Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Help with cadence outdoors

stridertexasstridertexas Posts: 7
edited September 2018 in Training, fitness and health
I’m a long time rider who never gave a thought about cadence. For many years I cared only about my distance and avg speed.

I learned a lot about cadence from a cycling coach a few years ago. But all that was done on an indoor trainer where I could control my cadence much easier.

After dealing with some health issues the past couple of years, I’m finally back on a bike and basically starting over after losing fitness.

I’m trying to primarily be on the road, and off the trainer, and I’m struggling a bit in understanding how to view/approach cadence when not in a controlled environment, like on a trainer. I’ve searched on this topic and keep hitting a dead end.

Could anyone point me in a direction in understanding how to view and approach riding while concentrating on cadence outside?

Some questions I ponder are :

1. Should I be concerned with my avg cadence on a ride?
2. Should I focus on keeping a high cadence the entire ride? Even on flats or descents? My first assumption is I’d just wear myself out...
3. Should cadence only be periodically concentrated on, as a way to train myself? 1-2 minutes focus on, a few minutes not, etc
4. I realize terrain changes, so should cadence with it? Should I slow my speed to always keep my cadence high?

These are just some of the things I’m stumped on. Any guidance would be helpful.

Posts

  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,190
    My two penn'orth, and it's probably worth less than that.
    If you want to aim for a particular average cadence then ensure that cadence is always shown on the screen of your bike computer and stick +/- 5 rpm, using that range to determine when to change gear, not when to increase or decrease revolutions in the same gear.
    Very simple, also very limited in allowing any real structured training BUT...... if you have a preferred cadence for rolling terrain it can be helpful, on climbs perhaps just decrease revs by 10-15 and see how you go.

    I use cadence, HR and power on rides....cadence during the ride as described above, HR only on climbs to ensure I'm not going too hard and power if when I'm following a particular plan (Training Peaks).
    I review all the data points after a ride.
  • No idea what your coach told you about cadence but per se it's not a particularly instructive indicator of much.

    So in answer:

    1. No.
    2. No.
    3. Probably not unless you have specific requirements, e.g. track racing where the ability to put down power across a wide variety of pedalling rates matters.
    4. Cadence will naturally vary as the terrain and your level of effort varies.

    Cadence per se is a big fat red herring. It's also an outcome and not an independently controllable factor.

    What you can control is your level of effort (i.e. intensity / power output) and what gear you choose. Cadence is then an outcome of those choices plus the particular resistance forces in play (air and rolling resistances, gravity on slopes, inertial load when accelerating etc).

    We never hear anyone ask the question: Should I be concerned with my crank torque? Yet it's as equally (in)valid as cadence as an indicator of much.

    Focus on intensity and duration of effort, and choose a gear suitable for what you are doing.
  • Just realised this is first post by the OP and a question about cadence. I should know better.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,029
    It's just Lance trying it on again.
  • Since having a power meter this year, I've found it much easier to maintain a higher average power when cycling at a lower cadence, especially up cat3/4 hills.

    Last year, when I started out cycling for fitness and didn't have a power meter, my ride averages were in the ~100rpm ballpark and I tried to keep my cadence 80+ by using easier gears up the steepest parts of cat climbs (such as the top ~0.5 miles of Harvesting Lane on the side of Butser Hill).

    These days, my average cadence on a power interval training ride is much closer to 80-85rpm and I'm using bigger gears to get up these steep sections, typically happy to keep in a gear as long as my cadence does not drop below ~65bpm while out of the saddle for a minute or two.
    Even on a recovery ride, my average cadence has dropped compared to last year to ~90rpm, where I will typically change gear to keep my cadence 90+ and reduce power output.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • [/quote]
    Just realised this is first post by the OP and a question about cadence. I should know better.

    I'm not quite sure what this is supposed to mean..., but I do appreciate your prior response.
    Cadence per se is a big fat red herring. It's also an outcome and not an independently controllable factor.

    This line of thinking makes complete sense to me know. Where my prior coach had me focusing on cadence while on a trainer, it makes sense that it was only an outcome to achieve.

    I thought focusing primarily on a cadence while outdoors would be a goal, but it only appeared to wear me out, and thus confused me further.

    I was ever only a weekend warrior, zero racing before. I just enjoy riding, and want to ensure now I'm thinking through it properly to better myself.
  • I'm not quite sure what this is supposed to mean..., but I do appreciate your prior response.
    We regularly get trolls and those with sock puppet accounts who like to rehash old topics known to generate "debate" for some kind of perverse enjoyment. It's like tossing a forum grenade.

    Occasionally they actually are a genuine new forum member who hasn't done a search on the topic before posting a question.

    Sample search in this sub-forum alone results in 98 topics with "cadence" in the title:
    search.php?keywords=cadence&terms=all&author=&fid%5B%5D=40011&sc=1&sf=titleonly&sr=posts&sk=t&sd=d&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search

    Hope that makes more sense.
  • I'm not quite sure what this is supposed to mean..., but I do appreciate your prior response.
    We regularly get trolls and those with sock puppet accounts who like to rehash old topics known to generate "debate" for some kind of perverse enjoyment. It's like tossing a forum grenade.

    Occasionally they actually are a genuine new forum member who hasn't done a search on the topic before posting a question.

    Sample search in this sub-forum alone results in 98 topics with "cadence" in the title:
    search.php?keywords=cadence&terms=all&author=&fid%5B%5D=40011&sc=1&sf=titleonly&sr=posts&sk=t&sd=d&st=0&ch=300&t=0&submit=Search

    Hope that makes more sense.


    Ahhh, yes that does make sense. Tbh I tried many different keyword searches and just hit a wall. But I do appreciate the explanations I got.

    I’ve got more homework to do now 8)
  • CptKernowCptKernow Posts: 467
    We regularly get trolls and those with sock puppet accounts who like to rehash old topics known to generate "debate" for some kind of perverse enjoyment. It's like tossing a forum grenade.
    I think the purpose is often to post spam links at some point. Build up a bit of credibility and they slip in a post with a few links to the website they are promoting. Means they don't get banned straight out and their spam links might not get deleted.

    This is an old - probably outdated - SEO technique
  • CptKernow wrote:
    We regularly get trolls and those with sock puppet accounts who like to rehash old topics known to generate "debate" for some kind of perverse enjoyment. It's like tossing a forum grenade.
    I think the purpose is often to post spam links at some point. Build up a bit of credibility and they slip in a post with a few links to the website they are promoting. Means they don't get banned straight out and their spam links might not get deleted.

    This is an old - probably outdated - SEO technique
    Perhaps, but we do have a few regulars that pop back up, they know the button topics to use and are able to put a minor twist on it. Dressing it up as a newbie question is a common MO. Spammers generally don't demonstrate such nuance with their faux questions or topic choice.
Sign In or Register to comment.