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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 09-21-10, 09:07 PM   #1
FastJake
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Teach me how to spin (pedaling technique)

Be prepared for dumb questions. Please forgive me.

I've been riding my SS to school every day. It's geared 48/18, and I can spin out pretty well on flat ground and downhill. It's hard to describe, but when I'm spinning out it seems like the harder I try to pedal faster, the less I can do. Is there some secret technique I'm missing, or do I just need to continue? After spinning as hard and as fast as I can for a while my legs ache all the way from my feet to my hips. Am I doing it wrong? Is there anything I can do to improve?

Thanks

Edit: I should add that I've only been riding FG/SS for a few months, and I've never realized the value of spinning before.

Last edited by FastJake; 09-21-10 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 09-21-10, 09:15 PM   #2
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Really you just gotta relax and do more than just push down on the pedals. I don't pedal full circles but I do push down and continue pulling backwards like I'm scraping gum off my shoe. I've hit 160-170 on the road and 200 on the trainer, you just get it over time if you keep trying to go fast. One thing for sure is that I have to want to be spinning that fast. if I'm not feeling it I can't spin and going down hills, even small ones, sucks.
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Old 09-21-10, 09:16 PM   #3
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best way to improve is to get clipless pedals. it's done wonders for me. then you can work on pedaling with one foot at a time. i also have rollers which helped me too.
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Old 09-21-10, 09:29 PM   #4
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If you are aching that means you went lactic. That's normal. That means you gave it your all.

For better high speed spin form:
1) Make sure you have a good bike fit. This is very important.

2) Get a computer with cadence and take note. What get measured gets monitored.

3) Riding rollers will smooth out your pedal stroke. Which will enable the higher cadences.

4) Different cadence rates recruit different muscles and different firing rates.

5) There is an art to it.
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Old 09-21-10, 09:35 PM   #5
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Foot retention. And that pretty much means clipless.
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Old 09-21-10, 10:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice everyone. All my bikes are clipless except the one I described above, because I don't want to "walk" around campus in my clipless shoes. I did find that clipless pedals improved my technique, even now when I ride a bike with no foot retention. I've been wanting a cadence meter for a while now. I'm curious what RPM I can hit, as I really have no idea.
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Old 09-21-10, 10:08 PM   #7
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I only ride clipless on my fix gears and road bike. Don't remember the last time I rode on normal pedals.
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Old 09-21-10, 10:11 PM   #8
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Count how many revolution you can spin in a minute when you are working the hardest.

If you have a road bike, shift down to the lower gearing (~65GI) and spin down some hill, fight the urge of coasting and shifting and pedal spin down that hill like you mean it or you could get a 19t cog to practice spinning down hill.
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Old 09-22-10, 01:48 AM   #9
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I don't get it, what is "spinning."? I just ride my bike.
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Old 09-22-10, 08:14 AM   #10
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Lower gear IMO.
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Old 09-22-10, 09:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by plowmanjoe View Post
best way to improve is to get clipless pedals. it's done wonders for me. then you can work on pedaling with one foot at a time. i also have rollers which helped me too.
+1

(I'm sure that there is more correct terminology than I will use here, somebody feel free to correct me ... the numbers refer to the hour hand of a clock at the given time).

Most people I see who can't really spin do the following:

- Concentrate all of their efforts on pushing down, where they have the most power (you'll also see their shoulders huffing up and down while they pedal).
- Commit no power to the cranks when they are moving from 5:00 to 1:00 (eg: most of the way).

I try to:

- Have my ankle moderately flexed at the top of my downstroke 12:00.
- Be pushing my crank forward as my crank is approaching 10:00 position (with my ankle flexed).
- Continue pushing my crank forward until the crank hits about 1:30.
- prepare to push the crank BACK by extending my ankle at the bottom of my stroke.
- past 7:00 start putting my ankle back into a flexed position to repeat, while pulling on the crank.
- not think too much about any one of these things, but try to to blend them all part of a single efficient motion.

Clipless pedals will help, definitely. With clipless pedals you can also do one foot at a time, which will really teach your body to work throughout the entire movement efficiently. I think the trick is: don't work too hard at any one point of the cycle, but keep consistent pressure throughout the entire circle and keep adding energy to the motion at all times. The way I pedal while spinning is a lot different than they way I accelerate from a standing stop.
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Old 09-22-10, 09:39 AM   #12
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FWIW: You can learn to spin just fine without foot retention. If anything, your technique will probably be better without it. In goldsprints I max out around 215 with clips and straps, more like 200 without them. Fastest goldsprint guy in DC (that I know of) rides platforms on his tricktarck and can outspin me any day.

It's interesting hearing Hairnet talk about how he focuses on the bottom on the pedal stroke to spin, because I focus almost exclusively on the top; kicking through with my quads before I start the downward stroke.

Riding fixed will also help a lot in terms of getting your legs used to that circular motion at high speeds. It's definitely a crutch if you rely on it too much, but like I said... in terms of just getting used to the motion, go down a big hill riding fixed. Do it every day. You'll get faster.
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Old 09-22-10, 01:36 PM   #13
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Steady cadence and fluid motion of the legs, and if you go faster, smoothly pedal faster
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Old 09-22-10, 02:17 PM   #14
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I don't get it, what is "spinning."? I just ride my bike.
+1. I'd like to know as well. Is "spinning" pedaling fast?
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Old 09-22-10, 02:19 PM   #15
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Wow, such noobs.

Spinning =




So anyway like I said, I think it's just as easy to spin with platforms as it is with clips. I mean it's not like you're actually pedaling.
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Old 09-22-10, 02:44 PM   #16
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I mean it's not like you're actually pedaling.
Not unless you're doing it right, anyway.
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Old 09-22-10, 03:28 PM   #17
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This is spinning.


I would guess that's 225 maybe 250 RPM.
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Old 09-22-10, 06:47 PM   #18
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Thanks again, lots of good stuff on here. I do believe that clipless taught me to pedal "in a circle" as opposed to just mashing down like I used to.

Quote:
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I think the trick is: don't work too hard at any one point of the cycle, but keep consistent pressure throughout the entire circle and keep adding energy to the motion at all times. The way I pedal while spinning is a lot different than they way I accelerate from a standing stop.
I try to do this, and I think it does allow me to spin faster. I might gear my bike a lot lower so I have to spin. I'm really just doing this for fun, and to get better at cycling. Next on my list is to either get a cadence meter or use the speedometer on my road bike to calculate pedaling RPMs.
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Old 09-22-10, 06:53 PM   #19
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19
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Old 09-22-10, 07:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
19
???

If my calculations are correct, I just topped out around 165 RPM on my road bike. I used:

(MPH * (1056/82.75)) / (Chainwheel/sprocket) = Cadence

82.75 is the circumference of my tire in inches. 1056 is to convert from MPH to inches per minute. I hit 26 MPH with 42/21 gearing.

Last edited by FastJake; 10-16-10 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 09-22-10, 07:57 PM   #21
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???

If my calculations are correct, I just topped out around 165 RPM on my road bike. I used:

MPH * (1056/82.75) * (Chainwheel/sprocket) = Cadence

82.75 is the circumference of my tire in inches. 1056 is to convert from MPH to inches per minute. I hit 26 MPH with 42/21 gearing.
I plugged those numbers into the Bike Gears iPhone app and it calculated your cadence to be 157.
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Old 09-22-10, 08:03 PM   #22
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Does the app take into account tire circumference? I just looked up the MPH conversion on Google. It told me 1 MPH equals 1056 inches per minute. Either way, it's pretty close. I'm just wondering why it's different.
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Old 09-22-10, 08:37 PM   #23
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Does the app take into account tire circumference? I just looked up the MPH conversion on Google. It told me 1 MPH equals 1056 inches per minute. Either way, it's pretty close. I'm just wondering why it's different.
Yes. It has a parameter for tire circumference.

It's very accurate. I've compared the calculations to the data I've recorded on my SRM and Powertap units and it checks out. It's a very thorough app.
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Old 09-23-10, 07:33 PM   #24
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Not sure this has been said: picture your feet moving in circles. Like really imagine it while you ride. Whenever you find yourself not thinking about circles, start thinking about circles again.
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Old 09-23-10, 09:09 PM   #25
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This is spinning.


I would guess that's 225 maybe 250 RPM.
madness
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