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Mash or Spin?

Old 05-06-21, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
Wow, that was a bit harsh. Especially considering my post merely referred to post counts/join dates… public information shown next to everyone’s name in each post. Oh well, at least we’ll always have our thread. You know, the one where you decided I was the problem but the moderator requested you curtail posting and leave the thread!

It’s been a while since I’ve noticed you posting. If you've just returned from a period of not posting much welcome back. I still do enjoy reading many of your thoughts. Mash On!
And, funnily enough, no one's posted on that thread since December. Given the subject matter of the thread, somewhat ironic.

Not sure how much passive aggressive you can put into that few posts, but you seem to be going for a record Then you change your tone completely at the end. I'm going to run with the end part,

Yes, I was sick for a while. I'll take the kind words at the end of your post as a much-appreciated olive branch and declare hatchet buried.

I'd appreciate it, however, if you in the future refrain from straw man "paraphrases" of my postings. The reason I put you on ignore was I was getting rather sick of you putting stupid words into my mouth that I then have to take the time to correct. It's a really dishonest rhetorical technique, and you do it a lot.
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Old 05-06-21, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by aclinjury
back in the day, Jan Ulrich was always known as a masher, but he still "mashed" at 85 rpm up Alp d'Huez (and we all know Lance prefer his 100 rpm, lol).

Mashing at LOW POWER is not something to worry about. But try mashing at HIGH POWER, it will be a different story on your knees and back.
Nobody can mash at high power over a sustained period. Standing on the pedals on an uphill and letting your body weight do the pedalling.. is not mashing, you're just doing zone 2-3 at best, hardly a high power output effort. Now if you say you stand and mash at 60 - 70 rpm while climbing... at threshold power... then count me as impressed.
tell that to the power meter on my trainer. i don't have one for the bike, my FTP is a sad 220, good enough for me though. when i stand and mash on simulated climbs i can routinely reach 300+ and have recorded as high as 500 (short burst times...10 seconds or so, had to get that jelly leg badge). granted i don't only let my body weight do the work but this certainly is not a zone 2-3 effort. i am a low cadence guy during these efforts, sub 60 and lcoser to 50.
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Old 05-06-21, 06:30 PM
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I've got an internally geared hub, so ratios are fixed. I've often thought of getting a Rohloff so the climb would be easier.
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Old 05-06-21, 06:58 PM
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Here’s a second take on the use of the full range of cadences for fun and profit.

https://cinchcycling.cc/blogs/news/h...nce-in-cycling

Otto
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Old 05-06-21, 06:59 PM
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My knees are shot. Mashing seems to stress them. Spinning doesn't.
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Old 05-07-21, 07:02 AM
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To get more technical about it versus my earlier post........it's nature combined with nurture.

People always look at this topic with the bike in the way blinding our thoughts.

Humans started out running, like forever before bikes existed. Notice how running pace and running cadence kind of follows bike demand and cadences......interesting ehhhh.

Divide run cadences by two:
-jog or novice runner, Z1 spin with the kids: 120 spm, bike 60rpm
-5k pace or am runner, Z4 threshold effort: 180 spm, bike 90rpm or so
-all out sprint run or bike: over 180spm, bike track sprinters are WAY up there

You're probably worn with a certain tendency to have a certain running gait and cadence, then can develop that as you grow or use it. Same for the bike, but the bike will be a bit predetermined to an extend by your human running.

Just a thought....chicken and egg kind of.
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Old 05-07-21, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
And, funnily enough, no one's posted on that thread since December. Given the subject matter of the thread, somewhat ironic.

Not sure how much passive aggressive you can put into that few posts, but you seem to be going for a record Then you change your tone completely at the end. I'm going to run with the end part,

Yes, I was sick for a while. I'll take the kind words at the end of your post as a much-appreciated olive branch and declare hatchet buried.

I'd appreciate it, however, if you in the future refrain from straw man "paraphrases" of my postings. The reason I put you on ignore was I was getting rather sick of you putting stupid words into my mouth that I then have to take the time to correct. It's a really dishonest rhetorical technique, and you do it a lot.
Ok, LDL. I’ll refrain from critiquing your posting style here and continue with the olive branch / hatchet thing. I’m sincerely happy that you’re feeling better and back on board.
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Old 05-08-21, 12:40 PM
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Interesting thread. At almost age 59, my body seems to be generally holding up ok, but my knees are a bit noisy and sometimes a little unhappy, and I suspect that they get that way after rides where I may have mashed a little too enthusiastically. I'm generally a spinner, but sometimes mashing feels so good (at the time!).

I've recently discovered a Youtube channel called "The Legs Over Toe Guy". Looks like it could be very useful. When I have a bit more time I'm going to check out his stuff properly. Anything to learn more about increasing the life of my knees and making them more efficient.
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Old 05-10-21, 12:30 PM
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Be careful.

I had developed a consistent rpm spin in same gear, same flat 20 mile route for years. One day I changed to highest gear and mashed the route and crippled my knee for a year and had to stay off the bike. Why? Because the crank arm was bent after a woman stepped out in front of me, I swerved to miss her and hit my pedal on a parking bumper and went over the handlebars. I unknowingly spun for years with the very slightly bent crank arm but I learned it was bent when I mashed that one time. And still have to be careful with that knee.
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Old 05-10-21, 12:42 PM
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Pardon my ignorance, but when we talk about “mashing”, we aren’t talking about riding in the saddle are we? Everybody stands up, right?

When standing up to accelerate or climb, I definitely want a lower cadence which means shifting to a higher gear. In the saddle, a gear that feels too high has always made me feel like I’m going slower.

Nowadays I do most of my miles on a BMX racing bike (saddle not much higher than the top of the cranks’ rotation), so all pedaling is out of the saddle. Roughly 54 gear-inches. My top speed (according to Strava) isn’t very fast, but it does work out to a cadence around 165 rpm. I could go up a tooth in front but I figure it would be better to get that cadence up to 170.
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Old 05-10-21, 01:09 PM
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I’ve always shifted to maintain cadence.
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Old 05-10-21, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by buegelfrei
Pardon my ignorance, but when we talk about “mashing”, we aren’t talking about riding in the saddle are we? Everybody stands up, right?
.
Not exactly; It’s more about cadence / effort on ‘flat’ roads or long, shallow climbs: ‘Mashing’ is pushing a bigger gear, at a lower rpm, and higher peak effort; ‘Spinning’ is the opposite, a lower gear, and higher rpm, typically lower peak effort but higher cardiovascular intensity.

You tend to see ‘mashing’ with newer riders, and larger stronger/more muscular riders, especially if they’re coming from another sport. (I’m an ex-rower, so low rpm , high effort is my default setting)

Depending on what you’re doing, either technique is valid, especially if you’re riding a single speed, or a vintage bike with a limited choice of gearing. However, if you’re doing long rides in varied terrain, then ‘spinning’ a lower gear at a higher cadence may feel ‘slower’ you’ll be able to sustain it for a longer time. (Could make a big difference on a 100-mile ride)

if you’re to the point where you’re out of the saddle, you’re headed for max effort, regardless of what your preferred technique is.
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Old 05-11-21, 12:35 AM
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My LBS guy taught me to keep a good cadence to avoid knee problems, so I try to keep cadence around 80~90.
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Old 05-11-21, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
My default is to mash a high gear, and spin a lower one for hills and headwinds. I do tend to use a higher gear than most for hills, and do a lot of standing.

Lots of threads about this--people need to use whatever works best for them and ignore people who try to prescribe the superior method based on what works for them. Legs and cardiovascular systems are not standard issue, so different styles suit different people.

And there really is no evidence other than anecdote (not scientific) that mashing is bad for the knees, but expect a bunch of posts that will state that as fact. It appears to be an article of faith amongst trainers, but I've never had anyone successfully produce a study of any kind that indicates that this is so.
I am marginally close to 60 and ride a fixed gear each day to work. I think my bike is around 70 gear inches. My trip now is around 20 minutes in variable terrain but I commuted for about 6 years with a hour long ride (still fixed gear). I don't have any problems with my knees.

I mash and hold to the HTFU rule of cycling.
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Old 05-11-21, 08:03 AM
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Learned how in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Everyone rode the same then. If the club ride had visitors from Belgrade or Barcelona or Buenos Aires everyone was on the same program. First 20 or 30 minutes would be spin. With conversation. Everyone on same program with no square pegs made it easy to spin along at 110-120rpm. Everyone on same program made the conversation easier too. The pedal speed fostered smoothness and group solidarity.

AFAIK this exists nowhere at present. Last club I knew of that did this was in 80s and it required a rule and a bit of enforcement. Which was unfortunate. We did send three to the pros in three years.

Almost no one does an entire ride averaging above 100rpm. But if you don’t even have the capacity to spin along at 110rpm you are missing out.

Discussion always deformed from the start because so few even know what a high smooth stressless spin feels like. Everyone knows what a mash is.
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Old 05-11-21, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by 63rickert
Learned how in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Everyone rode the same then. If the club ride had visitors from Belgrade or Barcelona or Buenos Aires everyone was on the same program. First 20 or 30 minutes would be spin. With conversation. Everyone on same program with no square pegs made it easy to spin along at 110-120rpm. Everyone on same program made the conversation easier too. The pedal speed fostered smoothness and group solidarity.

AFAIK this exists nowhere at present. Last club I knew of that did this was in 80s and it required a rule and a bit of enforcement. Which was unfortunate. We did send three to the pros in three years.

Almost no one does an entire ride averaging above 100rpm. But if you don’t even have the capacity to spin along at 110rpm you are missing out.

Discussion always deformed from the start because so few even know what a high smooth stressless spin feels like. Everyone knows what a mash is.

If this works so well, why is nobody doing it anymore?

Honest question.
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Old 05-11-21, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak
Well I'll be that guy, LOL! I have bad knees but can ride no problems. By bad knees I mean lot and lots of meniscus damage with replacements coming in the next couple of years. I normally spin but am a masher for mountain climbs. As my knees have gotten worse I've had to stay completely out of the mountains. I can still ride my usually 25+ daily rides as long as I don't mash. If I do my knees will swell and become so painful I can't hardly walk. So yeah, put me in the camp of mashing is bad for you. I'd bet even if you do "get away with it" and feel no effects currently it will effect you as you age. Just my two cents....

I had knee problems in my 20s but I am 63 now and have NO knee or any other joint problems!
Why? YOGA! I have played basketball tennis biking running etc. for years and I am in better
shape then ever! DO YOGA! As for mashing move your seat UP ONE INCH and tip your seat
forward as far as it will and PUT MORE WEIGHT on your peddles! You will get FREE SPEED!
Siting on your ass and spinning is not good use of your weight!
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Old 05-11-21, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by hotman637
I had knee problems in my 20s but I am 63 now and have NO knee or any other joint problems!
Why? YOGA! I have played basketball tennis biking running etc. for years and I am in better
shape then ever! DO YOGA! As for mashing move your seat UP ONE INCH and tip your seat
forward as far as it will and PUT MORE WEIGHT on your peddles! You will get FREE SPEED!
Siting on your ass and spinning is not good use of your weight!
No offense and yeah for Yoga. But the rest of your "advice" is a recipe for disaster.....
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Old 05-11-21, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak
No offense and yeah for Yoga. But the rest of your "advice" is a recipe for disaster.....

Have you ever tried it? So many people say it does not work but the ones who DO IT say it is great! It is like green eggs and ham!
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Old 05-11-21, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
If this works so well, why is nobody doing it anymore?

Honest question.
Food for thought...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cyc...-froome-191779

Also, IME, ride single speed and cadence will be your servant, not your master... geared bike or no.

Low, medium and high cadences all have their uses throughout a ride 👍

Otto

Last edited by ofajen; 05-11-21 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 05-11-21, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ofajen
Food for thought...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cyc...-froome-191779

Also, IME, ride single speed and cadence will be your servant, not your master... geared bike or no. 👍

Otto

I grew up riding single speed and three speeds, which I generally kept in high gear most of the time, so yeah that's basically still my approach even with 20 gears.
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Old 05-11-21, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by hotman637
Have you ever tried it? So many people say it does not work but the ones who DO IT say it is great! It is like green eggs and ham!
Yoga is stupid---a friend of mine has been a yoga instructor for decades and yet still manages to injure himself a couple of times a year. It's stupid, that is, unless you want to pick up women.

Me, I stretch when I yawn. Otherwise, I get all the stretching I need riding bikes with clip-on aero bars.

As for mashing versus spinning, mashing is fine if you're content to be a mediocre cyclist. I agree with Eddy Merckx on this topic. Someone once asked him, "To be a good cyclist, which should I do: spin small gears or push big gears?" Merckx replied, "Spin big gears."
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Old 05-11-21, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
Yoga is stupid---a friend of mine has been a yoga instructor for decades and yet still manages to injure himself a couple of times a year. It's stupid, that is, unless you want to pick up women.

Me, I stretch when I yawn. Otherwise, I get all the stretching I need riding bikes with clip-on aero bars.

As for mashing versus spinning, mashing is fine if you're content to be a mediocre cyclist. I agree with Eddy Merckx on this topic. Someone once asked him, "To be a good cyclist, which should I do: spin small gears or push big gears?" Merckx replied, "Spin big gears."

You understand that the joke was he was about the only person who could actually do that, right? I could use that quote to say that spinners are also mediocre cyclists.
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Old 05-11-21, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653
Not exactly; It’s more about cadence / effort on ‘flat’ roads or long, shallow climbs: ‘Mashing’ is pushing a bigger gear, at a lower rpm, and higher peak effort; ‘Spinning’ is the opposite, a lower gear, and higher rpm, typically lower peak effort but higher cardiovascular intensity.

You tend to see ‘mashing’ with newer riders, and larger stronger/more muscular riders, especially if they’re coming from another sport. (I’m an ex-rower, so low rpm , high effort is my default setting)

Depending on what you’re doing, either technique is valid, especially if you’re riding a single speed, or a vintage bike with a limited choice of gearing. However, if you’re doing long rides in varied terrain, then ‘spinning’ a lower gear at a higher cadence may feel ‘slower’ you’ll be able to sustain it for a longer time. (Could make a big difference on a 100-mile ride)

if you’re to the point where you’re out of the saddle, you’re headed for max effort, regardless of what your preferred technique is.
hmmm, learn something new every day. in reading lots of stuff on BF i had always associated mashing with standing. my thought process was that it reminded me of making mashed potatoes. i still use a fully manual operated potato masher. i still do both but probably more mashing with occasional out of saddle efforts.
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Old 05-11-21, 08:46 PM
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I ride a single speed. The terrain determines if I'm mashing or spinning.

For some reason, I always seem to be in the wrong gear . . .
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