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Old 07-14-08, 06:02 AM   #1
alanf
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Cadence

I spoke with a guy in the bike shop about cadence a while back and his rough guess was that I should be doing around 90. I find that is a bit fast and my feet are just shy of flying off the pedals although I certainly appreciate his info on the subject.
Where can I find out more info?
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Old 07-14-08, 06:57 AM   #2
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90 is not fast. It just feels like it to you now because it doesn't just come naturally. Just work on gradually pedalling faster -- don't just do it all at once. You will quickly get used to it.
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Old 07-14-08, 08:00 AM   #3
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Cadence is best developed on a trainer. Try spin ups. Pedal as fast as you can until you are bounceing on the saddle. Back off until you stop bounceing. Pedal for 30 sec at this cadence. Rest for 1 minute. Repeat 8 times.

90 RPM will seem like average after awhile.
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Old 07-14-08, 08:49 AM   #4
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I found working on my trainer as rodrigai suggested helped a lot. At first I could spin at 90 for ever and now I have increased at to 100 and I can work at 110 for a little bit of a distance. However you should also work on your lower cadence as well to your high.

After doing some reading and please correct me if that is not correct, your high cadence helps you for long distance and works on are cardiovascular system. Your lower cadence around 50 to 60 helps develop your power and will improve your speed. You need a balance of both.
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Old 07-14-08, 11:25 AM   #5
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Cadence is pretty specific. Eddie Merckx ran a bit over 110 when he broke the 30 mile barrier for an hour ride. Greg Lemond generally rode in the high seventies or low eighties. Lance Armstrong was usually over 100.

Now who am I to say that Lemond was OK but he would have been good if he learned how to ride his bike? I figure all of the above guys were probably very close to maximizing their biological potential as cyclists.

When I started out cycling, anything above 80 felt fast. But as I got experience, I increased my cadence. I would suggest that you work on increasing your cadence especially on slower rides. When you get able to spin at high speeds, you may find it feels good and works well or you may find that it just feels better to push bigger gears.
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Old 07-14-08, 08:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by alanf View Post
I spoke with a guy in the bike shop about cadence a while back and his rough guess was that I should be doing around 90. I find that is a bit fast and my feet are just shy of flying off the pedals although I certainly appreciate his info on the subject.
Where can I find out more info?
It sounds like you aren't using clipless pedals. If you aren't clipped to the pedals, higher cadences are much harder to do.

Everybody does have their own particular cadence, but if you are a beginning rider you will likely do better with a faster cadence than you are currently riding. 90 is a reasonable spot to aim for - I ride with some friends who run at about 80 and others that run at around 100.

I have some more information here:

http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx/arch...8-cadence.aspx
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Old 07-14-08, 08:35 PM   #7
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Trainers and clipless are nice tools for increasing cadence, but they aren't required. Just spin as fast as you can without sacrificing form. Then drop your gear back and spin a little faster. Repeat and practice until you're as fast as you want to be. It ain't rocket science.
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Old 07-14-08, 11:16 PM   #8
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Excellent thoughtful replies.
Actually I have clips on my pedals and the shoes to go with it but I am kind of shy about using them as I tend to forget that I have them on and have kissed the ground with my knees a few times in traffic. An argument could be made that I bought them too long as I have wide feet and therefore this makes them harder to unclip.

ericgu That excellent link seemed to sum up what I have learned here.
I have noticed that I can spin faster than I could when I first started trying, so it sounds like I will try your ideas and speed it up intentionally. 90 is easier than when I started. I am guessing that this will unload my knees which is a good thing for me.
However I wonder if the increased motion of the joints is good or bad? I can see arguments that it is good and bad. Good because the increased motion is less likely to grind the joint because of the lesser loading and maybe bad because you are moving it more frequently. As much as I love biking, our bodies were not designed to do anything other than walk. A friend was in the Olympics in rowing and he has medical problems to prove it.
My sense is that faster is better within limits of comfort and form.
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Old 07-15-08, 01:29 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by alanf View Post
However I wonder if the increased motion of the joints is good or bad? I can see arguments that it is good and bad. Good because the increased motion is less likely to grind the joint because of the lesser loading and maybe bad because you are moving it more frequently. As much as I love biking, our bodies were not designed to do anything other than walk. A friend was in the Olympics in rowing and he has medical problems to prove it.
My sense is that faster is better within limits of comfort and form.
I'm not sure of any scientific backing, but most cyclists think it's easier on the knees to spin rather than mash.

Of course it's better to be able to do both. I think most riders can get up hills faster if they slow their cadence. Also slower cadence is preferred if your cardiovascular system is tired. Faster cadence is preferred if your leg muscles are tired.
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Old 07-15-08, 06:59 AM   #10
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our bodies were not designed to do anything other than walk.
I disagree. The human body is an amazing machine designed to do whatever its brain tells it to. It is only limited by said brain's imagination.

About cadence... I know I have been trying to increase my cadence, yet I don't know what number I'm even turning. How are all of you measuring your cadence? Do you have a monitor, or do you just count how many times you turn the crank each minute?
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Old 07-15-08, 08:13 AM   #11
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I agree that your body can do a lot of amazing things up to a limit. When I used to hang glide I saw a few people go past that limit, because we were not designed to fly, or rollerblade, or windsurf or ....

I use my "Shimano Flight Deck". Apparently Garmin makes a GPS with a heart monitor that also does it. Those are expensive options though.
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Old 07-15-08, 09:47 AM   #12
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I think too much is emphasized on cadence while the pedal stroke is what's more important. The pedal stroke, when understood, changes as the conditions of the ride changes. The change is in the emphasis on the push or the pull. For instance on long steady climbs at low gradients, its better to save the quads by working the hamstrings and quads meaning the pull up. Then on a quick accelerations while on the saddle, the pull up really helps.

When the rider discovers this sort of pedal efficiency, this sort of muscle group usage, then the cadence will follow.

Now, if we're in a spin class, we don't necessarily have the elements, the wind factor, the different elevations. So its much simpler to focus on cadence (spinning) which is ok, but for road riders, I think there is a need for a certain "adaptation" of what's learned in spin class.

Last edited by Garfield Cat; 07-15-08 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 07-15-08, 10:10 AM   #13
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Here's a link for a definition of "Spin Class". (I didn't know)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoor_cycling
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Old 07-15-08, 01:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharptailhunter View Post
I disagree. The human body is an amazing machine designed to do whatever its brain tells it to. It is only limited by said brain's imagination.

About cadence... I know I have been trying to increase my cadence, yet I don't know what number I'm even turning. How are all of you measuring your cadence? Do you have a monitor, or do you just count how many times you turn the crank each minute
?
A cycle computer with cadence function is nice, but not needed. I count for 15 seconds and multiply by four. Remember that cadence refers to a full revolution of the crank.

I don't think it's necessary to monitor cadence frequently. Once a ride while you're working on it, and maybe once a month (or whatever) throughout your cycling career to make sure you're maintaining.
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Old 07-15-08, 10:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharptailhunter View Post
I disagree. The human body is an amazing machine designed to do whatever its brain tells it to. It is only limited by said brain's imagination.

About cadence... I know I have been trying to increase my cadence, yet I don't know what number I'm even turning. How are all of you measuring your cadence? Do you have a monitor, or do you just count how many times you turn the crank each minute?
Cateye Astral 8 is a reliable, cheap computer with a cadence function. One sensor goes on your rear wheel, and another on a stay next to the crank. When I ride, I mostly watch the cadence number. Much more important than speed. Counting isn't accurate enough, and you will be constantly changing cadence anyway.
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Old 07-15-08, 10:37 PM   #16
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I think too much is emphasized on cadence while the pedal stroke is what's more important. The pedal stroke, when understood, changes as the conditions of the ride changes. The change is in the emphasis on the push or the pull. For instance on long steady climbs at low gradients, its better to save the quads by working the hamstrings and quads meaning the pull up. Then on a quick accelerations while on the saddle, the pull up really helps.
+1 I've been working on keeping an even pedal stroke recently, and my cadence and power output has gone up. Efficiency is the name of the game, and where the body is most efficient will depend to some degree on your muscle fiber composition. Strong muscular riders tend to prefer putting more torque into the cranks, less frequently, i.e. low cadence. Strong aerobic riders prefer less torque but can turn over the pedals much faster, i.e. high cadence.
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