Originally Posted by jopatco
I have just started using a computer. Is there an optimum cadence one should strive for? Anything over 85 seems just too unstable and below 60 it seems like I'm doing leg presses. Any ideas just how fast my little feet should be spinning? Thanks.
Generally, higher cadence puts more load on your cardio system, and lower cadence puts more load on your legs (and knees).
While it varies from person to person, most serious cyclists run somewhere between perhaps 80 and 100 for most of the time. My personal range is something like 80 to 110 comfortably, though I can push to 120 (or higher if I'm doing intervals).
Being able to spin faster is a useful tool to have. It's not uncommon for beginners to find it hard to get above 85. First of all, if you aren't using clipless pedals, you will find it hard to get above 85. If you have them, try this exercise:
In a reasonable gear start at perhaps a cadence of 75 or so and slowly increase to the top cadence you can hold over 30 seconds, and then hold this speed for 30 seconds. If you are bouncing, slow down until you stop bouncing.
Try this once or twice a week for a few weeks, and you will likely find that your range increases a fair bit.
I also find that one-legged pedalling drills (unclip and pedal for 30-40 revs with one leg) help promote a smooth stroke, which makes a high cadence easier to reach. They're easier to do on a trainer, though you can do them on the road if you've done them for a while (though they feel pretty weird the first time you do them). I do these fairly randomly when I get bored