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Old 04-11-05, 06:22 AM   #1
Whoodie
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Average Cadence calculation wrong???

On my computer I try to keep a minimum of 100rpm. In fact my highest light gear rpm on the road was 240. But after a ride scroll through the computer and woo average cadence = 80rpm. If I am pedalling in excess of 100 then the average should be in excess of 100.

But wait a minute, when going downhill your cadence in most cases is zero and hence a total number of revolutions are divided by the Ride Time giving an "average cadence".

So my query is should the average cadence be:
1) an element of ride time (Total Pedal Revolutions) divide by Ride Time in Minutes or
2) an element of pedaling time ie when you are not pedalling - cadence calculator time stops.

D**n maths.

If (1) is right, then is once supposed to pedal forever even when circumstances don't apply?
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Old 04-11-05, 07:30 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Whoodie
On my computer I try to keep a minimum of 100rpm. In fact my highest light gear rpm on the road was 240. But after a ride scroll through the computer and woo average cadence = 80rpm. If I am pedalling in excess of 100 then the average should be in excess of 100.

But wait a minute, when going downhill your cadence in most cases is zero and hence a total number of revolutions are divided by the Ride Time giving an "average cadence".

So my query is should the average cadence be:
1) an element of ride time (Total Pedal Revolutions) divide by Ride Time in Minutes or
2) an element of pedaling time ie when you are not pedalling - cadence calculator time stops.

D**n maths.

If (1) is right, then is once supposed to pedal forever even when circumstances don't apply?
My Cateye CD300 calculates all time into the cadence so when you are coasting, zero cadence is averaging into the total hence average cadence is considerably lower than actual pedaling time cadence. My Polar S520 measures cadence only during pedal time hence the same ride shows considerably higher than average cadence. Apparently your computer uses the former method. I, for example, pedal normally at a 90-105 cadence with forays to higher cadences. At the end of the ride, typically I will show an average cadence in the 70's with the Cateye.
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Old 04-11-05, 08:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by skydive69
My Cateye CD300 calculates all time into the cadence so when you are coasting, zero cadence is averaging into the total hence average cadence is considerably lower than actual pedaling time cadence. My Polar S520 measures cadence only during pedal time hence the same ride shows considerably higher than average cadence. Apparently your computer uses the former method. I, for example, pedal normally at a 90-105 cadence with forays to higher cadences. At the end of the ride, typically I will show an average cadence in the 70's with the Cateye.
Thanx. But which of the two averages is correct? Not that it matters, the bike will have done the same distance and speed.
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Old 04-11-05, 08:25 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Whoodie
Thanx. But which of the two averages is correct? Not that it matters, the bike will have done the same distance and speed.
Well, actually they are both correct - just different in philosophical approach. One says that your average cadence is the average of your cadence when actually pedaling. That is the one I like, but unfortunately Cateye is of the belief that your average cadence is simply the average of the cadence that you do including coasting at zero cadence. I am more interested in knowing what I average when I am actually pedaling which is Polar's approach to the measurement.
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Old 04-11-05, 08:36 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by skydive69
Well, actually they are both correct - just different in philosophical approach. One says that your average cadence is the average of your cadence when actually pedaling. That is the one I like, but unfortunately Cateye is of the belief that your average cadence is simply the average of the cadence that you do including coasting at zero cadence. I am more interested in knowing what I average when I am actually pedaling which is Polar's approach to the measurement.
The cateye way is like, say, calculating avg spd from total time spend on a ride. That is if you left home at 7am and ride to work 10km away and come back at 7pm, total RT is 12hour which you divide by the distance 20km and avg spd will be approx 1mile per hour.
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Old 04-11-05, 08:39 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Whoodie
The cateye way is like, say, calculating avg spd from total time spend on a ride. That is if you left home at 7am and ride to work 10km away and come back at 7pm, total RT is 12hour which you divide by the distance 20km and avg spd will be approx 1mile per hour.
I concur, and actually called Cateye to discuss it when I first got the unit some months ago. At first, I thought there was something wrong with the unit, because I was used to the very accurate Polar approach to the calculation. That would be my only complaint regarding to the unit, but at least when I am pedaling I see an accurate cadence display, and get an accurate reading on max cadence attained, but the average cadence at the end of the ride is useless in my opiniion.
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Old 04-11-05, 08:51 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by skydive69
the average cadence at the end of the ride is useless in my opiniion.
I agree, just like the average speed. Its just that after a ride that I was so keen in observing above 100+ rpm and the comp gives me an avg of 80. It had to be that, either someone hadn't done his maths right or my mind was clogged after the ride.
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Old 04-11-05, 11:03 AM   #8
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I'd say its right including the times you are not pedaling to calculate average rpm. Your legs are taking a break and it should rightfully be included in the average. If you compare average cadence over the same route then you can make a 1:1 comparision. Actually you can compare average cadence between all trips and it gives you an indicator of how the terrain may differ. Flat route will likely give you higher averages vs. hilly where you may have a slower cadence going up and sometimes zero going down. The botom line is to use average cadence to compare your own rides to each other, not as a comparision to an 'ideal' 95-110 cadence.

If this bothers you then ride a fixed gear bike so you wont get any zero cadence time.

Al
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Old 04-11-05, 12:17 PM   #9
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You could solve this problem by riding a fixed gear.
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Old 04-11-05, 09:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whoodie
I agree, just like the average speed. Its just that after a ride that I was so keen in observing above 100+ rpm and the comp gives me an avg of 80. It had to be that, either someone hadn't done his maths right or my mind was clogged after the ride.
You really are a victim of the electronic age when you take the criticism of your bike computer to heart.

If your computer is destroying your ride get rid of it. I strip my computers off for racing I got sick of it dictating how I should race a bike.

Remember it's a tool and YOU should use IT and allow for its faults.
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Old 04-12-05, 09:03 AM   #11
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You really are a victim of the electronic age when you take the criticism of your bike computer to heart.
....
Remember it's a tool and YOU should use IT and allow for its faults.
It goes further than that, that users of the computer feel criticised by an aveage reading below some idealized 100rpm, when in fact an ideal average cadence for a typical ride may in fact be 80rpm. 100rpm cadence is for many bodies the ideal cadence for best endurance vs. power efficiency, but it is not the ideal cadence for downhill when resting the legs. If it was then one should be pedaling downhill at 100rpm, which may be good for developing a good spin, but may not be best for having the most efficient overall ride.

Al
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Old 04-12-05, 05:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
I'd say its right including the times you are not pedaling to calculate average rpm. Your legs are taking a break and it should rightfully be included in the average. If you compare average cadence over the same route then you can make a 1:1 comparision. Actually you can compare average cadence between all trips and it gives you an indicator of how the terrain may differ. Flat route will likely give you higher averages vs. hilly where you may have a slower cadence going up and sometimes zero going down. The botom line is to use average cadence to compare your own rides to each other, not as a comparision to an 'ideal' 95-110 cadence.

If this bothers you then ride a fixed gear bike so you wont get any zero cadence time.

Al
No...there's no real value in "average cadence" that includes non-pedalling time. That would be like an average speed function that included time you were spent stopped at lights. Yes, it's a piece of data...but, not very interesting data, with respect to performance on the bike.

Average "pedalling cadence", can be a useful number to work with for training. For instance, if I'm working to improve my hill climbing performance, I'd want to compare the average pedalling cadence from ride to ride to see if intentional changes in cadence/gearing had an effect on speed or heart rate.
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