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  1. #1
    Senior Member kingfishr's Avatar
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    Survey Cadence vs Speed & Age

    I am really curious about the relationship between average cadence, average speed and age. Since high cadence generally drives up heartrate, and maximum heartrate decreases with age. Does higher cadence become a limiting factor for average speed as age increases?

    If your interested in participating provide your:

    Average Speed solo
    Average Cadence solo
    Average Cadence group
    Average Speed group
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36):
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28):
    Number of sprockets on cassette:
    Age


    for a one hour "competitive" (you gave it your best) ride with little or no stops or traffic lights, and close to zero elevation gain. Preferably a solo effort for solo and group efforts, if you only have one or the other thats fine. I will compile and report the results if I get more than a handful of responses. And of course feel free to estimate your data if you don't have exactly a one hour zero elevation ride.


    Thanks for the feedback so far. Some very interesting results even with this small sample size so far. I have averaged some of the values since some respondents gave a range:


    Age Avg Spd solo Avg Cad Solo Avg Spd group Avg Cad group crank lg Crank sm cassette sm cassette lg speeds step/gear
    63 23.9 90 26.5 97 53 39 11 25 10 1.4
    57 23.8 91 26.9 89 53 39 11 25 10 1.4
    58 23 75 26 90 50 36 12 25 10 1.3
    54 22 78 25 77 53 39 11 23 11 1.1
    56 20 90 22 90 50 39 12 25 10 1.3
    55 19 90 21 80 50 36 12 27 10 1.5
    60 18.5 80 50 34 11 28 10 1.7
    60 18 90 90 22 50 34 12 27 10 1.5
    57 17.5 83 50 39 12 32 8 2.5
    68 17.4 87 19 83 54 30 11 32 10 2.1
    54 17 87 22 85 48 36 11 34 9 2.6
    56 17 57 53 39 12 27 10 1.5
    40 16.5 75 53 39 13 26 9 1.4
    73 16.2 93 50 40 14 28 7 2.0
    55 16 87 48 36 13 28 7 2.1
    56 15 85 48 38 14 34 7 2.9
    62 15 90 16 90 50 42 14 26 6 2.0

    In the mean time I found an interesting study on optimal cadence speed:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/...text.html#Fig3
    Which I found on a really outstanding cycling blog:
    http://myworldfromabicycle.blogspot....bicycling.html

    Basically the study and the blogger who is a racer provide evidence that spinning is not as efficient and beneficial as it is claimed to be and that the optimal balance between speed and power may in fact be closer to 80rpms. Interesting reading...
    Last edited by kingfishr; 10-27-12 at 02:45 PM. Reason: Added results of survey

  2. #2
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    I'm on the slow side, and these are estimates:

    Avg. Solo speed ~ 16
    Avg. Cadence ~ 85-90
    Group speed - N/A
    Chain ring 48/36/26
    Cassette 7 speed; 13-28

  3. #3
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I'll play. One hour flat efforts are hard to find where I live.

    Average Speed solo - Time Trial 40K State Championships flat course some wind. Time 62:20 speed 23.9 mph
    Average Cadence solo - 90
    Average Cadence group 95 to 100
    Average Speed group - 26.5 mph
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): TT 53/39 Road 50/34 Track varies from 82 to 96 gear inches
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): Varies depending on training or race from 11/23 to 12/27
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 10 for road and TT and one for track
    Age 63

    As a trackie, we train our cadence. Most of my competitors, who are trackies, can spin high cadence without a problem. The ability to spin IMO is more neuro muscular than heart rate. I think your thesis may be flawed and it will depend on the group polled.
    Last edited by Hermes; 10-24-12 at 10:09 AM.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  4. #4
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Too complicated for me, but I agree with Hermes that cadence has very little to do with age. As you age and your max HR and VO2 max decrease somewhat you can achieve the same cadence in a lower gear. Really no different than maintaining cadence while climbing by shifting down.
    Rick T
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  5. #5
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I too think the thesis is flawed. It's true that for a given power output, higher cadences will tend to generate a higher HR than lower cadences. But it does not follow that declining maximum HRs are a factor, because in endurance cycling max HR really isn't terribly relevant

    Plus, when doing TT-type efforts I tend to find that I adopt a lower cadence than I would for a longer ride. On the latter I am likely to spin along at in excess of 90 rpm, because while that is energy-expensive, it saves my legs. Time-trialling for an hour I am likely to adopt a cadence lower than that, because alough my legs may be trembling with exhaustion at the end it allows me to manage my effort more effectively and not overcook it - or so it seems to me.

    All that said, here goes:

    Solo for one hour, >23 mph, cadence c.75
    Fast group ride 25-26 mph, cadence > 90
    compact 50/36
    Cassette 12/25, 10-speed
    Age 58
    Last edited by chasm54; 10-24-12 at 09:42 AM.

  6. #6
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Most hour records are set at a cadence of 100 and that seems to be independent of age. A friend, who set an hour record this year did it around 100 rpm. I was asking him about the cadence and he likes to be on top of the gear versus loading up his legs. He is 56. And he pursuits at 120.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  7. #7
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Average Speed solo: 18mph for rides in the 40 to 70 mile range.
    Average Cadence solo: 90 average, but holding 100 is not a problem. 110 is seen on most rides
    Average Cadence group: usually a slower average cadence, but the range is the same.
    Average Speed group: 18 to 22 mph
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): 50/39/26
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): 11-23, 12-27, 12-30
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 10
    Age: 56
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-24-12 at 02:39 PM.
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  8. #8
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    I'll play...

    classification: rookie (not counting ancient history, 3 months biking)

    Flat solo for one hour, ~17 mph (up from ~13)
    Fast group ride, ~22 (anything faster and they drop me)
    Cadence solo: 85-90
    Cadence group: not measured, but a bit lower as its easier to push a higher gear and I end up coasting some to not cause peloton disaster
    48/36/26
    9-speed 11-34
    Age 54

    As mentioned above, I think fitness, biking goals and experience have more to do with this than age. I've seen my average cadence climb steadily over
    the past three months.
    there is no signature.

  9. #9
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Most hour records are set at a cadence of 100 and that seems to be independent of age. A friend, who set an hour record this year did it around 100 rpm. I was asking him about the cadence and he likes to be on top of the gear versus loading up his legs. He is 56. And he pursuits at 120.
    Yes, I don't think there's much argument about that, and the fact that I tend to resort to a lower cadence when time-trialling probably speaks to my (relative) lack of aerobic fitness. And that may appear to support the OPs thesis. But I'm still dubious, because as far as I know, max HR is arbitrary and has little to do with aerobic capacity.

  10. #10
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    From one specific ride that fits your parameters. Data from Garmin Connect.

    Average Speed solo: 18.5 mph
    Average Cadence solo: avg 80, max 103
    Average Cadence group: n/a
    Average Speed group: n/a
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): 50/34
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): 11/28
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 10
    Age: 60

    A couple extras data points

    distance: 23.1 miles
    elevation gain: 486'
    avg temp: 88.6
    heart rate: avg 147 - max 160
    ride date: Fri. May 27, 2011
    misc: no signals, two stop signs (traffic non-existent, so only slowed, didn't "stop"), stiff wind that day
    Last edited by volosong; 10-24-12 at 10:43 AM.
    Deut 6:5

    ---

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  11. #11
    Senior Member ctpres's Avatar
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    Avg spd solo 16.2
    Avg cad solo 93
    chain 50/40/30
    sprocket 28/14
    7 speed
    Age 73
    Last edited by ctpres; 10-24-12 at 02:28 PM. Reason: add item
    Retired 75 YO. Got my sub 5 ET century at 50 and sub 7 RT at 75. Just want to finish at 80. USNR, USAF, USCGA - riding 2014 Zenetto Steath ZR7.1 Carbon

  12. #12
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Average Speed solo-14-15, with traffic signals (17-18 moving)
    Average Cadence solo
    80-85
    Average Cadence group
    Average Speed group
    Chain Ring sizes
    50/39
    Cassette range
    12-32
    Number of sprocket- on cassette:
    8
    Age 57 (BMI 33 and dropping from high of 47)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Most hour records are set at a cadence of 100 and that seems to be independent of age. A friend, who set an hour record this year did it around 100 rpm. I was asking him about the cadence and he likes to be on top of the gear versus loading up his legs. He is 56. And he pursuits at 120.
    I paid for the Strava Premium, so I could find how I did when filtered for age, and found my self in almost the same percentile by age that I was in for all riders of some popular segments (<1000 records)
    Last edited by CommuteCommando; 10-24-12 at 02:43 PM.
    Freedom is free. It's included in democracy. Democracy is hard. It involves dealing rationally with people you disagree with.

  13. #13
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Average Speed solo: 40K ITT; 23.8
    Average Cadence solo: 40K ITT; 91
    Average Cadence group: 40K TTT; 89 (there was some coasting)
    Average Speed group:
    40K TTT; 26.94
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): 53/39
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): 11-25
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 10
    Age: 57

    Typical group rides are significantly slower than the TTT, but you had asked for major efforts. These were both relatively low-cadence efforts for me because well, it was just that sort of a day - not at my best.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  14. #14
    Senior Member locolobo13's Avatar
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    Average Speed solo: 15 mph
    Average Cadence solo: 80-90
    Average Cadence group: Don't ride in any groups
    Average Speed group
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): 48/38/28
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): 14 - 34
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 7
    Age: 56


    Normal cruising gear is the 48 chain ring 18 cassette. Higher cadences as I age has more to do with saving my knees than worries about HR.

  15. #15
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    I'm in as soon as it stops raining,the wind is at my back and I can draft a clydesdale.

  16. #16
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Cadence is dependent on terrain and gearing. On a road bike, it is near impossible to spin 90rpm on a steep climb, well not for long anyway. Average cadence, like average speed isn't a very good indicator of anything when riding on the open road, unless of course you ride in a flat area. You can train anything though and a higher cadence tends to be more efficient the longer the ride.
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

  17. #17
    Senior Member metalheart44's Avatar
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    Average Speed solo 17.4 mph
    Average Cadence solo 85-90
    Average Cadence group: don't ride groups much, but little less 80-85
    Average Speed group 18 - 19 depending on the testosterone in the group
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): 54/30
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): 11-32
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 10
    Age 68

  18. #18
    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    Classification : rookie(ish) - been riding since April 2011
    Bikes : one

    Average Speed solo: 19
    Average Cadence solo: 90
    Average Cadence group: 80
    Average Speed group: 21+ (varies)
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): Compact (50/36)
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): 12-27
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 10
    Age: 55
    Regards,
    Duncan

  19. #19
    Senior Member kingfishr's Avatar
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    Many thanks for your responses. Extremely interesting results!

  20. #20
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    Average Speed solo - 17mph
    Average Cadence solo - 57
    Average Cadence group - n/a
    Average Speed group - n/a
    Chain Ring - 53/39
    Cassette - 12-27
    Number of sprockets on cassette - 10 speed
    Age - 56
    Note:
    Female/Athena.
    max effort ride.
    There are 3 stopsigns, 4 tollbooths, 2 crossings of a stepover gate.
    Hard stops at each, must dismount at stepover gate.
    About 230 feet climbing.
    Speed is calculated only while moving.
    Rolling speed usually varies 4mph uphill/35mph downhill.
    Have averaged 169 heart rate (MHR ~187).

  21. #21
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Just completed a metric century. There were some signals where I had to come to a complete stop, and some stop signs where I only slowed down long enough and slow enough to make sure there was no traffic. Didn't have to un-clip. Took one 10-minute break to eat a Clif bar. Otherwise, just riding. There was a stiff northeast/east wind that really didn't affect the ride, other than cursing about having to fight to maintain control in a cross wind. Solo ride.

    Average Speed solo: 16.4 mph
    Average Cadence solo: 67
    Average Cadence group: n/a
    Average Speed group: n/a
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): 50/34
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): 12/30
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 10
    Age: 61

    A couple extras data points

    distance: 62.4 miles
    elevation gain: 1,500'
    avg temp: 66 F
    heart rate: avg 125 - max 147
    ride date: Fri. Oct 26, 2012
    Deut 6:5

    ---

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  22. #22
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamrock View Post
    I'm in as soon as it stops raining,the wind is at my back and I can draft a clydesdale.
    Great idea! I'm a distant second in my age group to a NJ cycling luminary on a local Strava segment. Maybe I can beat his time if I go out when the hurricane hits next week and the wind blows to the NW.

    And, for the record, I also believe the premise is faulty. I'm 61 and spin as fast as necessary/appropriate. Cadence is just a function of fitness. If you're fit, your cadence is appropriate to the conditions. That's it.

    I'm sure that by the time I'm 100 there will by other 100 year old cyclists riding strong with cadence similar to all other age groups - when we're not tooling around in our flying jet cars, that is. Can't wait to get my jet car.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  23. #23
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Average Speed solo: 15 mph
    Average Cadence solo: 90
    Average Cadence group: 90
    Average Speed group: 16 mph
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): 50-42
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): 14-26
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 6
    Age: 62
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  24. #24
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    avg speed solo--16.5
    avg cadence solo--75
    rings--53-39
    9 speed cass-13-26
    age 40
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
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  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Average Speed solo - 18 mph (estimated, have never done a one hour ITT)
    Average Cadence solo - 90 rpm
    Average Cadence group - 90 rpm
    Average Speed group - 21-23 mph
    Chain Ring sizes (eg. 50/36): 50/34
    Cassette range (eg. 12-28): 12-27
    Number of sprockets on cassette: 10
    Age - 60
    Regards,
    Chuck

    Demain, on roule!

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