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  1. #1
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    Training up to bigger gears

    I'm trying to train up my legs to be able to use bigger gears (to go faster). I usually pedal around 80-95 rpm.

    What are everyone's thought on how to best go about this?

    Recently I started going for shorter rides in higher gears, and riding up all the hills in high gears. I think it's working.

    Right now I ride a 60 inch gear. I use a 50 inch gear against a moderate wind (20-30 km/h) and a 40 inch gear against a stronger wind (35+ km/h or when I am tired). I've started powering up all the hills in the 60 inch gear (or whatever gear I am in due to the wind).

    On the new shorter training rides I am pedaling in a 70 inch gear. I ride almost everyday, but only do these rides every couple of days.

    Does this make sense?

    I mean to me it seems like the obvious way to become able to use higher gears, is to spend time using higher gears... Also it's not like I'm likely to ever get to cycling 25 mph, if I keep pedaling in a 60 inch gear.

  2. #2
    umd
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    You're overthinking it. Don't train to use a bigger gear, train to improve your sustainable power and let your gearing fall wherever it needs for a comfortable cadence.

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    I'm probably missing a lot of background information... How do I train to improve sustainable power?

    I'm not sure what that means exactly... Does that mean I train to output the highest average power over time by maintaining my power output as constant as possible?

    A comfortable cadence for me is 80-95 or maybe 80-100. So to go 20 mph I would need to be in a 70 inch gear, and to go 25 mph I would need to be in a 90 inch gear.

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Uh, you're riding a geared bike? Meaning you can shift anytime you want to? If that's not the case, you need to buy a geared bike, ignore the gear-inches and do as below.

    When you are using a geared bike, buy a heart rate monitor and learn how to use it. Choose your gearing by your heart rate, while keeping your cadence within certain limits, as you are able, say no higher than about 95 on the flat and no lower than about 75 when climbing. When your HR gets too low, shift up. When it gets too high, shift down.

    What "too low" and "too high" mean, and when, has been the subject of many books. Most folks start with Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible.

    Or just forget all that technical stuff and ride your bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Uh, you're riding a geared bike? Meaning you can shift anytime you want to? If that's not the case, you need to buy a geared bike, ignore the gear-inches and do as below.
    Yes geared bike, with somewhat limited gearing. But enough to always be able to stay within 80-95.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    When you are using a geared bike, buy a heart rate monitor and learn how to use it. Choose your gearing by your heart rate, while keeping your cadence within certain limits, as you are able, say no higher than about 95 on the flat and no lower than about 75 when climbing. When your HR gets too low, shift up. When it gets too high, shift down.
    Thanks this is what I wanted to know. To maintain a high heart rate at between 75 and 95 rpms I would need to be in about a 70 inch gear on the flats. And just gear down to maintain my rpms on climbs.

    This seems to confirm that my legs are the weak link. As any gear I would naturally use at 95 rpms would not raise my heart-rate much (60 inches or less). And conversely any gear that would raise my heart rate, at 95 rpms would be one where my legs would tire out, and would be hard to maintain a steady cadence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Or just forget all that technical stuff and ride your bike.
    That's sort of my goal. Not to have to wear a heart rate monitor all the time, or to stare at a cycle-computer the whole ride. Just to figure out how hard I should be riding, what gear is hard enough on the flats to achieve that intensity, and also to know whether I should push harder on the hills (maintain the same speed), or gear down (and maintain the same effort).
    Last edited by bijan; 10-15-10 at 07:57 AM. Reason: fix typo

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