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Cadence

DAG on a bikeDAG on a bike Posts: 581
There's plenty of advice about cadence and much of it seems to suggest 80-100 rpm is the ideal (?)

I find that I am stuck at about 60-80 rpm and struggle to maintain a higher rate.

Is there a way to improve this? Is there really a benefit to doing so?

Hints, tips and advice all welcome.
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  • I increased my cadence by limiting myself to the small cog. That way you have to have a high cadence to go at any speed.
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Don't concentrate on cadence.

    You'll find that as you increase your fitness you'll naturally increase your cadence.
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  • Your cadence will depend on the size of your wheels. If you're bike has small wheels (e.g. 20") your cadence will be naturally high. However, if your bike has larger 700c wheels then your cadence will be considerably lower.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    The best advice about cadence is not to listen to anyone else's advice about cadence. There is so much bs said about it. We've had at least one gem already and I'm sure there will be more. I wait with interest. :lol:
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Your cadence will depend on the size of your wheels. If you're bike has small wheels (e.g. 20") your cadence will be naturally high. However, if your bike has larger 700c wheels then your cadence will be considerably lower.

    Cadence has nothing to do with wheel size. It's determined by power and gear ratio.
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  • chrisw12 wrote:
    The best advice about cadence is not to listen to anyone else's advice about cadence. There is so much bs said about it. We've had at least one gem already and I'm sure there will be more. I wait with interest. :lol:

    There is loads of good advice on cadence, it just depends whether you want to listen to it or not.
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
  • Tom1990Tom1990 Posts: 20
    Try doing some cadence drills. Do 5 minutes at 100 rpm, 2 minutes at 120rpm, and 1 minute at 140rpm. Pedal for 5-10 minutes at any cadence, and then repeat a few times. As has been mentioned though, your cadence will naturally increase anyway as your fitness does.
  • JaegerJaeger Posts: 439
    Also, if you have narrower handlebars (e.g. 40cm) your cadence will be higher. If you have wider bars (e.g. 44cm) your cadence will be a lot lower. :roll:

  • InfamousInfamous Posts: 1,158
    Cadence has nothing to do with wheel size. It's determined by power and gear ratio.
    Wheel size affects gear ratio!

    So if you want to spin faster, use 650c wheels. :lol:
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Tom1990 wrote:
    Try doing some cadence drills. Do 5 minutes at 100 rpm, 2 minutes at 120rpm, and 1 minute at 140rpm. Pedal for 5-10 minutes at any cadence, and then repeat a few times. As has been mentioned though, your cadence will naturally increase anyway as your fitness does.

    Why? What's the point?

    Please explain how cadence increases as you get fitter?

    I'm not saying you're wrong, just please justify the advice that you are giving.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    chrisw12 wrote:
    The best advice about cadence is not to listen to anyone else's advice about cadence. There is so much bs said about it. We've had at least one gem already and I'm sure there will be more. I wait with interest. :lol:

    There is loads of good advice on cadence, it just depends whether you want to listen to it or not.

    and I'll say it again. There is a lot of bs written on cadence, just look at this thread so far!

    So how does a new rider know what is good or bad? So best advice is ignore everyone's advice at least until you have the tools and experience to weed out the good and bad.
  • a_n_ta_n_t Posts: 2,011
    I find if I need a p1ss my cadence goes up. :wink:
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  • e999same999sam Posts: 447
    Try riding fixed it'll teach to pedal correctly.
  • kevin69kevin69 Posts: 87
    assuming you have a computer with cadence, change down into a lower gear
    whenever you notice your cadence drop to 80rpm (or 75).

    You'll probably find yourself one or two gears lower than usual,
    and dropping down gears earlier when going uphill.

    I did this and at first it felt odd, but i soon got used to it and my
    "natural" cadence went up from70rpm to 90-95rpm.
    I also found i used the gears much more to smooth out my pedalling.
  • AirwaveAirwave Posts: 483
    I recently got a computer with cadance.I was surprised how low my normal cadance was.Without thinking about it,normal would be between 70-80rpm.So i decided to increase it gradualy up to 90-95rpm.That was 5weeks ago.At first it felt wrong spinning like a lunatic but now 90-100rpm feels very comfortable&i find i'm changing gears earlier&not grinding anymore.But weather or not the diffence in rpm has improved my riding style i don't know yet.I might see an improvement when the TTs start again.But as i feel just as comfortable at a higher cadence it's easy to continue.So i would say just ride a lot at a higher cadence if you want to increase you rpm.SIMPLES.
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    chrisw12 wrote:
    The best advice about cadence is not to listen to anyone else's advice about cadence. There is so much bs said about it. We've had at least one gem already and I'm sure there will be more. I wait with interest. :lol:

    :lol:

    Cadence for me only becomes worthwhile on longer rides or sportives. It means my legs aren't as fatigued on the hillier sections near the end but regarding overall speed it may not make any difference.
  • id just hazard a guess and say listen to your body.
    set your self a goal to achieve
    then set up a program where you will deliver what you want to achieve over a given time good luck!
  • jibberjimjibberjim Posts: 2,810
    chrisw12 wrote:
    Please explain how cadence increases as you get fitter?

    Most studies show that people prefer a higher cadence for higher powers, and as you get fitter, more time will likely be spent producing your higher powers... So that could explain it, no idea if that's Toms point though.

    Doesn't have anything to do with higher or lower cadences being better, and it's higher and lower to your own preferred cadence. It's just the result of being fitter and having different limiters to your performance than before.
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  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    The usual comments :D cadencs is natural and it will make no difference whether it is slow or fast with respect to the speed you will attain.
    You may feel you go faster at higher cadence but it is the same.
    try riding on flat at different cadences and you will find your speed will not change.
    Lots of research about cadence on the net nothing to show any benefits of either but with higher cadence you will genrate higher HR.
  • Tom1990Tom1990 Posts: 20
    chrisw12 wrote:
    Tom1990 wrote:
    Try doing some cadence drills. Do 5 minutes at 100 rpm, 2 minutes at 120rpm, and 1 minute at 140rpm. Pedal for 5-10 minutes at any cadence, and then repeat a few times. As has been mentioned though, your cadence will naturally increase anyway as your fitness does.

    Why? What's the point?

    Please explain how cadence increases as you get fitter?

    I'm not saying you're wrong, just please justify the advice that you are giving.

    Fast cadence puts more strain on your heart and lungs than low cadence. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you will be able to pedal at higher cadences than before, as your heart and lungs will be able to cope better than before with the demand.

    The point of cadence drills is to influence neuromuscular adaptation. This will result in an improved pedal stroke, and train the body to be able to spin faster. As I said, higher cadences put more strain on the heart and lungs, but these can recover faster, and last longer than skeletal muscles (where most strain is put from turning lower cadences) before fatigue starts to set in.

    Hope this clears things up.
  • Pithy Power Proverb: Cadence is a red herring. - R Chung

    Focus on effort level and choose a gear that feels good. Cadence then comes along for the ride.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    Tom1990 wrote:
    chrisw12 wrote:
    Tom1990 wrote:
    Try doing some cadence drills. Do 5 minutes at 100 rpm, 2 minutes at 120rpm, and 1 minute at 140rpm. Pedal for 5-10 minutes at any cadence, and then repeat a few times. As has been mentioned though, your cadence will naturally increase anyway as your fitness does.

    Why? What's the point?

    Please explain how cadence increases as you get fitter?

    I'm not saying you're wrong, just please justify the advice that you are giving.

    Fast cadence puts more strain on your heart and lungs than low cadence. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, you will be able to pedal at higher cadences than before, as your heart and lungs will be able to cope better than before with the demand.

    The point of cadence drills is to influence neuromuscular adaptation. This will result in an improved pedal stroke, and train the body to be able to spin faster. As I said, higher cadences put more strain on the heart and lungs, but these can recover faster, and last longer than skeletal muscles (where most strain is put from turning lower cadences) before fatigue starts to set in.

    Hope this clears things up.

    Thanks, that's crystal clear now.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    I find being chased by a large angry dog works wonder for my cadence. :wink:
  • GarzGarz Posts: 1,155
    Is he called Eddie by any chance?
  • nolfnolf Posts: 2,016
    Whichever gear allows you to put down the most power, while tiring your body the least.

    My cadence differes depending on all kind of things, personally I prefer a higher cadence at higher power levels.
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    Than never to have loved at all."

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  • terongiterongi Posts: 318
    A higher cadence is simply more energy efficient over a sustained period.

    As mentioned above, high cadence is hard on your heart and lungs.
    Low cadence in high gear is hard on your legs.

    It is much easier to train you heart to sustain high efforts and recover quickly than your leg muscles. We all know that feeling when your legs blow on a hard ride, you never get the strength back and you feel terrible for days after. But if you go into the red with your heart rate, then you can often come back again after a few minutes recovery.

    High cadence does not come naturally; it has to be learnt. It always feels weird at first and you have to get used to it.
  • terongi wrote:
    A higher cadence is simply more energy efficient over a sustained period.
    Except that it isn't.

    It may not be much but in general, lower cadences are more efficient that higher cadences. IOW, at same power, there is a lower O2 utilisation at lower cadences than higher ones.

    However what matters is power, not efficiency, and so we use gearing/cadences that are most effective, not efficient.
  • terongi wrote:
    A higher cadence is simply more energy efficient over a sustained period.
    Except that it isn't.

    It may not be much but in general, lower cadences are more efficient that higher cadences. IOW, at same power, there is a lower O2 utilisation at lower cadences than higher ones.

    Surely there's less O2 utilisation because you're relying upon energy stores within your muscles (low cadence) as opposed to your CV system (higher cadence)? The energy stores in your muscles are limited, so over a long period of time a higher cadence would be more beneficial?
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
  • Surely there's less O2 utilisation because you're relying upon energy stores within your muscles (low cadence) as opposed to your CV system (higher cadence)? The energy stores in your muscles are limited, so over a long period of time a higher cadence would be more beneficial?
    Where do you think your muscles get the oxygen from in order to metabolise the fuel stores?

    Remember that I said lower cadences are more efficient. I said nothing about them being more effective. Metabolic efficiency is a very low priority for most cyclists. All I was pointing out is that the claim that higher cadences are more efficient is incorrect.
  • Surely there's less O2 utilisation because you're relying upon energy stores within your muscles (low cadence) as opposed to your CV system (higher cadence)? The energy stores in your muscles are limited, so over a long period of time a higher cadence would be more beneficial?
    Where do you think your muscles get the oxygen from in order to metabolise the fuel stores?

    Some from your CV, but the process is predominately anaerobic (the reason why you can produce the same power but utilise less O2?)
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
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