Join Date: Jun 2010
Bikes: 2010 Trek Madone 6.9 Project One Livestrong, Single Speed "Tokyo Bike", BH 29'er, Trek California Cruiser Classic Springer
I encourage you to stick with the clipless. I have a history of knee problems (due to a couple of past non-cycling sporting incidents), and I really feel a benefit from the clipless pedals. There are a couple of benefits from these, firstly that they give you a consistent rotation, and more importantly you can use the different directional forces that employ your leg muscles rather than your knees. For example, try pulling back using your calf muscles from 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock. Hard to do on each and every rotation of your pedals, but you can do for a little bit to help get you to up your speed and your cadence.
As for your cadence, I recommend you to try to get on a stationary exercise bike as I think almost all of them will show your cadence, and you can get a feel for what it is like to pedal at 70, 80, 90 and 100. For me personally, not going up hills, but on the flat, I try to keep my cadence at around 90 to 100, although do drop to around 85 into wind sometimes. If I am getting down to 80, it is time to downshift and up my cadence.
Not sure if my behaviour is "should-be", but works well for me and my knees.