Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

spinning v. mashing

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Old 09-04-05, 01:27 PM
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Equinox
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spinning v. mashing

I'm new to cycling and I find that if I try to spin in an easier gear, my speed drops precipitously. Some people say that spinning at a higher rpm is more efficient with respect to energy conservation. I don't understand how that is supposed to work. I've heard LA is known for his spinning so there must be some truth to it. Could anyone clarify this concept for me and suggest how I might incorporated it into my cycling?
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Old 09-04-05, 01:36 PM
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Try spinning in the gear that you mash in.
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Old 09-04-05, 01:38 PM
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Spinning in the same gear as you mash in doesn't make any sense. When one is mashing they are spinning at as high an RPM as they can in that gear... it just happens to be around 70 rpm. Spin in a 1-2 gears lower to spin easier and raise to RPM by 10-20 rpm to see if it is any faster.
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Old 09-04-05, 01:40 PM
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rmwun54
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More muscle groups are incorporated in spinning than in mashing, thus endurance increase will take place in time as you develope.
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Old 09-04-05, 01:40 PM
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Spinning is not the magic bullet.

It is one technique that has been proven to be viable by a very influential current athlete. Yes, spinning is very good for many reasons, less stress on joints, takes advantage of your endurance over muscle strength, etc.

If Lance had decided not to come back from cancer(or quit after his first race back as he planned to), there is a very good chance that the current "mashingist"(my new word) racer in the peloton would be a multiple TdF champion. I doubt many people would be saying..if he only spun more he would be a better rider...
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Old 09-04-05, 01:41 PM
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The theory of spinning is that each pedal stroke takes far less effort then if you're pushing "too large" of a gear. Therefore, your energy reserves should be able to produce a lot more "easy" pedal strokes then "hard" pedal strokes, enabling you to ride longer.

There are two keys to spinning successfully though:
1) You need a smooottthhh pedal stroke, and that takes some time and committed practice to develop. If you are over-emphasizing the down-stroke portion of your pedal stroke, it's going to be hard to develop a fast spin, let alone realize any of the benefits of spinning.

2) You have to learn what the "right" gear is for you. i.e., there's more to spinning then just selecting an easy gear and pedalling a super-fast cadence. And you don't want to be in a hard gear straining either. Everybody's different as to what will feel "right" to them.
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Old 09-04-05, 01:44 PM
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It takes a while for you to train your body to do this. In the end, if you can't spin a big gear, you can't go fast. How to get better? Find a flat road, put your bike in about a 39 x 17, and maintain a cadence of about 85-95 rpm's. After a couple of weeks of this, keep your bike in the same gear and start working on raw legspeed...as fast as you can turn your cranks in a half mile wind-up to a sign up the road without bouncing in your saddle. If you're pedaling your legs in circles, you'll be able to do this at much higher rpms than if you're only pushing down on your pedals. As your legspeed increases to the point where you get close to the bouncing point, point your toes down a bit and move to the front of the saddle for that little extra.

A couple or three weeks of high rpm low gear base miles, you can gradually increase the size of the gear to work on power while maintaining the high cadence. After that, it's just time and miles on the bike and you're set. Good luck!
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Old 09-04-05, 02:11 PM
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I say mash as long, hard and fast as you can...even on the uphills.
You'll be smoking everyone before you know it.
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Old 09-04-05, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by viper5dn
Spinning in the same gear as you mash in doesn't make any sense. When one is mashing they are spinning at as high an RPM as they can in that gear... it just happens to be around 70 rpm. Spin in a 1-2 gears lower to spin easier and raise to RPM by 10-20 rpm to see if it is any faster.
It was a joke.
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Old 09-04-05, 03:08 PM
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Trouble is when you're riding with really fast folks who can spin a 53 x 13 faster than you can grind an 11, well, you get dropped.
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Old 09-04-05, 03:56 PM
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how can i find out what these gear numbers mean? ie. 53 X 13? I have a DA 10 speed.
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Old 09-04-05, 03:57 PM
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How do I know what I've got?
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Old 09-04-05, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Equinox
How do I know what I've got?
start counting the teeth. And I didnt know that Dura ace was a single item.
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Old 09-04-05, 04:12 PM
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re: dura ace: I'm so ignorant I don't know what you are talking about.
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Old 09-04-05, 04:16 PM
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You said "DA" which to this crowd means Dura Ace - a very high grade drivetrain.

What you need to do is to either explain what type of drive train you have (at the pedal crank, are there one two or three 'sprockets'?) or start counting the teeth front and rear. What did you mean by DA?

Also the 50+ group on this board seems to have more patience for newbies than this group. Folks who aren't even close to 50 hang out there for that reason.
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Old 09-04-05, 04:20 PM
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I have a Dura Ace drive train with two chain rings and a 10 speed rear cassette.
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Old 09-04-05, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by slide
You said "DA" which to this crowd means Dura Ace - a very high grade drivetrain.

What you need to do is to either explain what type of drive train you have (at the pedal crank, are there one two or three 'sprockets'?) or start counting the teeth front and rear. What did you mean by DA?

Also the 50+ group on this board seems to have more patience for newbies than this group. Folks who aren't even close to 50 hang out there for that reason.
well, what can I say?

Its all good, we were all newbs at one time or another.
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Old 09-04-05, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Equinox
I have a Dura Ace drive train with two chain rings and a 10 speed rear cassette.
Good setup (to say the least!). OK, now you need to count the teeth on the front sprocket (chain ring) and the rear. If you visit Sheldon's site you can count the smallest and biggest on the rear and derive your ratios that way.

When folks say stuff like 53:17 they mean that your chain is on the 53 tooth front sprocket and the 17 tooth rear one. The larger the front sprocket the 'harder' the mash. The larger the rear, the easier the mash. Also you need to run ratios to compare close pairs.

A typical front set will be 53 and 39. You may be able to see numbers stamped on the chainrings, but you'll need to start counting on the rear set.
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Old 09-04-05, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by hi565
well, what can I say?

Its all good, we were all newbs at one time or another.
I'm not a vet by any means, but when I was 100% raw, my newbie queries were rebuffed here. I went to the 50+ forum where I got answers and courtesy.
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Old 09-04-05, 05:14 PM
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screw that
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Old 09-04-05, 05:44 PM
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I'm kind-of a newbie myself but have found that a combination of spinning and mashing has vastly improved my over-all performance. When I started cycling about a year ago I was 131 lbs standing almost 6' tall. Spinning was easier for me to maintain speeds and it seemed like I held a higher ave speed but as I got farther along and rode with some faster riders I knew I would need to improve my strength. I began to do intervals mashing it up the hills then spinning as smooth as possible down the hill. Now I'm weighing in at 147 lbs and yesterday I did 45 miles at 19.5 mph ave solo with no stops. Maybe you should just give both a try and see which works best for you.
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Old 09-04-05, 05:50 PM
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I still consider myself a newbie because I'm usually too embarrassed to ask mechanical questions. So I just lurk around and try to figure things out for myself. I notice that spinning does allow me to ride farther. To get your speed up, (this is what I do) hunch down and see if you can literally push the pedals harder in a lower gear. Be careful though cuz I found out the hard way that if you're on too low a gear and you try to push really hard to spin, your feet are gonna fly off your pedals unless they're strapped on.
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Old 09-04-05, 07:20 PM
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The amazing thing is if you ever have the opportunity to ride behind a strong pro rider and watch them "spinning" their 53 x 14 or 13.... It's kind of a misnomer. You have to have power, a jillion miles in your legs, to do this an make it look effortless. Good genetics help alot as well!
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Old 09-04-05, 07:44 PM
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I've found that doing some work at the gym on a trainer equiped with a cadence and watts readout really helps out. You can set the resistance to a certain level and then bounce back and forth between cadence and watts to see how fast you are spinning, along with how much power you are putting down. Its helped my average quiet a bit. After awhile you know what a certain cadence and power output feels like and learn to stick to a challenging but maintainable level.
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Old 09-04-05, 08:00 PM
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i mean, im not very experienced, but im my limited experience atleast for myself, i find that im more comfortable carrying a higher gear at a lower rpm ( i try to stay in 75-85 range) but if i drop two gears and spin at like 95-105 im still not going as fast and by no means am i saving energy, my heart rate goes sky high. so im faster, and more relaxed in a higher gear. but from what ive seen, its based on different leg muscle builds. i have very very strong quads and im a bigger guy, so im more comfortable with a heavier gear and slower rpms. but hey im still more or less a noob.
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