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

Cadence

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Old 04-29-03, 03:04 PM
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aluckyfiji
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Cadence

I am a new road biker, who has just picked up road biking here in the last two and a half months, and I have a question to kind of see what the concenuses is on what a good cadence rate is(I don't know if "cadence is a noun and/or verb, so if I used it wrong, I am sorry). In mt. biking I would have called myself a "cranker" low rpm 50-60 in a high gear. Since I started riding road, I have continued this low cadence (abt. 60 rpm) and I am wanting to increase it. Everytime that I have increased for my ride (abt 80 rpm), I feel as though I get exhaultsed sooner then when I am "cranking" my ride. My questions are, what should I be pedalling at? What are some good training techniques?
(I am 5'6" 150lbs, riding flat roads in AL on a stock Felt 35R, 53/39F and 12-23 9speed rear. I don't know if any of that matters or not.)
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Old 04-29-03, 05:05 PM
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TriDevil
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Im a newbie too, 3months actualy road riding. Ive been paying more attention to my cadence lately. I found that I used to die out on my rides, even short ones. One day I calculated my cadence, count revs for 10 sec, multiply by 6 and was getting a number in the 70's. Since then Ive tried to keep my cadence high 90's, even low 100's. Ive found I can last longer. Ive heard its better to do many fast revs at easier gear than lower revs at harder gear. I dont know what a 'good' cadence is, probably another one of those semi-preference things.
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Old 04-29-03, 05:22 PM
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Spinning 80-100 rpm is not only good style, it does keep you fresher than hammering bigger gears at lower rpm. I'd suggest staying on the small chain ring and finding a gear that allows you to comfortably maintain your cadence. Only leave that gear (up or down) when the terrain gets hilly
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Old 04-30-03, 03:33 AM
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MichaelW
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Are you using clipless pedals/toe-clips. You can't pedal at high cadence without some pedal attachment system.
What size cranks are you using. People with small legs wont be able to pedal fast with long cranks. MTBs usually have longer cranks than an equiv sized road bike.
To train for increased cadence, you should be pedalling in an easy low gear. You are not trying to go fast, just to pedal fast. Once your muscle can move quickly, you will be able to ride faster.
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Old 04-30-03, 03:54 AM
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i maintain 90-100.

all you need is practice.. you might feel you bounce a little bit at first. but when you get the hang of it, it really feels very good.

what i did is keep use the 42 up front and just adjust the rear as terrain changes--for practice.

a tip from a friend suggested using the mtb. use the lowest gear possible and maintain 100-110rpm at a level surface.
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Old 04-30-03, 06:43 AM
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I am using clipless pedals, for both road and mt. bike. My crank arm is a carbon FSA, so I am guessing that it is 170mm.
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Old 04-30-03, 06:55 AM
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Richard Ballantine says in Richard's Bicycle Book, "It is better to pedal rapidly against relatively little resistance. Especially when first starting with a bike, always try to pedal as rapidly as you can without going into orbit."
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Old 04-30-03, 07:54 AM
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I agree that you have to practice at it. Gradually work your way up to a higher cadence and before long you'll be at your ideal cadence. I try and keep mine between 90 and 100.
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Old 04-30-03, 08:00 AM
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The higher cadence will spare your muscles for when you need them on difficult climbs. Grinding on easier terrain in a big gear will just make you get exhausted on the climbs when they come along.

Im typically spin between 85-100 rpms. I will do intervals in big gears at lower rpms to train for leg muscle power.
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Old 04-30-03, 08:13 AM
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Bicycling mag said 90-100 was the best cadence to be in.
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Old 04-30-03, 08:19 AM
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Hi - On foundation or endurance rides, I typically keep a 90-95 rpm cadence and try to stay within my aerobic zone...and it keeps my legs fresh for hills.

When training, I hit some 20 minute tempo intervals at a low cadence (70-75rpm), but push a much higher gear to get my heart rate beating around my lactate threshold. This tires my legs, but helps to build power and increase my aerobic capacity.

When I do group rides, I find the pace is usually much faster than my training rides...so I try to mix some tempo in with spinning the higher cadence. Taking into consideration the gear and cadence, I use my heart rate to tell me if i can push it more or need to back off for a bit.
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Old 04-30-03, 10:33 AM
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I started out spinning at around 100 rpm, then became a masher for a couple of years. Started spinning again this year, and it's much better for me. I'm not yet back to pushing 100 rpm all the time, but I'm usually in the low 90's. I can go much farther without hurting and I have more left for the climbs.

If you really want to get serious about your cadence and your form in general, hook up some rollers. I haven't taken that leap yet, but every year I claim that I will. You'll be silky smooth at 95 rpm in no time, as long as you don't kill yourself learning to ride them.
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