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Old 03-10-14, 07:38 AM   #51
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The book "just ride" pretty much states my approach to cycling. The fact is that 99.999% of us are not professional riders, so why worry yourself about what they would do. Your ride today, tomorrow, or the next day is not a ride in the Tour in France. Just relax enjoy the ride, let your cadence spin at what ever feels right. Dont worry about what you wear, or what kind of bike you are riding. Adopt the attitude that I am riding for MY enjoyment and the heck with what anyone else thinks. Look at it logically. Your cadence should be what is comfortable for you not what some other person says it should be.
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Old 03-10-14, 07:44 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Nobody is telling you how to ride. There is not a single post in this discussion that says that those who pedal at slow cadence should change what they are doing if they are happy with the way they are.
Well, in fact, there are quite a few entries in the thread which imply "one must do such and such and here's why". I was commenting on the singular focus on the need to go faster and the subsequent requirement to suffer. Of course it's nice to know why the body works the way it does; that was the subject of the original post. (The article referenced made an interesting claim but there was no real proof of its validity one way or another.) The thread had drifted away from why the body works this way into the necessity to ride a certain way. Were I a newcomer to cycling (which I am not) I would be concluding that I don't want to go there. That drove me away from the community back then and could easily do the same for others.

(BTW, who said I was objecting to claims about cadence? My own typically runs between 90 and 100rpm, has been that fast for a long time. I prefer spinning to mashing, and don't care how others ride.)

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It's posts like this that have me on the verge of giving up on this sub-forum.
...
If you are happy with how you ride and uninterested in the topic of cadence, why are you reading this thread in the first place if it isn't simply to scold those of us who have priorities different from yours?
I am here for the same reason you have not yet "given up on this sub-forum". I enjoy dialogue (though not necessarily reading monologues), and I am in fact interested in the subject of cadence. (Who said I wasn't?) It's good to maintain a sense of perspective however. That is, perspective about what we are saying as well as why we ride.
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Old 03-10-14, 07:46 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
The book "just ride" pretty much states my approach to cycling. The fact is that 99.999% of us are not professional riders, so why worry myself about what they would do. My ride today, tomorrow, or the next day is not a ride in the Tour in France. I just relax enjoy the ride, let my cadence spin at what ever feels right. I dont worry about what I wear, or what kind of bike I am riding. I adopt the attitude that I am riding for MY enjoyment and the heck with what anyone else thinks. Look at it logically. My cadence should be what is comfortable for me not what some other person says it should be.
Fixed if for you. The previous version made it sound like maybe you thought you should tell others what attitude they should have.
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Old 03-10-14, 07:51 AM   #54
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Well, in fact, there are quite a few entries in the thread which imply "one must do such and such and here's why".
Please find one and quote it. I can't find any that says that anybody should ride faster/harder/etc. All such posts are predicated with, "If you want to ride faster, then..."
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Old 03-10-14, 08:02 AM   #55
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I've been riding since the 60s. I've tried just about everything and played around a lot with cadence. I've also found it is a matter of "what works best for me" and "what I like" is the way to go.

My natural cadence ranges from 80-85 and maybe 70 on some inclines. I can ride all day now at 100-105 after lots of training to increase the number. But it doesn't make me go faster, easier, or feel better. If I want to go fast, I use a bigger gear and a cadence of 70-75. That does tire me out after a while though. Let all alone to cruise along, I find I'm back at 80 or so.
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Old 03-10-14, 08:02 AM   #56
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Hold it now. I thought spinning recruited slow twitch fibers, not fast twitch. Back to the books...
Well, according to "Cycling Past 50" p. 74-75 the best sprinters, who can spin at 140 rpm, "typically have lots of fast twitch muscle."
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Old 03-10-14, 08:10 AM   #57
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The "classic" commentary regarding spinning vs mashing goes something like this (Richard's Cycling for Fitness) "...the lower pedal effort which accompanies the combination of a lower gear and a faster cadence allows your muscles to work at well under their aerobic threshold, and use 'low octane' fuels which your body has in unlimited supply-triglycerides and fatty acids. Higher muscle efforts, such as mashing big gears, use up precious stores of glucose-and when all your glucose is gone, you're ready to drop." I've also read that the the latter "fuel" can be replenished on the bike by drinking and eating while the former requires rest which means you are off the bike.

This is all traditional thinking and I don't know if that's the current thinking.
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Old 03-10-14, 08:10 AM   #58
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Well, according to "Cycling Past 50" p. 74-75 the best sprinters, who can spin at 140 rpm, "typically have lots of fast twitch muscle."
You're are mixing two different concepts. Fast twitch muscles are used with short bursts of speed like sprinting. Slow twitch are for endurance.

When you spin, it's an aerobic activity and relies mostly on slow twitch in an aerobic mode. Sprinting is an anaerobic activity and relies primarily on fast twitch fibers. Sprinters naturally have a higher percent of fast twitch than do non-sprinters.
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Old 03-10-14, 08:54 AM   #59
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Ah, yes. I remember that car. That freewheel transmission was a vestigial remnant of the transmission needed for the previous generation two-stroke "Shrike" engine. That is, for the two-stroke it was a bug; for the four-stroke it wasn't a bug, it was a feature. Except when you were descending a hill and wanted to use the engine to brake the car. Then it was a bug.
A lot of cars had a free wheel gear, way back...
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Old 03-10-14, 09:04 AM   #60
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Fixed if for you. The previous version made it sound like maybe you thought you should tell others what attitude they should have.
It's the same three or four people who make the same "helpful" comments over and over. Sometimes I wonder if they just honestly have forgotten making them so many times

About all I can suggest is to spend more time over at training and nutrition subforum. I'd rather hang out here, as the conversation on the other forum can get over my head in a big hurry, but the twitpiffles haven't been posting there - yet.
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Old 03-10-14, 09:28 AM   #61
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"....but the twitpiffles haven't been posting there - yet."

Twitpiffles??
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Old 03-10-14, 09:30 AM   #62
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Well, according to "Cycling Past 50" p. 74-75 the best sprinters, who can spin at 140 rpm, "typically have lots of fast twitch muscle."
I'm not ashamed to admit that at 140rpm I would have plenty of fast twitching going on.
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Old 03-10-14, 09:34 AM   #63
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I teach BSA Cycling Merit Badge to young boys and one of the hardest concepts for them to understand is the idea of using the gears to achieve a comfortable cadence. It ought to be easy to understand but it is not. Most often they will pick a gear and stay in it no matter what. They would rather stand in the pedals on a hill that change gears. It's maddening. I tell them that I change gears a lot, especially when coming to a stop. If they finally get the hang of it they soon realize how much more fun it is to ride in comfort.

Your most comfortable cadence is a very individual thing. It might be 90 rpm but it might not. I don't know what the actual value is for me but I suspect it is lower than 90 rpm. In the long run you will do your knees a favor if you don't always mash the pedals.
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Old 03-10-14, 09:54 AM   #64
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Often looking at a somewhat extreme example can focus attention on the issue of interest. My take on the cadence issue would compare climbing the Empire State Building by the stairs. In one method, we take the steps one at a time and in the other, we take the steps two at a time. In my case, taking steps two at a time would result in calls to emergency personal. If I were to take steps one at a time, I just might make it to the top - and back.
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Old 03-10-14, 10:02 AM   #65
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I teach BSA Cycling Merit Badge to young boys and one of the hardest concepts for them to understand is the idea of using the gears to achieve a comfortable cadence. It ought to be easy to understand but it is not. Most often they will pick a gear and stay in it no matter what. They would rather stand in the pedals on a hill that change gears. It's maddening. I tell them that I change gears a lot, especially when coming to a stop. If they finally get the hang of it they soon realize how much more fun it is to ride in comfort.

Your most comfortable cadence is a very individual thing. It might be 90 rpm but it might not. I don't know what the actual value is for me but I suspect it is lower than 90 rpm. In the long run you will do your knees a favor if you don't always mash the pedals.
I still do that sometimes . The toughest part for me is starting from stop-lights in whatever random gear I was in.
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Old 03-10-14, 10:32 AM   #66
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Yes, how you ride should depend on what you're trying to do. In my life, I pretty much never pootle along, no matter what I'm doing. I've always been trying to do something: climb higher, ski better, ride faster/further, enjoy things more, live quieter, use less energy, love better. That's just the way I am.

This coming Saturday, if the decent weather holds, Stoker and I plan on riding our first ACP 200k brevet on our tandem at 132 y.o. You betcha we'll be paying very close attention to every detail about our cycling: position, pedal technique, cadence, heart rate, pacing, hydration, electrolytes, nutrition, just to name a few obvious things. The object is first to finish, secondarily to spend as few hours in the saddle as is consistent with avoiding unnecessary pain. We have a very good chance of finishing before dark, which would also be good. We also intend to do quite a bit of smiling along the way. How is smiling related to long distance cycling? Through avoidance of pain and increased enjoyment, for which see the second sentence, this paragraph. My belief is that enjoyment is related to the practice of paying very close attention to everything. It's a practice.
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Old 03-10-14, 10:59 AM   #67
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I think Carbonfiberboy has hit the nail on the head. As a buddhist sympathizer, and while happy experiences are always welcome, I work toward rich experiences. One way is to pay close attention to every aspect of life. In riding the bike, I really like the way a bike seems to come alive at higher speeds and consequently, I seem to come a bit more alive also. I enjoy working toward smoother riding, pedaling, bike handling, whatever.
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Old 03-10-14, 11:06 AM   #68
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Quoted from Carbonfiberboy:
This coming Saturday, if the decent weather holds, Stoker and I plan on riding our first ACP 200k brevet on our tandem at 132 y.o.

y.o. = years old?

I hope that is your combined age. Otherwise we have a new entry in the Guiness Book of Records. It certainly caught my eye.
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Old 03-10-14, 11:22 AM   #69
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Fixed if for you. The previous version made it sound like maybe you thought you should tell others what attitude they should have.
MinnMan,
Not to nit-pick, but you missed one of the 'I's that need highlighting.

John S
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Old 03-10-14, 11:56 AM   #70
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MinnMan,
Not to nit-pick, but you missed one of the 'I's that need highlighting.

John S
Everybody's a critic! Thanks for the correction, but actually, I only highlighted the text that I changed. There was one "I" in his original.

But really I guess I should thank you for reading my posts at all. I've been so annoyed that I am probably turning everybody off - including those who might otherwise agree with me.

You know, when my daughter was maybe 10 years old and would be vexed by some problem with a friend or schoolmate, I used to tell her, "Every time that happens, just take a deep breath and tell yourself, 'I'm a duck, and this is water.'" I should get better at taking my own advice.
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Old 03-10-14, 12:26 PM   #71
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This kind of back-biting usually doesn't go on in the 50+. It's sad we've devolved into the 41.
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Old 03-10-14, 12:28 PM   #72
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All this info about cadence has me (almost) inspired to try to get my cadence meter on my Garmin working again. It used to work . . . then it stopped. Now I pedal at cadence "unknown." That seems to be working okay, but I should be informed during my cycling! Ignorance really isn't bliss, after all.

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Old 03-10-14, 12:38 PM   #73
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When riding a spin bike, mostly in the winter, I almost always ride 90+ rpm. No matter how well setup the spin bike is, I find low cadence, high resistance to be uncomfortable unless standing. On my road bike, I usually over-gear, i.e. mash the pedals a lot to build strength on training rides. If I'm riding on the road with people as fast or faster than me, I'll spin for all I'm worth in an attempt to keep my legs fresh and responsive. My knees, unlike the rest of me, are perfect.

Of the hundreds, if not thousands of rides over the last several years, I only had one ride that I didn't really enjoy - just off mentally that day I guess. Usually part of my enjoyment includes several instances of coming close to coughing up a lung.
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Old 03-10-14, 01:30 PM   #74
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When riding a spin bike, mostly in the winter, I almost always ride 90+ rpm. No matter how well setup the spin bike is, I find low cadence, high resistance to be uncomfortable unless standing. On my road bike, I usually over-gear, i.e. mash the pedals a lot to build strength on training rides. If I'm riding on the road with people as fast or faster than me, I'll spin for all I'm worth in an attempt to keep my legs fresh and responsive. My knees, unlike the rest of me, are perfect.
Even more extreme for me are "exercycles" such as stationary recumbents. I'm usually at 108-115 RPM on those. I think maybe it's because they have short cranks. My preference hierarchy for cycle-like exercise is "exercycle" < spin bike < trainer <<<anything outside and actually moving forward, and my cadence on the same is "exercycle" > spin bike > trainer > anything outside and actually moving forward
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Old 03-10-14, 02:13 PM   #75
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My understanding of fast twitch vs slow twitch is that the fast twitch are for anaerobic bursts. They're good for a few bursts, then they're all used up. They're the muscles that bulk up when we lift with high weights/low reps. So they'd be the ones we mash with - until they're depleted. OTOH, the slow twitch are the endurance muscles. They can be strong, but they're long and lithe, not bunchy.

*not a sports physiologist, and did NOT sleep in a Holiday Inn last night.
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