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Old 07-13-07, 09:14 PM   #1
jopatco
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Optimum cadence

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.
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Old 07-13-07, 09:50 PM   #2
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Anything between 60 and 90 is about right.

I try to stay around 90-96. Of course, sometimes I'm just tired and fall short of that.
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Old 07-13-07, 10:59 PM   #3
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yes. about 70-90 is a good zone.
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Old 07-14-07, 02:21 AM   #4
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It varies depending an a bunch of factors-
Example, I'm nearly 60, 50 lbs. overweight, bad back and arthritic knees.
I ride a 21 year old MB with street tires and 175mm cranks.
No way can I spin a cadence of 70 without bouncing all over. I can't/won't use any kind of clips because I have to keep shifting my feet slightly to avoid knee pain.
I recently 'discovered" I was doing a cadence of 60. A bit of experimentation and I found out I could downshift a gear and do the same speed at a cadence of 65. MY stamina is much better at 65 and "spinning", than at 60 and "mashing". I'm looking for shorter cranks. That may allow me to spin a bit faster. (and then, probably a different cassette with closer spacing)
Somebody else may be best off at 90 or whatever suits them.
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Old 07-14-07, 10:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
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
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Old 07-16-07, 11:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun
I can't/won't use any kind of clips because I have to keep shifting my feet slightly to avoid knee pain.
I don't want to hijack the thread, but Bill, have you looked into Speedplay clipless pedals? They are specifically designed for people like yourself. They have completely free float (meaning no springback force). They typically allow your feet to swing 20 degrees which will allow your 'non-perfect' pedal stroke to continue without undue stress on your body parts. Then you'll be able to take advantage of the many other benefits of clipless pedals.
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Old 07-18-07, 11:27 AM   #7
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Thanks for the info guys - appreciate it!
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Old 07-18-07, 12:57 PM   #8
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"I don't want to hijack the thread, but Bill, have you looked into Speedplay clipless pedals?"

WAY beyond my budget! Right now, a $20 tire is extravagant
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Old 07-18-07, 05:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ericgu View Post
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
+1 This is great advice. My range is 95-105 or 110. I generally run about 70-90 only on climbs of 8% or more.
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Old 07-18-07, 05:50 PM   #10
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Go ride a fixed gear. You'll learn to be good at lots of cadences. I currently ride between 70-120rpm on 75 gear inches.
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Old 07-18-07, 05:55 PM   #11
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85max is a bit low. You may want to try to raise that.
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