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Thread: Cadence

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    FRUGAL GERMAN pop's's Avatar
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    Cadence

    I am going to ride the MS 150 Houston to Austin in April. My cadence is about 50-78, and 78 is hard to do. I haven't asked the people that I gong to ride with if they just ride, or cadence? How would an old fart (67, 68 at the time of the ride) go about increasing his cadence, or is it to late for the old fart to even think about increasing my cadence????? Or am I just a waiting to happen

    Pop's

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    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Gear down and pedal faster. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    FRUGAL GERMAN pop's's Avatar
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    I will try that, THANKS Pop's

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Stop thinking of yourself as an "old fart," like you are done with life. You (and I) can learn new things just like everyone else.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Get on flat terrain, don't try to go fast, gear down and pedal fast. I assume you have a cadence meter.
    Shoot for cruising at a cadence in the mid 80s, when you hit a mild hill up the cadence (low gears please).
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Is the main obstacle to a higher cadence bouncing up and down in the saddle?

    Is it true that the higher the better (in terms of cadence).
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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    Is the main obstacle to a higher cadence bouncing up and down in the saddle?

    Is it true that the higher the better (in terms of cadence).
    Pro cyclist have a high cadence, but some are higher than others, it really depends on thier muscle makeup. 80 to 90 seems to be a good cadence for recreational cyclists. WIth a faster cadence comes better pedalling form - you can't help but to apply power through more of the pedal cycle.

    Bouncing in the saddle probably means your seat may be too high.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    I know I've read about training cadence, and find each season I ahve to work up from a natural convenient cadence of around 70 to a more beneficial level of 90. If I go too fast before I'm trained back up I bounce. Saddle height has something to do with it, too.

    I think the point of this training or practicing is to teach your legs the new pattern of smoothly flying through pedaling circles at ever-higher rates. I really don't think it has much to with muscular fitness or endurance, but with trainign your muscles and neuro controls to follow this sequence smoothly and with low stress. It's really just a practice thing, but it's worth it. I find mid-season when I start to be comfortable in the mid-80s that knee stress begins to disappear. That is worthwhile!!!

    Road Fan

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    50 is really slow . . . you need to try to get to at least 70 on a regular basis.

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    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I've finally got my cruising cadence up to 80-85. Any more than that is fatiguing for me. But I can cruise comfortably for miles at 80.

    When I first came back to riding, I had a hard time going over 65.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    Is the main obstacle to a higher cadence bouncing up and down in the saddle?

    Is it true that the higher the better (in terms of cadence).
    One reason some people bounce in the saddle when attempting to increase cadence is because they are pushing the down stroke too long and the force of the leg pushing the pedal at the end of the stroke lifts the rider. Using the trainer over the winter season is a good time to work on increasing cadence. There are many good drills and intervals that develop a smooth stroke that utilizes "pushing over the top', "scrapping mud at the bottom" and "unweighting the leg on the up stroke".

    Pop's,
    Your planned ride allows plenty of time to work on increasing cadence. Try some intervals using an increased cadence while working on smooth circles while you pedal. Try to keep your speed and effort the same when pedaling fast or slow on the intervals. Higher cadences use more muscle groups than slow cadence where most of the power is generated on the down stroke by the quads. Using more muscles to do the same work allows for more endurance.

    I attended a indoor program last winter and increased my average cadence from 85 to 97-100.
    Last edited by Allegheny Jet; 09-27-08 at 08:39 PM.

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    Hey Pops, maybe your cadence is just fine. I like to spin a lower gear, but there have been some fine cyclists who go the other direction. I will say, that my knees seem to appreciate the lower gearing/higher cadence approach, but everyone is different.
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

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    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I think the trick in high cadence is to learn the pedal stroke and to execute it well. The cadence will follow. To do cadence first as the way to good form is the long way to learn.

    One can learn good pedal stroke form easier on the big ring. The push down and pull up has to be practiced and then applied onto the smaller ring and then finally in higher cadence. That way the bounce will be a non issue.

    Another advantage is that the rider will learn the significance of the pull up and be able to start using it for acceleration and for the long steady climbs. Its a more even distribution of muscle group usage.

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    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Pop's-
    How long are your cranks and how "long" are you?
    "Mature" knees aren't as bendy.
    You might look at my post about crank length-

    Are Your Cranks Too Long?

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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
    Hey Pops, maybe your cadence is just fine. I like to spin a lower gear, but there have been some fine cyclists who go the other direction. I will say, that my knees seem to appreciate the lower gearing/higher cadence approach, but everyone is different.
    +1

    Not everyone wants to pedal at High cadence- but since increasing mine- I do find less fatigue on the longer rides or hills and where necessary- I can drop the cadence way down (Steep hills and no gears or energy left)

    Easiest way to increase cadence is to ride along at a good speed and in a gear you are comfortable with. Then change one gear down and keep the same speed. Don't have to do it for long at a time but do it frequently. Won't take long before the cadence goes up naturaly.

    And I have a method that tells me if the cadence is right. Pedalling and if the legs hurt- then I am putting too much strain on them and need to change down. Legs fine but breathing hard- Cadence too high and change up. Legs hurt and breathing far too hard- Get off and walk- but I haven't done that for quite a few years.
    Last edited by stapfam; 09-28-08 at 02:13 AM.
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    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    Usually when the researchers do tests of cyclists, they find that the "natural" cadence of an untrained cyclist is around 50-60, while that of an experienced or racing cyclist tends to be at around 90. That the 50 or 60 is natural is pretty evident on climbs, where even racers will go down to about 50 or 60. So don't feel bad about your cadence.

    However, that said, note that a cadence of 90 is generally accepted to be far more efficient and easier on the body.

    Efficiency: note that most pursuit races on the track are won at a cadence of about 120, and that Lance Armstrong's success on climbs and time trials has been attributed to his higher cadence.

    Easier on body: muscles and tendons develop at different rates. If you load the muscles too quickly, the tendons don't develop enough strength to respond to the force of the muscles, so you develop knee problems. The way to get around this is to use less weight on the pedals by using lower gears, but spinning them faster.

    Most beginning racers are coached to stay on the small chainring and just spin the pedals. Don't worry about pedaling technique, it will come by itself. The body is great at adapting. A good rule of thumb is if you are cruising on flat ground at 30 kmh (18 mph), you should be in 42x16 or 39x15. This is close to 90 rpm.

    Part of the problem is that the design of the bike just INVITES you to use the big ring. You can always tell a beginner - they're in their biggest gear and in a low cadence. And if it's a drop-bar bike, they'll be in the drops. A racer with several years experience, by contrast, will probably be in 53x19 and on the tops on a casual training ride.

    One of cycling's little secrets is this: you need to develop the muscular system and the aerobic system, yes. But you also need to develop the nervous system. When you instinctively spin at 90 rpm's in 42x16, then when you go into a race (or similar situation on a group ride) and you are in 53x16, you still instinctively spin at 90 rpm. With little extra effort. This is why experienced cyclists are faster than beginners who may be good at other sports and just as strong, muscularly and aerobically.

    L.

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    I find that a resistance trainer is a good way to learn about cadence. I have no trouble doing 17 MPH at about 80 RPM after a warm up period. However I do not last long at that cadence. Three miles or more and it feels like work.
    Same 17 MPH and 95 to 100 RPM is much better on the legs but of course your CV system must be in order. I biked with some smokers and former smokers. They had a difficult time doing this.

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    I use the highly sophisticated, scientific Stapfam method of monitoring my cadence. At a comfortable cruising pace, when I look at the monitor it almost always reads about 80. If my legs feel like I'm pushing too hard, I shift down; too fast, I shift up. I'm out there for fitness and fun, no matter how many miles I ride, and I constantly remind myself that 3 hours at 15 mph or even lower is WAAAAAAYY beyond where I was 5 years ago (ZERO). But don't confuse me with newbies who don't know how to shift! I know, and I shift often to maintain a steady cadence that feels comfortable for me. I'm not too hung up on the number because whatever it is, it is working for me. That said..... I wouldn't discount the excellent advice on this subject that others have provided. I'm just stating what is working for me.

    Pops: Look for your own comfort zone and follow it to keep pace with the group. Keep it in a gear that's comfortable for the long haul. As you approach a hill, shift down so you don't strain your needs. At the top, shift up again.
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    FRUGAL GERMAN pop's's Avatar
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    cadance

    Thanks for all of the information. It is going to take some time for all of this to soak in. Remember I am just an old fart. That is my kids call me pop's or old fart. I am 67 and I have 2- 33.5 year olds beating me up on the inside. I work three days a week as a greeter at Camping World. I get up at 5:15 am and ride 5.6 miles 6-7 days a week, lift weights 3 times a week. I also have a Polka Band and play music on weekends. I play guitar, elec bass, and tuba + sing in 4 languages. The only thing I find is the ground is getting farther away when I have to pick something up.

    Pop's

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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Pops, cadence is a great way to equalize the 'years'. 'spinning' a little more/better takes some of the edge off the power loss we all experience over the years. It helps make what you have left in the boiler-room, more efficient.
    But its the kinda thing that needs to develop over time. Nows a great time to start working on it for your April Date with 'THE RIDE'.
    Best way is to get a computer with a cadence feature and use that. But even with that, the best way is to start by modifying what you are currently doing as you ride. If you go on a ride route you do often and select the gear you almost always use - then 'drop down' one gear; and try to spin it a bit faster to keep your speed the same as before...
    Even if you end up 'slowing' down cause you get out of breath, keep at the spin, allow yourself to 'slow' if necessary to keep going.
    If you have a computer, but without cadence; you can still have a 'program'. Most common multispeed bikes have gearing drops of anywhere from 3% to 7-8%. If you drop one gear and try to keep the same 'speed' as before, you'll be spinning, say, 8% faster... thats a reasonable increment. Do that for 3-4 weeks. Then when that gets comfortable, drop down another gear and go at it for a few more weeks like that. After 5 or 6 weeks bump back up one gear and try to ride 6-8% faster, say 1 mph average faster. Once able to hold the faster speed, start the whole process again, drop one gear and hold that speed for 4 weeks, go down again after the 1st drop feels comfortable for every day.
    But you gotta stay with it, most every ride. Developing a 'spin' is a longterm project, and many months are common for even very young riders. Its muscle memory training.

    As stated before, On upslopes and mild hills shoot for 50 rpm,

    Along the way something else will happen, you'll find you can ride a higher gear now, faster. That's muscle efficiency and higher aerobic capacity. At any age, we can all improve from where we are at the moment. For lots of us it really isn;t even a very hard effort.
    When you first do this, the first month or two you may find you're actually riding 'slower'. Thats cause your muscles are just not as efficient as they will become. Stay with it, that 'lowering' of speed will reverse and there'll be the time when you start making greater improvements in less time.
    Best of luck, enjoy every ride!

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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Pops, I think Cyclezen's plan is very reasonable and it especially doesn't require any new equipment.

    Music, exercise, fellowship, family, and cycling - sounds like a great mix in your life right now!!

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    Senior Member BikeArkansas's Avatar
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    I was at the same point as you on my riding a short time ago. I finally decided to actually try the "cadence thing".

    Last weekend I was on a century when a friend of mine that participates in racing along with long rides rode beside me to comment on my "change" during the past six months. He said he was impressed with my improvements in speed.

    The only change I have made is to work diligently on getting the cadence up. I now ride for the most part in the 90 pus range. Previously I was in the 70 range. Higher cadence really works!
    I started riding my bike to get healthy. Now I try to stay healthy so I can ride my bike.

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    Senior Moment bikegeek57's Avatar
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    I have really enjoyed reading these posts. Tom, thanks for posting that bit about your starting out cadence and what you do now. BikeArkansas that is a nice tag line, I am of the same mind. As all of you know already getting started is the thing and staying with it really does work. I am new to this and am definitely noticing improvements every week. Several of the posts with specific programs are very helpful for someone like me starting out. I don't do group rides for the moment. I am just commuting for fitness (and saving gas). As my skills improve I will be venturing out to join some of the local group rides. This is such a great resource. Thanks everyone!

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Pops, I generally don't listen to tri athletes much, but this short article is worth reading:

    http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/cm...?articleid=433

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    FRUGAL GERMAN pop's's Avatar
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    cadence

    Hey guys thanks for all of the info. I rode this morning and tried a lower gear and a higher rpm. It was dark but when I went under a street light I was in the upper 60 to some times 80. My ride took a little longer, 3 minuites longer, but I was a little more winded and did not colapse. I think the rpms will improve in the next few weeks. I am reading Bike for Life ( HOW TO RIDE TO 100). Some great ideas. Again a big thanks

    Pop's

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