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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-22-08, 09:03 AM   #1
HeIncreasesMe
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Lower Gear higher Avg MPH..Huh?

Has this ever happen to anyone?

You were in a lower gear, but your Avg MPH increased? I have a 24 speed and usually I am in gear 2-6, but today my body wouldn't even allow me to pedal a block in gear 2-5..so I was stuck in gear 2-4. But, I was going faster than usual and my avg MPH increased.

In gear 2-4 I am usually wobbling out the seat because legs are going too fast. I am trying to learn how to increase cadence in lower gears without wobbling and giving up and increasing my gear.

Weird...or am I showing all my newbie-ness? lol

Oh and I am proud to announce I have a new land speed record. 23.48MPH up fron 21.08MPH.

Oh the people at the bus stops that I passed looked soooo JEALOUS! Envy is a muther.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:25 AM   #2
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I seem to be cruising the fastest when my cadence is in the low 90's if that helps. Below 80 isn't good and neither is much above 100. It varies though. Sometimes a cadence in the 80's can feel good and move me along pretty well.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:32 AM   #3
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Bet it was less strain on your legs too. Higher cadence, lower resistance and higher speed. Keep it up and you'll be able to spin even faster.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:33 AM   #4
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Well, I don't really have a cadence monitory. My cyclometer is missing that feature. However, I just kind of judge by feel. lol. So I don't know the exact cadence..I just know when the legs are spinning the upper body and hips are moving all over the place....when I am in that gear.

But, today was just really unusually. Because it felt like I was working pretty hard in a lower gear.

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I seem to be cruising the fastest when my cadence is in the low 90's if that helps. Below 80 isn't good and neither is much above 100. It varies though. Sometimes a cadence in the 80's can feel good and move me along pretty well.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:57 AM   #5
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I think thats fairly common, I guess, I've noticed it on my roadie.

Get some clipless pedals and shoes and really go at it. Mid to high 90's seem to a be a good cadence for moderate workout out without over doing it.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:05 AM   #6
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http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

Enter in the data from your bike, and you should be able to get a chart that shows speed as a result of cadence, in each gear. If you enter in 90 for the cadence, you should see what, take this with a grain of salt, you more or less should be aiming for in terms of speed in each gear. [Adjust up or down from 90, depending upon you, how hard you feel like biking, and the position of the tides. Slow cadence, though, should be reserved not for hills but for easy going riding.]
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Old 07-22-08, 10:34 AM   #7
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Think in terms of gear-inches or gear ratios, after that sheldon link, not gear labels. I do go faster when I am just spinning a lower gear. Turn the crank more often = more motion than pushing the bike farther per crank.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:37 AM   #8
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I often find that I ride harder (faster) when my legs are hurting.
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Old 07-22-08, 01:01 PM   #9
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It seems counter-intuitive to someone who hasn't been riding for a long time, but up to a certain point, you will go faster taking your cadence up in a lower gear than pushing hard in a ahigher gear, and you'll be able to do it longer, too.

Here's one way to think of it that makes sense (whether it's physiologically correct, I can't say, but it comports with my physical experience).
  • A pedal stroke against light resistance consumes a certain amount of muscle glycogen and muscle O2.
  • A pedal stroke against heavy resistance consumes MUCH more muscle glycogen and muscle O2.
  • The "non-stroke" time for a given muscle in fast rotation is sufficent to replenish a small quantity of muscle glycogen and O2.
  • The "non-stroke" time for that same muscle in a slow rotation doesn't allow much more replenishment.

The result is that stomping a high gear slowly, you keep falling behind in the body's ability to replenish O2 and glycogen. Spinning a low gear fast, your body can keep up.
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Old 07-22-08, 01:30 PM   #10
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yup. Cadence with higher RPM and lower resistance. I only touch my highest gear on downhills-I get the best speed, cadence, and endurance, overall, from lower gears. It has the added effect of being easier to recover said speed without shifting down and back up when some @sshat pulls out without looking or turns without signaling, requiring you to slow down.
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Old 07-22-08, 01:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeIncreasesMe View Post
In gear 2-4 I am usually wobbling out the seat because legs are going too fast. I am trying to learn how to increase cadence in lower gears without wobbling and giving up and increasing my gear.
Make sure you are planted firmly in the seat & concentrate on knee lift rather than pushing down. As your form improves start concentrating on peddling in circles as if you are doing a bicycle excercise lying on your back. The trick to preventing bouncing at high cadences is efficient pedaling in circles. As soon as you are concentrating on knee lift, you will probably feel much more comfortable at high cadences.

I've had my cadence as high as 188 during sprints & I feel very comfortable above 110 for extended periods. I've simply practiced gradually raising it over time & keeping it at a higher level for an entire training ride.
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Old 07-22-08, 01:34 PM   #12
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Embrace the spin.

Actually, I re-noticed the same effect running this am. I have longish legs and the tendency is to take longer strides. Today, I tried running with shorter strides at a higher cadence and remembered that that works much better, especially up grades.

Besides, running at a long stride w/a slow cadence makes singing the leftover marine running songs sound awful.
(Lo-radda-lo-radda-LO-radda-lay-O...)
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Old 07-22-08, 02:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveF View Post
Make sure you are planted firmly in the seat & concentrate on knee lift rather than pushing down. As your form improves start concentrating on peddling in circles as if you are doing a bicycle excercise lying on your back. The trick to preventing bouncing at high cadences is efficient pedaling in circles. As soon as you are concentrating on knee lift, you will probably feel much more comfortable at high cadences.

I've had my cadence as high as 188 during sprints & I feel very comfortable above 110 for extended periods. I've simply practiced gradually raising it over time & keeping it at a higher level for an entire training ride.
Great advice thanks! And it is soo funny because today I felt like I was really planted in the seat and I concentrated on keeping my knees tighter and bringing it above the bar as high has I could. Mainly because I felt the pain in my thighs wouldn't be so intense when I did this. lol

Ill start trying out those circluar movements too.
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Old 07-22-08, 05:45 PM   #14
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When I bought a cheap speedometer, I discovered that phenomena too!
I was slightly faster, but my endurance increased significantly.
Thus, I was able to go slightly faster for much longer. It really cut the time off my "longer" trips, because I wasn't plodding along with my tongue hanging out during the last "leg".
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Old 07-22-08, 09:19 PM   #15
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Yes if you are into math, the higher gears go faster, but it takes awhile to learn
that actually the lower gears go faster. Your stamina and pace can improve more
with practice than your power.

I haven't followed up or checked but read a long time ago that the winners of
bicycle races were rarely the people with the tallest wheels (taking into account
the gears). It took a couple of years for that to sink in and the more I bike, the
more sense it makes.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:28 PM   #16
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as the saying goes "spin to win"

keep up with the lower gearing and your spinning/riding skills will def increase
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Old 07-22-08, 09:35 PM   #17
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Spin a smaller gear. It works wonders. I have a 1x9 and usually ride in cogs 6 or 7 when cruising. I reserve the last two for sprinting through lights or downhills.
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Old 07-22-08, 09:43 PM   #18
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I find I'm always fastest around heart rate ~ 1.8 * cadence. Some days my legs just won't get my heart rate up and I end up finding an most efficient zone in a higher gear and lower cadence. Most days I like to cruise along around 150 HR and 83 cadence. Hammer time comes in at 170 HR and 94 cadence.

I always rest at the back of a pace line at lower cadence and pick up the cadence at the front too. Bicycling Science, 3rd edition seems to bear this out with drive train efficiency decreasing when the force on your pedals decrease below a certain threshold. Works for me.
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