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Do You Ride A Low Or High Cadence?

Old 04-22-13, 11:12 PM
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jyl
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Do You Ride A Low Or High Cadence?

I don't have a cadence meter on my bike, but I've manually counted and also used stationary bikes with cadence readouts. So my cadence observations that follow are just estimates, but still I wanted to ask the question.

What cadence(s) do you ride? Why, and when?

I used to pedal a fairly fast cadence, from 100 to 120 rpm. This was when I rode my mountain bike around town, with its low gearing (24/34/42 x 13-28, 26") When I started riding a road bike (53/39 x 12-26, 700C), I initially used the same cadence. Then my cadence started slowing, while at the same time my legs became stronger (able to apply more force for longer). Nowadays I usually ride around 80, sometimes as low as 60 on climbs, especially standing climbs. When I'm trying to ride fast, I'm more likely to shift into 53 x 12 and push hard at 90 rpm, than 53 x 17 and spin 120 rpm. I use a higher cadence like 100+ mostly when I'm "resting" or cruising.

From what I read, this seems to be a backwards progression. It sounds like most people start with a low cadence and move to spinning as they become more experienced cyclists.
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Old 04-22-13, 11:23 PM
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Noodle on the flat: ~85
Noodle on climbs: ~65-70
Hammer on the flat: ~105
Hammer on climbs: ~85

But that's just me. The harder I work, the faster I spin.
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Old 04-23-13, 04:39 AM
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It's situational for me. Cruising on the flats I like to be somewhere around 85-95 rpm.On mild but longer elevations I'm around 75 rpm. On steeper climbs I'm usually in the 55-65 rpm range. Steep climbs are really tough for me because I'm a fairly normal human (not overweight) but 20 lbs over "cycling weight." As my weight comes down my climbing rpms will change for sure.
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Old 04-23-13, 06:08 AM
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"Do You Ride A Low Or High Cadence?"

No, I don't--that is, I don't ride either one of those. My cadence averages around 80-90 rpm, very much in the mid-range.
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Old 04-23-13, 06:18 AM
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I don't count rpms but due to arthritic hips I tend to spin rather than power. Have been converting bikes to smaller chainrings and larger geared cassettes.
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Old 04-23-13, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Noodle on the flat: ~85
Noodle on climbs: ~65-70
Hammer on the flat: ~105
Hammer on climbs: ~85

But that's just me. The harder I work, the faster I spin.
^Same, so it's not just you.
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Old 04-23-13, 07:04 AM
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Mine is almost always between 85 and 100. This is according to the data the computer saves for me. When riding I very seldom pay attention to it. When I first started riding, I was obsessive about trying to stay in the upper 90s. Over time, I realized that was just making the ride less enjoyable. Now days my knees will tell me when I should shift and spin.
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Old 04-23-13, 07:50 AM
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I pay pretty close attention to my cadence and find I'm in the higher range. If I'm below 90 that usually means I'm tired.

Strava says my average cadence was 90 and 92 on my last couple rides. That includes lights and stops which means my moving avg was probably a fair bit higher.

When I first started I would do much more mashing/power pedaling. I think I've reached my ideal mix between anaerobic and aerobic.

YMMV.
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Old 04-23-13, 08:07 AM
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Looking at my garmin data from the beginning of the year, my average cadence over 900 miles with 47,000 feet of climbing was 74. I try to spin above 90 or 100 on the flats, and obviously am slower on hills. I consciously worked on picking up my cadence, one of the tools I used was cycle.jog.fm which lets you select songs by the cadence they match.
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Old 04-23-13, 11:02 AM
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Have not gathered the Data.. only put a computer on for the 2 odometer functions on bike tours.

my computer on that bike is down on the fork-blade.. rarely look at it.

I stay just ahead of the chosen gear-ratio.. so Im not mashing too big a gear,
or trying to keep up with one too small..

when I'm on my Brompton, 3 speed, I adjust the speed to the gear, low too fast a cadence ?, Slow the pace.
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Old 04-23-13, 11:17 AM
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80-100 RPM.

Slower when I'm cruising. Faster when I'm picking up the pace.
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Old 04-23-13, 11:21 AM
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I keep a relatively high cadence to avoid knee problems and because I am recovering from an Achilles injury.
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Old 04-23-13, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Noodle on the flat: ~85
Noodle on climbs: ~65-70
Hammer on the flat: ~105
Hammer on climbs: ~85

But that's just me. The harder I work, the faster I spin.
Sounds about right except for hammering where subtract 10 and noodling subtract 5. I really don't like spinning fast while going slow. I usually finish a ride with average cadence of about 78.
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Old 04-23-13, 12:44 PM
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Sad to say there are those of us that , due to medical reasons, are clocking a moderate to slow cadence with one speed.

I don't mind really since I'm on a bike and still pedaling my ass all over town!
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Old 04-23-13, 12:54 PM
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Typically pedal 75-85 rpm
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Old 04-23-13, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
I keep a relatively high cadence to avoid knee problems and because I am recovering from an Achilles injury.
Good luck, Kobe.
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Old 04-23-13, 01:34 PM
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I can pedal fast (110-120) or mash (75 or so). But I find I'm most efficient around 85, especially if I want to ride at a brisk pace.
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Old 04-23-13, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by climberguy View Post
"Do You Ride A Low Or High Cadence?"

No, I don't--that is, I don't ride either one of those. My cadence averages around 80-90 rpm, very much in the mid-range.
I am probably at 90 rpms on the road bike and maybe alittle lower than that on the mountain bike. On climbs I try to spin; at least as long as I am able...I am actually trying to transition from a spinner on the mountain bike (bad habit I guess developed while road riding) because the higher cadence tends to interfere with technical riding. I do not ride the MTBike on the road or bike path, only on technical trails. I have several road bikes plus a commuter for road.

I used to have a computer that showed cadence. It helped me developed and improve from about 60 - 70 rpms (and pushing/mashing) to currently 90 rpms. I no longer use that computer, I can tell what level I am spinning...
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Old 04-23-13, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
...What cadence(s) do you ride? Why, and when?
Looking at all my rides from this past year, (2013), excluding the two bikes that do not have a cadence sensor, I've averaged between 61 to 66 for my rides of a distance between 15.2 miles to 100.1 miles, (I rode 59 on a 3.7 mile ride, but that was an attempt to re-gain my KOM on a short segment close to home). I guess that would make me a "masher". I've had my GPS on more that several occasions when climbing give me nasty warnings that my cadence is too low. Sometimes on a particularly steep climb, it will be in the 40s. (I'm not a very fast climber.)

Why? Because that's how I've always ridden. Been that way since my teen years and I'm now in my early 60s. I guess I've been lucky to never have had knee problems. I've tried to turn faster, but it is very uncomfortable for me, and takes the joy out of riding. Distance ridden doesn't seem to affect average cadence. From quick 15 milers to double-metric centuries...they all average in the low 60s.

When I was a member of a gym and rode the LifeCycle every time, it would want a cadence of 80 turns per minute. Even that seemed quick a lot of the time. At the end of the LifeCycle program, it would ask for 100 turns per minute. I could do that, but it was only for 1-2 minutes, depending on the time specified at the start of the programed ride.

I've tried spinning. Its just not for me.
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Old 04-23-13, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by volosong View Post
Looking at all my rides from this past year, (2013), excluding the two bikes that do not have a cadence sensor, I've averaged between 61 to 66 for my rides of a distance between 15.2 miles to 100.1 miles, (I rode 59 on a 3.7 mile ride, but that was an attempt to re-gain my KOM on a short segment close to home). I guess that would make me a "masher". I've had my GPS on more that several occasions when climbing give me nasty warnings that my cadence is too low. Sometimes on a particularly steep climb, it will be in the 40s. (I'm not a very fast climber.)

Why? Because that's how I've always ridden. Been that way since my teen years and I'm now in my early 60s. I guess I've been lucky to never have had knee problems. I've tried to turn faster, but it is very uncomfortable for me, and takes the joy out of riding. Distance ridden doesn't seem to affect average cadence. From quick 15 milers to double-metric centuries...they all average in the low 60s.

When I was a member of a gym and rode the LifeCycle every time, it would want a cadence of 80 turns per minute. Even that seemed quick a lot of the time. At the end of the LifeCycle program, it would ask for 100 turns per minute. I could do that, but it was only for 1-2 minutes, depending on the time specified at the start of the programed ride.

I've tried spinning. Its just not for me.
Wow. Now that is some serious mashing. Hearing that, I feel like a real spinner now.
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Old 04-23-13, 05:57 PM
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Usually above 85 RPMs but under 100. I listen to what my legs are telling me. If they begin to protest, I shift and spin higher. Used to routinely watch my cadence monitor. Now, I never do. Over time, you develop a pretty good internal cadence monitor.
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Old 04-23-13, 06:25 PM
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You usually have to clue in newbies to keep their cadence up and that it's a cardiovascular thing not a weight room thing. If they don't have a cadence meter then try a ride with fast people and they'll find out fast if they aren't pedaling fast enough. I say: "If you ain't doing it right, you won't be keeping up for long". I tell them a revolution and a half per second....90 rpm on flats.

Since I've never had a cadence meter I couldn't give you specifics but it's probably relatively fast as compared to other experienced riders.

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Old 04-23-13, 06:50 PM
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I used to spin.

Then I installed a cadence meter on my bike.

It tells me I mash. My cadence is very predictably 10-15 rpm slow than what I think I'm doing.
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Old 04-23-13, 07:17 PM
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I struggled for several years trying to increase cadence but find that averaging about 59rpm works best for me.
I got some easier gearing on my most recent bike thinking I could climb at a faster cadence. Mostly, I just climbed slower at the same cadence.
But I sure did like having the 53/11 instead of just a 53/12.
It's all very individual and yes, I am an outlier.
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Old 04-23-13, 07:33 PM
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I always rode what was comfortable. I pretty much guessed it was about 80-90, I got a Garmin last year with a cadence sensor, and it confirmed it.
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