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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 06-14-13, 02:39 PM   #1
mike12
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Easier to go faster vs slower on rough roads???

I've noticed that in some instances on rough roads (ones paved by putting tar down and then pouring gravel over it) it seems that it's easier to go faster versus slower. Does this make any sense? I'm thinking that on these rough roads maybe the rolling resistance is so great that it may actually be easier to go faster.

Specifically - Today when my ride was just about over I was going down a straight on such a road keeping my cadence between 85-90 which is what I typically try to monitor. Anyway, I felt like I needed to gear down to keep the cadence up but since I was fairly close to home I said I'm just going to push hard so I actually geared up. It seemed like it was actually easier to keep the cadence up using the higher gear.

I'm certainly new to the sport, so this may just all be in my head because I made the metal decision to push harder. Just curious what others think - is there any logic to my thought about rolling resistance?
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Old 06-14-13, 03:14 PM   #2
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Hi,

Basically no, but the good thing is you have noticed poor rolling resistance,
which slows you down going fairly slowly with not much effort compared
to gliding over good tarmac in cruise mode at a nice rate for the effort, or
put another way, to maintain the same cadence and speed you need to push.

If you put the hammer down aero takes over as the major loss, and the
more you push the less difference the surface will make, though it will
always be there as a difference.

I've been riding now for six months and have a nice cruising cadence.
With no wind and no hills I can easily feel the effect on effort of the
surface I'm riding over.

Yesterday riding into 20mph headwinds I couldn't much.
My workrate was high, and basically rolling resistance makes
the most difference at moderate speeds and low workrate.

Hope that helps.

rgds, sreten.

edit : A point I missed is pushing harder with less weight
on the saddle does help over the rougher road surfaces

Last edited by sreten; 06-14-13 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 06-14-13, 04:24 PM   #3
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Yes. Push a bigger gear through chip seal or rough roads. Check out how the pros ride the Spring Classics like Paris-Roubaix.
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Old 06-14-13, 04:32 PM   #4
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I like to stay in the big ring on rough pavement or gravel. It helps to keep better chain tension and for some reason I feel like it can stay on top of the gear better. Bend your elbows and keep your wrists and grip loose.
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Old 06-14-13, 04:44 PM   #5
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^^^ Yes, this loads the pedals more and the saddle less. It lets the bike move around a little underneath you. If you have a death grip or if you are too heavy in the saddle you end up fighting against your bike and wasting energy.
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Old 06-14-13, 07:22 PM   #6
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Yep. Push a bigger gear over rough terrain and float out of the saddle a little.
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Old 06-14-13, 07:35 PM   #7
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Whether your jackhammer is set to fast or slow, it's still a jackhammer. As said above, put the power down with a slower than normal cadence.
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Old 06-14-13, 07:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
if you are too heavy in the saddle
Aren't we all?
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Old 06-15-13, 01:53 AM   #9
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What others have said about riding a bigger gear over rough roads. But also keep in mind that, when tired, sometimes increasing effort and pace can temporarily help to reduce the feeling of fatigue (especially when close to home).
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Old 06-15-13, 04:33 AM   #10
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Thanks guys. I'll test this during the first or middle portion of my next ride.
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Old 06-15-13, 06:48 AM   #11
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Yes, carrying speed and momentum over rough stuff smoothes out the ride, because the frequency of the impacts is greater, and the peak-to-peak amplitude between wheels drops. With speed increasing forward momentum and overcoming impact rebound energy, it feels easier to maintain speed. I think, anyway.
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