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Cadence, who needs it?

Old 01-25-23, 11:55 AM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
Right. But that's a somewhat different calculation when on a multi-gear bike. I think everyone has to calculate this zone for themselves based on experience and knowledge of their own physical characteristics and how or what they ride.

I think for me the calculation is that I more than make up for the increased aerobic demand of the increased force (if that indeed happens) by the decreased demand caused by the decrease in RPMs. I think this is varying a lot from person to person.
In my experience, there is a definite tipping-point where the decreased frequency no longer compensates for the increased force, for aerobic demand. I completely agree that this varies from person to person. It also varies with training.

I found a "brute force" kind of fitness from riding a singlespeed where my endurance for pushing low-rpms improved. I took a break from riding the SS for a while, and my only MTB rides were on my geared bike. My aerobic fitness was improving (based on PR times on a climb I do regularly), but when I got back on my SS, I couldn't maintain pushing the big gear the way I had before, and my climb time was slower than the last time I had ridden the SS, even though I was in better aerobic condition.
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Old 01-25-23, 12:01 PM
  #127  
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I'm late to the party, and not gonna read 5 pages worth of posts ... yep, I'm lazy.

I never watch cadence while I ride (expect on Zwift, it's just on their dashboard). BUT when I'm the captain on our tandem this Toad is a spinner and Frau Toad is a masher, so I keep cadence on my Garmin tandem profile ... it keeps the stoker happier.
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Old 01-25-23, 12:07 PM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by Eric F
In my experience, there is a definite tipping-point where the decreased frequency no longer compensates for the increased force, for aerobic demand. I completely agree that this varies from person to person. It also varies with training.

I found a "brute force" kind of fitness from riding a singlespeed where my endurance for pushing low-rpms improved. I took a break from riding the SS for a while, and my only MTB rides were on my geared bike. My aerobic fitness was improving (based on PR times on a climb I do regularly), but when I got back on my SS, I couldn't maintain pushing the big gear the way I had before, and my climb time was slower than the last time I had ridden the SS, even though I was in better aerobic condition.
This is also going to vary with age, I would think.
I had some lung damage a couple years ago that has definitely taken a little bit out of my aerobic abilities. I'm consciously mixing up my cadences a little more to try to "retrain" around the newly imposed limitation, but if anything, it's even more clear that high torque/low cadence is my optimal strategy.

Where I really want to lower the torque, though, is in the heat.

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Old 01-25-23, 12:22 PM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
This is also going to vary with ge, I would think.
I had some lung damage a couple years ago that has definitely taken a little bit out of my aerobic abilities. I'm consciously mixing up my cadences a little more to try to "retrain" around the newly imposed limitation, but if anything, it's even more clear that high torque/low cadence is my optimal strategy.

Where I really want to lower the torque, though, is in the heat.
Finding what works best for you makes sense. I was just sharing some of my experiences with the low-rpm game. Even on the road bike, I tend to mix in some low-rpm work because I like the way my body responds to that kind of training, and how it benefits my ability to generate power in my comfort zone.
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Old 01-25-23, 02:50 PM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions
I don't know why you need to go out of your way to post your disapproval of my cadence, etc. in just about every thread you can. I thought you were going to put me "back" on your ignore list.

This is a thread in General Cycling, not a racing subforum, and the OP did not mention competition. Why is it I'm supposed to be looking for racing advice before I have anything to say on the subject?

Your MO is to post some sort of "correction" to my postings then to accuse me of being argumentative when I point out your "corrections" are a load of crap based on some silly assumption you made up about what the purpose of cycling is or whatever.

If you don't think I am worthy of discussing this with you, stop responding to my posts, otherwise, you're just being a hypocrite who can't stand not getting the last word.


You do understand that "highly competitive cyclists" have several genetic advantages that I and you don't, so it's pretty unlikely that my calculations of my own optimal practices would be influenced by their very different considerations. They're also 35-40 years younger than I am.
Where have I told you that I disapprove of your low cadence? All Iíve actually said is that I think it has little relevance to the OPs question. I canít imagine the OP is up for trying your method, but I could be wrong.
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Old 01-25-23, 03:00 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I find it very difficult to discuss cadence with someone who has a very strong preference to ride on the flat in a 53/11 gear at sub 50 rpm as if that’s an “efficient” strategy.
Originally Posted by PeteHski
Where have I told you that I disapprove of your low cadence? All I’ve actually said is that I think it has little relevance to the OPs question..
You lie very badly.

Go ahead, get the last word in. I'm not reading you any more.
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Old 01-25-23, 05:30 PM
  #132  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I don't know why you feel the need to self-justify your personal choice of cadence when you are a non-competitive cyclist..
How many people who post in General Forum are competitive cyclists ?..I am not talking about imaginary races, I am not talking about people who chase numbers. I am talking people who actually participate in racing.
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Old 01-25-23, 05:39 PM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
How many people who post in General Forum are competitive cyclists ?..I am not talking about imaginary races, I am not talking about people who chase numbers. I am talking people who actually participate in racing.
Why does it matter?
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Old 01-25-23, 05:46 PM
  #134  
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Why does it matter?
It matters because cadence is more relevant to people who are competitive than those who just ride for fun, fitness and recreation.
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Old 01-25-23, 05:49 PM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
It matters because cadence is more relevant to people who are competitive than those who just ride for fun, fitness and recreation.
I'm always intrigued when someone opines on what should matter to whom.
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Old 01-25-23, 05:58 PM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
It matters because cadence is more relevant to people who are competitive than those who just ride for fun, fitness and recreation.
Is racing the only justification for someone trying to improve/maximize their performance?
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Old 01-25-23, 07:10 PM
  #137  
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Originally Posted by asgelle
Sadly, effective communication is difficult when everyone has their own peculiar definition of words. We're talking exercise physiology, not manufacturing.
That was a quote from a exercise physiology site and not manufacturing. Here is a manufacturing definition: something is efficient if nothing is wasted and all processes are optimized. This includes the use of money, human capital, production equipment, and energy sources.

But since you apparently have an overriding need to be right - you are so right. I will not waste any more time on you. Go argue with someone who finds it sport since I don’t.
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Old 01-25-23, 07:19 PM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by rsbob
That was a quote from a exercise physiology site and not manufacturing.
It's not nice to claim other people's work as your own.
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Old 01-25-23, 07:30 PM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Is racing the only justification for someone trying to improve/maximize their performance?
Apparently so according to some. Maybe they havenít considered that many people ride to achieve personal performance goals rather than directly race others. For example my thing (as far as road riding goes) is timed Sportives. They are not races, but they are chip timed with medals for specific time goals. Many club group rides are also based on speed, so you may wish to improve in order to join a faster group.

The problem I find with BF is that it appears to be dominated by men of a certain age who turn their noses up at anyone who dares to discuss performance or modern tech. It seems to have got worse over the last year too. Maybe time to check out and look elsewhere for less cynical bike chat.
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Old 01-25-23, 07:31 PM
  #140  
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Originally Posted by asgelle
It's not nice to claim other people's work as your own.
Was not claiming any such thing. Itís a commonly accepted definition.

Congratulations on making it the Ignore List. Life will be more pleasant without seeing your posts.
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Old 01-25-23, 07:39 PM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by rsbob
Was not claiming any such thing. Itís a commonly accepted definition.
Well since you posted without attribution or even quotation marks, the implication that you composed it was clear.
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Old 01-25-23, 07:44 PM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by Eric F
In my experience, there is a definite tipping-point where the decreased frequency no longer compensates for the increased force, for aerobic demand. I completely agree that this varies from person to person. It also varies with training.

I found a "brute force" kind of fitness from riding a singlespeed where my endurance for pushing low-rpms improved. I took a break from riding the SS for a while, and my only MTB rides were on my geared bike. My aerobic fitness was improving (based on PR times on a climb I do regularly), but when I got back on my SS, I couldn't maintain pushing the big gear the way I had before, and my climb time was slower than the last time I had ridden the SS, even though I was in better aerobic condition.
So in effect you tend to get better at whatever you train or ride.

I do both low and high cadence workouts and both ultimately push me into the red. The low tipping point for me with cadence is around 60 rpm. If I go below that at high power I soon start suffering aerobically. At the high end itís around 100 rpm. From an aerobic point of view Iím most comfortable at 80-90 rpm.
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Old 01-25-23, 07:53 PM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by asgelle
Well since you posted without attribution or even quotation marks, the implication that you composed it was clear.

Your gotchas are getting lamer and lamer.

You face-planted, give it up.
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Old 01-25-23, 10:09 PM
  #144  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Apparently so according to some. Maybe they havenít considered that many people ride to achieve personal performance goals rather than directly race others. For example my thing (as far as road riding goes) is timed Sportives. They are not races, but they are chip timed with medals for specific time goals. Many club group rides are also based on speed, so you may wish to improve in order to join a faster group.

The problem I find with BF is that it appears to be dominated by men of a certain age who turn their noses up at anyone who dares to discuss performance or modern tech. It seems to have got worse over the last year too. Maybe time to check out and look elsewhere for less cynical bike chat.
I hung up my racing wheels in 2004, and was off the bike for 15 years. Back at it for 3 years, my habit of having some sort of training intent for most of my rides still exists. I have worked at doing the things that make me faster and stronger on the bike because the feeling of being strong and going fast is part of what I love about it, and I am not averse to doing the work it takes to get better. Doing it on a high-performance lightweight bike is part of the experience for me, as well. Iím targeting doing a big gravel event in April that will be a significant stretch of my abilities, and my only goal is to finish. I will train as intelligently as I can, with the limited time I have available, and will optimize my bike for the event as much as I am able. Maybe that qualifies me as a ďcompetitorĒ. However, Iíve been working on improving my fitness since well before a I decided to do this event, and upgrading bike parts is part of the fun of the game.
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Old 01-26-23, 03:45 AM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by Eric F
I hung up my racing wheels in 2004, and was off the bike for 15 years. Back at it for 3 years, my habit of having some sort of training intent for most of my rides still exists. I have worked at doing the things that make me faster and stronger on the bike because the feeling of being strong and going fast is part of what I love about it, and I am not averse to doing the work it takes to get better. Doing it on a high-performance lightweight bike is part of the experience for me, as well. Iím targeting doing a big gravel event in April that will be a significant stretch of my abilities, and my only goal is to finish. I will train as intelligently as I can, with the limited time I have available, and will optimize my bike for the event as much as I am able. Maybe that qualifies me as a ďcompetitorĒ. However, Iíve been working on improving my fitness since well before a I decided to do this event, and upgrading bike parts is part of the fun of the game.
Hey Wolfchild!! Does that qualify him to discuss cadence then? Just need to be sure you are okay with it.
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Old 01-26-23, 06:30 AM
  #146  
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Finding what works best for you makes sense. I was just sharing some of my experiences with the low-rpm game. Even on the road bike, I tend to mix in some low-rpm work because I like the way my body responds to that kind of training, and how it benefits my ability to generate power in my comfort zone.
I appreciate your sharing your experience. All the nonsense about who is or isn't qualified to post on a thread like this in GC misses the whole point of GC--getting the perspectives of people who do all kinds of bicycling. Your perspective is very interesting to me because you've done a lot of different kinds of riding.

The biggest problem I see with GC is people who insist on saying some version of "I do X, therefore anyone who does Y is a fake or a fool.". The second biggest problem is people who just assume saying " I do Y" is an attack on people who do X.

It'd be interesting to compare this thread to cadence threads of a few years ago. I've only been here since 2018, but my memory of those is there used to be a bunch of people who would post that everyone should maintain a cadence of100 rpm, all gearing choices should be made around preserving that cadence under all circumstances, and anyone who didn't ride that way was wrong. I like this compare our differences approach a whole lot more.

Just to be open about it, to the extent that I have an agenda, it's to remind people that the motor on our chosen vehicle is not standard issue, so general rules are really hard to come by. There's too many "experts" and precious little expertise. "This works for me" is great, "what you've doing is wrong" is usually stupid.

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Old 01-26-23, 07:32 AM
  #147  
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In case you didnít read the article I linked earlier, the author encouraged riders to not fall into the common habit of thinking that a single cadence is best, but to regard all cadences as useful to all riders but not in all situations.

His guidance on how to think of the situations and connect them with appropriate cadences follows:

ĒI. High cadence and high power to accelerate in an attack, close the gap, or raise speed up.

Climbing, Standing - 80 rpm

Climbing, Seated - 90 rpm

Flats, Standing - 85 rpm

Flats, Seated - 100 rpm

II. High cadence and low power to keep legs stimulated when speed (fast downhill) or scenario (high-speed peloton).

Downhill, Seated - 90 rpm

Flats, Seated - 80 rpm

III. Low cadence and high power to control effort on difficult terrains like steep hills or rough roads.

Climbing, Standing - 50 rpm

Climbing, Seated - 65 rpm

Flats, Standing - 70 rpm

Flats, Seated - 60 rpm

IV. Low cadence and low power to maintain the speed you have built following an acceleration by you or another rider, a change in terrain giving you speed, or a change in conditions like a tailwind.

Climbing, Standing - 60 rpm

Climbing, Seated - 70 rpm

Flats, Standing - 65 rpm

Flats, Seated - 75 rpmĒ

YMMV, but I found that made sense for my riding.

Otto
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Old 01-26-23, 07:51 AM
  #148  
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Originally Posted by ofajen
In case you didnít read the article I linked earlier, the author encouraged riders to not fall into the common habit of thinking that a single cadence is best, but to regard all cadences as useful to all riders but not in all situations.

His guidance on how to think of the situations and connect them with appropriate cadences follows:

YMMV, but I found that made sense for my riding.

Otto
I was going to say something similar, but I think this sums it up well. Obviously, your individual cadence may vary in those scenarios, but those numbers are close for me. I did a Zwift race the other day that pretty much covered the whole cadence spectrum! Overall average (including coasting) was 86 rpm, max 128 rpm and min 60 rpm. There was pretty much no steady-state riding. My cadence in a flat TT would have looked completely different.
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Old 01-26-23, 08:19 AM
  #149  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
It matters because cadence is more relevant to people who are competitive than those who just ride for fun, fitness and recreation.

That would depend on the fitness program, wouldn't it? You're not really saying that faster cadence doesn't provide a more intense cardio workout are you? Because that would just be dumb.

And if someone finds spinning fast more fun, who the hell are we to determine whether that's right? What the hell does "relevant" even mean if you're talking about fun?
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Old 01-26-23, 08:47 AM
  #150  
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What might be instructive for some here would be to analyse the power files of tour racers. They are not always at 90-110 rpm. Look specially when the peloton is not strung out, those in the pack tend to have lower cadences and low power (for them). Just because Pros tend to spin doesn't mean it makes sense for all of us all of the time. Case in point, the 24H world record is about 640 miles or 27 mph moving. The fellow did about 280 watts with a cadence of 78. I reckon he knows his cadence.

The appropriate cadence for any rider depends on many factors, most of which are physiological.

For my needs, efficiency and fatigue drive my cadence decisions. Higher contractile forces engage fast twitch fibers. These motor units fatigue quicker but they also use less O2 compared to the slower twitch fat burning units. At lower cadence, the inertia of fat legs is less. My preferred cadence varies greatly depending on power output and also on crank length. I've churned 200mm and spun 150mm over the years.

Professionals are a bit different than most of us here, certainly me. They have to spare glycogen for the finish or key moves and for tomorrow's race. Higher cadence (it is really a peak torque thing) engages more ST and generally using beta oxidation (fat) relatively sparing glycogen compared to a lower cadence/higher farce combination although the higher cadence requires more O2 due to higher cost to oxidize fatty acids and then there is the problem of my fat legs going faster. And the Pros make a lot more power.

Just buy a near-infrared spectroscopy device like a Moxy, lactate meter, HRM, and PM. It isn't hard to figure out.
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