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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-10-11, 01:42 PM   #1
the_goob
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Spinning, where have you been all my life -or- d*** you bikeforums

So after spending a few hours searching and reading the forums about spinning vs mashing I realized I was firmly on the mashing side of things. Over the 170 some odd miles since I bought my bike I've really struggled to get my average crusing speed over 15mph. So today I got some free time and decided to see what I could do. I set out on my usual paved trail and since I don't have a computer with a cadence measure I concentrated on keeping my pedal stroke smooth, even, and faster than I would normally work it. It didn't take long for me to discover what bouncing meant and I quickly learned to keep myself one gear or so ahead of the bounce and downshift when I felt my cadence slow.

Low and behold, my average cruising speed stayed between 16 & 18 MPH! The whole 15 mile ride was faster and easier than I have had before. I never thought I could be in a lower gear and maintain, or even increase my speed going up hills and into the wind.

Now as for the d**n you bike forums part. I thought I was set on cycle equipment for a while but I see I'm going to need a cyclocomputer that does cadence until I can build the muscle memory to do it without thought.

Thanks bf for teaching me that mashing is not the way to ride! This is going to make me want to ride more and, hopefully, make it faster to loose the extra weight I'm carrying.

Last edited by the_goob; 08-10-11 at 01:46 PM. Reason: Have to love typo's. That's what I get for using a tablet and not proof reading. I'm sure I missed some though.
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Old 08-10-11, 03:09 PM   #2
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You're welcome.
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Old 08-10-11, 03:46 PM   #3
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Nope. No need for cadence settings (at least not for most people). You need some music (the radio in your head will do fine), and to poke around with Sheldon Brown's gear calculator. You can get the gear calculator to give you your speed at various cadences, ranging from about 40 rpm on up to around 120. Spend some time puzzling out what cadence you're used to riding at. Spend some time riding like you did today, and puzzle out what cadence you can sustain right now.

Now... you've done the brain work.

It's time to get purposeful on the exercise and muscle memory end. Most people will naturally fall into time with music if some is playing or if they're singing or something. Use that. You can go totally OCD and try to find the perfect piece of music to help you with a higher cadence. Or you can do the slacker version, and just accept that most music you know goes at about 80 beats per minute or faster, and that a cadence of 80 is a tolerable spinning cadence.

Chances are you'll find that between music and your background work, you can improve your typical cadence to somewhere in the 80-90 range. If you put in effort on pedaling technique, slow speed bike handling, riding fixed, or various other technical bits, you can probably get a good deal higher. You can also get gains by focusing on the musical end, whether it's working at specific speeds, or smoothly handling changes in tempo, or doing things like pedaling at twice the tempo.

A cadence computer may help once you've hit the limits of what you can work on solo with the aid of music. Until then tho, you can't afford to watch a cadence meter all the time while you ride. And even once you've got the basics down, you may find a coach is more important than a cadence computer .
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Old 08-10-11, 06:33 PM   #4
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Torrilin, thanks for the advice. Now if only I had a sense of rhythm I could do that. I suppose since a lot of my riding lately has been on trails I could probably just pop in some headphones. I'm not really a fan of things that don't let me hear what's going on around me while riding though. I will have to do some investigating.
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Old 08-10-11, 07:11 PM   #5
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I still dont think I understand the difference between mashing and spinning and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Last edited by chefisaac; 08-11-11 at 03:59 AM.
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Old 08-10-11, 08:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
I stil ldont htink I understand the difference between mashing and spinning and the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Not sure if you read through the following or not?

This thread pretty much covers the subject from stem to stern.
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...e-for-a-newbie
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Old 08-11-11, 03:58 AM   #7
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thanks steve
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Old 08-11-11, 07:59 AM   #8
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Congrats, awesome deal.
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Old 08-11-11, 08:57 AM   #9
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A new Cateye wired cycling computer that does cadence (as well as speed, distance, time, odometer, and has a clock) would probably only run you about 25-30 bucks.

As far as cycling gear goes, that's not bad.
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Old 08-11-11, 06:04 PM   #10
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RichardGlover yeah, but I'm a college student, married, and 2 kids. It's hard to explain to the wife why I need a different computer already :-)

I think I've found a solid alternative for the time being. I put a metronome app on the phone. This way I can still hear my surroundings but have something to pedal with.
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Old 08-11-11, 07:16 PM   #11
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For some, like me, it's a real epiphany when you discover spinning and the benefits it offers. When I asked about cadence some years ago I was told more than once "A spinner is a winner" and it is certainly true. It seems counter-intuitive at first, but the proof is in the pudding!
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