To funny! I may be weird but I don't listen to music when I ride or work out. I like to listen to my environment. So I'll just listen to it before I ride and I'll play it back in my head.

  9. #9
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    alot of dance techno runs in the 80 to 100bpm range as well I like crystal method and massive attack myself.

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    what is a good target cadence to shoot for?

    I am assuming somewhere in the 70-90, but im curious?

  11. #11
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caincando1
    To funny! I may be weird but I don't listen to music when I ride or work out. I like to listen to my environment. So I'll just listen to it before I ride and I'll play it back in my head.
    Never hear of powered speakers?
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    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  12. #12
    Senior Member Caincando1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    I'd have to but and MP3 player first. I'm kind of old school, I enjoy listening to things around me... when I can hear over my huffing and puffing.


    I'm hoping to get my cadence up to 80-90 before to long.

  13. #13
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    Spinning higher will help your knees too. If you are mashing too much in too low of a gear, you won't last very long. Higher cadence takes alot of pressure off of the knees.

  14. #14
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clearwaterms
    what is a good target cadence to shoot for?

    I am assuming somewhere in the 70-90, but im curious?
    90-100, eventually....

    You do have to build the aerobic capacity though and it's just a process and time in the saddle to do that.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  15. #15
    SNARKY MEMBER CardiacKid's Avatar
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    When you say that you are more comfortable at lower rpms, it probably means your legs are in better shape than your heart and lungs. This isn't surprising, considering we are Clydes. It is probably better to get your heart and lungs up to speed first. To monitor your cadence, count how many times your left knee comes up in 6 seconds, using your speedometer to count the time. Multiply by 10. Try and keep this number close to 9 and you will be in the ballpark. You will be amazed at how quickly you can adapt to this cadence. It probably won't take much more than a week.

  16. #16
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    I am going to buy a cyclometer with the cadence feature, but I have yet to pay enought attention to my cadence. I will try and pay attention to my cadence the next time out. I would guess I am in the lower RPM range also.
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    Senior Member JumboRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid
    When you say that you are more comfortable at lower rpms, it probably means your legs are in better shape than your heart and lungs. This isn't surprising, considering we are Clydes. It is probably better to get your heart and lungs up to speed first. To monitor your cadence, count how many times your left knee comes up in 6 seconds, using your speedometer to count the time. Multiply by 10. Try and keep this number close to 9 and you will be in the ballpark. You will be amazed at how quickly you can adapt to this cadence. It probably won't take much more than a week.
    I just had a 'duh' moment. Thanks for this tip, simple, easy, why could I not think this up myself?

  18. #18
    Senior Member JumboRider's Avatar
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    I am working on spinning. Focusing on smooth twirl and lifting my feet. I still need to get clips or clipless. When you guys spin, what type of pressure do you feel when pressing down on the pedal. I know what mashing feels like , but I always feel like I am not at enough resistance or too much. I will be spinning just fine on a flat trail when suddenly I am spinning to fast and need to shift up....and then back down. Does that make sense?

  19. #19
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JumboRider
    I am working on spinning. Focusing on smooth twirl and lifting my feet. I still need to get clips or clipless. When you guys spin, what type of pressure do you feel when pressing down on the pedal. I know what mashing feels like , but I always feel like I am not at enough resistance or too much. I will be spinning just fine on a flat trail when suddenly I am spinning to fast and need to shift up....and then back down. Does that make sense?
    Best way to tell if you are spinning too fast is if your butt starts bouncing on the saddle. Then it's time to upshift. Ideally, you should spin relatively fast with little resistance. If you can hold 90 and run it up fast to say 160 and grab a shift, you'll be flat amazed as to how explosive your sprint will get.
    Last edited by Tom Stormcrowe; 07-03-07 at 01:21 PM.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CardiacKid
    When you say that you are more comfortable at lower rpms, it probably means your legs are in better shape than your heart and lungs. This isn't surprising, considering we are Clydes. It is probably better to get your heart and lungs up to speed first. To monitor your cadence, count how many times your left knee comes up in 6 seconds, using your speedometer to count the time. Multiply by 10. Try and keep this number close to 9 and you will be in the ballpark. You will be amazed at how quickly you can adapt to this cadence. It probably won't take much more than a week.

    your assuming i have a speedometer

  21. #21
    Support JDRF b_young's Avatar
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    "Panama" by Van Halen is another good song to get stuck in your head. I fought faster cadence for a long time. I had to make myself stay in the middle chainring for a couple of weeks. It will surprize you how much faster you will get and how hills are not so bad. It feels weird at first but gets easier with time.
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    A cyclocomputer with cadence makes it really easy, because you only need to glance down - no thought required! I found it very useful in learning how to spin.

    I have found that 90-100 rpm works best for me, but it did take a while to get there. The resistance just feels too light at first, and your natural inclination is to shift to a higher gear and push harder. It also helps if you think about not just pushing down on one foot while lifting the other, but also pushing your foot forward as it comes over the top, and pulling it back as it goes through the bottom of the stroke - as somebody once said, "like scraping mud off your shoe".

    Concentrate on doing that, and you'll find you can spin at a cadence that used to bounce you out of the saddle.
    "Don’t take life so serious—it ain’t nohow permanent."

  23. #23
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    Riding with a slow cadence typically means you are "mashing" the pedals (and not really getting much aerobic ). You want a higher cadence (less resistance). When you mash the pedals you will get knee problems. The magic number, supposedly, is 90 RPM, but get it to where you think you can....I know I'm not riding at 90 RPM.
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

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    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    BTW.....I notice the "clearwater" part in your name. You aren't, by chance, from Clearwater FL are you? I know there are many places called Clearwater, but just thought I'd ask. I just moved from Clearwater, FL to Bellevue, WA.
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite
    BTW.....I notice the "clearwater" part in your name. You aren't, by chance, from Clearwater FL are you? I know there are many places called Clearwater, but just thought I'd ask. I just moved from Clearwater, FL to Bellevue, WA.

    actually, clearwater has nothing to do with any place...

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