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  1. #1
    Senior Member cantdrv55's Avatar
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    In general, how do you do these things?

    Do you sit or stand to climb short hills? Lately I've been standing because I like getting over the crest faster but my knees are starting to hurt. I may have to start sitting again and just grind it out. What do you do?

    Cadence - about how fast do you spin normally? I think I'm most comfortable below 90 RPM. I read somewhere that the faster you spin the less, tired you get. You also don't get very far, at least on the gear that I choose to spin fast on. So, what cadence are you most comfortable spinning and do you usually do so on the middle ring of a triple, small ring on a compact or are you a big ring rider?

    Lastly, and this is kinda dumb but, I'd like to be able to scrunch my shoulder blades to relieve some tension while on the bike. The only way I know how to scrunch both blades is to sit up, let go of the bar and squeeze the back. However, I've never learned to ride with no hands, Ma. It's probably hard to describe how to do that I'm going to ask, how do you do that? Do you keep pedaling or do you coast to keep your balance? Is there a safe way to practice or just do it?

    I've been on this board since 2004 but I'm still a newbie.

  2. #2
    Ooohh, shiny things! kyle16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cantdrv55 View Post
    Do you sit or stand to climb short hills? Lately I've been standing because I like getting over the crest faster but my knees are starting to hurt. I may have to start sitting again and just grind it out. What do you do?
    Typically, I will stand for really short hills, like overpass short. Other than that, I will be on my saddle getting up the hill for the most part. Sitting uses less energy and keeps the heart rate down better.

    Cadence - about how fast do you spin normally? I think I'm most comfortable below 90 RPM. I read somewhere that the faster you spin the less, tired you get. You also don't get very far, at least on the gear that I choose to spin fast on. So, what cadence are you most comfortable spinning and do you usually do so on the middle ring of a triple, small ring on a compact or are you a big ring rider?
    I need to get something that can measure my cadence, but I think I usually have a slightly higher cadence than a lot of people. Nothing scientific about that idea, just what i seem to notice. If I am riding on flat, I will always be in my large chain ring (34-50 compact double) unless there is a nasty headwind. Going up most hills with a grade about approximately 5% or more, I am in my small chain ring.

    Lastly, and this is kinda dumb but, I'd like to be able to scrunch my shoulder blades to relieve some tension while on the bike. The only way I know how to scrunch both blades is to sit up, let go of the bar and squeeze the back. However, I've never learned to ride with no hands, Ma. It's probably hard to describe how to do that I'm going to ask, how do you do that? Do you keep pedaling or do you coast to keep your balance? Is there a safe way to practice or just do it?

    I've been on this board since 2004 but I'm still a newbie.
    I can go no hands either coasting or pedaling, but I have been able to ride no handed for probably 15 years, so I have a lot of practice. I would suggest to keep pedaling so you can keep your speed up. I find that riding with no hand below 10mph tends to get a lot harder.

    Just doing a quick search, found this article on how to ride no handed. It is a good step by step progression of how to do it. It says to not pedal while learning, but for me, I find it easier to pedal. Whatever you feel the most comfortable doing, do it that way.

    Good luck with learning. Once you figure out what the balance point of you and your bike is, it will get really easy quickly.

  3. #3
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    riding with no hands: practice it and you will get it. i never thought id learn to do it, but i did. you really just gotta sit up straight and your bike will continue going straight. it helps to be traveling at a decent speed.

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    I stand on short hills, on the steeper parts of long climbs, and on anything that's over 15% or so. Sometimes I stand just to use different muscles. If your knees are hurting when you stand it may be because you're doing more climbing or more standing and are overusing the muscles. On which case if you moderate how much you increase your standing, they should get used to it and you'll be fine. Weight lifting (squats, leg curls) can help.

    My cadence varies from 65-75 on climbs to over 110 in a pack on the flat. When climbing, lower cadence puts more stress on the leg muscles (they are doing the same work with fewer contractions) but less stress on the cardiovascular system. Spinning stresses the legs less since the muscles do the same work with more contractions but since humans are not 100% efficient, there is more stress on the cardiovascular. So if your legs hurt but your lungs are fine, shift to a lower gear. If your lungs are burning or you are out of breath and your legs are fine, use a higher gear.

    I've been riding no hands since I was a kid. It's easiest to learn on flat or slightly uphill, so you can pedal with some resistance. It's easier at speed (above 15mph or so), since the bike is more stable. Ride with one hand and try not to use the hand to steer the bike. When you're riding no hands you steer with your hips- shifting them causes the bike to turn. It's a slower way to steer, so you have to look and think farther ahead. And you can't make a sharp or sudden turn, gradual turns only, at least until you have a lot of practice. It'll seem impossible until you "get it", then you'll be wondering how it took so long to figure it out.

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    I stand when it gets really steep, or when I want a break from sitting, or I want to speed up a little. Climbing 10% grades sitting is normal. 16% grades, I'm standing just to turn the pedals over. Cadence varies for me based on the grade of the hill, but I like 80-90 for going up. But with the gearing I have, it's sometimes not possible or realistic. On flats, my cadence is often 110.

    As for riding with no hands, you control your bike with very little movements in the hips. It's definitely easier with some speed due to the gyroscopic effect of the wheels. Practice it. Very good skill to have.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  6. #6
    moth -----> flame Beaker's Avatar
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    I do both on short hills. Sometimes I'll try to really spin up a shortish hill in my 34T (say 80-90rpm), but normally I'll stand in a bigger gear if it's short. I'd argue that standing is easier on the knees than a "seated mash" - from first hand experience.

    On climbs I feel best when I'm at ~70rpm, like Eric said +/-5. I find I like enough resistance to make me work, my biggest challenge to spinning with a smaller gear is getting past that "lack of resistance", I find it too easy to slip back to a lower cadence. I think it also takes practice - the idea that spinning up a hill is easy isn't really fair IMHO, it still takes effort and practice to get used to. Also, since Joel mentioned crazy steep stuff, all bets are off when you're at 15% or so. For me that normally means ending up at 40-50rpm.

    Still haven't worked out riding with no hands, but haven't invested a lot of time in that.

  7. #7
    illusoryly superior Ygduf's Avatar
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    I taught myself to ride with no hands a few months ago. It took a week or two of making myself do it. It's a worthwhile skill to learn. Removing arm warmers, adjusting helmet, stretching, eating are all easier to do, and you don't need to stop moving...

    You can scrunch your shoulders while riding. Just lower your breastbone towards the stem and do it...

    I used to try and only spin up hills. I find now that I climb best around 70-72rpm, and I stand for most stuff above 10%, but if it goes on for a while I will alternate seated/standing.

    I found that I can go quicker at the same HR while standing. It's not the conventional wisdom, but I think I'm still at a point where my glutes/hamstrings/arms are much stronger than my quads. I'm also heavier 180ish, and I just feel like it's easier to get power to the pedals if I'm standing.

  8. #8
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    I still run, so I'm still in much better aerobic shape than in leg strength shape. As others have mentioned, I was advised to spin more. That does work in that my legs don't get as tired, but it also feels that I go slower. So, if I want to conserve leg strength and/or don't care about speed, I spin. If I'm after a workout, I use higher gears and mash a bit.

    I stand when I need to get over a steep section, but it really tires out my legs quickly. Unfortunately, I haven't learned how to "spin" while standing up. It seems like you need exactly the right gearing (for that grade) to spin while standing. Anyone have any comments on spinning while standing?

    Edit: it's good to see that other people have to stand at the same grade point as I do.
    Last edited by RoboCheme; 08-05-09 at 10:52 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member nachomc's Avatar
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    Short hills: gear up, HAMMER

    Cadence: I find I'm very comfortable at 90-100, but I have to work to maintain that. My avg cadence on my rides is generally 81.
    cleanspokes

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  10. #10
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    I try to stay seated for climbs, but have been experimenting with different techniques (sitting vs. standing, different gearing and cadences) because I've found when I mix things up my back doesn't bother me so much on long climbs. For short climbs, i try to just hammer up them, and will stand to avoid shifting.

    As for cadence, I used to think I had a reasonably fast cadence, but I got a computer that measures cadence last spring and found that I don't. I thought I'd been in the 80's or low 90's for most of my flat riding, but was actually down in the 70's. Since I now have the computer constantly reminding me to gear down and use a faster cadence, I've slowly been getting used to maintaining a faster cadence. Like everything else, you need to build up your body's capability to maintain that cadence. I haven't been trying to use the faster cadence to go faster - whenever I find my cadence is slower than I'd like, I just change gears and try to go the same speed in the lower gear.

    Going uphill, my cadence still drops down to the 60/low 70 rpm range. Then again, I'm not exactly going very fast

    JB
    "Poor Reverend Hamilton! He worked so hard, got a mountain named after him and now all anyone wants to do is complain about his backside!" Overheard while climbing Mt. Hamilton

    Check out my cycling blog.

  11. #11
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Climbing short hills: Depends on what you mean by 'short', and how I'm feeling. If it's REAL short, I'll often stand up. Longer than 100 yards, I'll generally sit, and keep going to lower gears until I run out of gears, then I just sit and grind.

    Cadence: 90-95. I used to be able to comfortably spin at 100-110, but I'm out of practice.

    Riding hands off: That's bike-dependent. My Ritchey is a little squirrelly hands off, the Battaglin tracks straight and true, and the Bianchi is somewhere in between. The Battaglin also corners so well I think it could descend 84 without me.

    But I can ride the Ritchey hands-off on straight stretches of road at >15 mph. You just have to get used to the idea.

    Stretching while on the bike: I like to stretch out my back and shoulders by holding one hand near the stem on the bar, and turning my upper body so my shoulders are in line with the wheels, with my other hand stretched out behind me. Then I do the other side. Works wonders!
    "Don’t take life so serious—it ain’t nohow permanent."

  12. #12
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    From today's ride up Mt. Rose. Someone dialed up the wattage before I got there...


  13. #13
    Ooohh, shiny things! kyle16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bostic View Post
    From today's ride up Mt. Rose. Someone dialed up the wattage before I got there...

    Wait, wait, you put the hammer down?

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