Cadence for a Newbie

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by slbeemer, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. slbeemer

    slbeemer New Member

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    I am fairly new to road biking. I am riding for an hour to an hour and a half four times a week and really enjoying it. My average cadence is in the low 80s. What is a target cadence for someone like me? I had heard low 90s but not sure. Thanks...
     
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  2. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    Yes 90 is a good reference number for flat roads. What is important is that you are already paying attention to cadence, something not all novices do. I also like your weekly hours, not too long nor too short. In your week try some climbing at 75 and then some sprinting at 110 or more so you get the full cadence scope in your brain. Its a good sign that you enjoy cycling from the start also !
     
  3. ColeJustesen

    ColeJustesen New Member

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    Not to hijack your thread...but I am wondering what the numbers you are referring represent....heart rate?

    Sorry I have nothing to add, just here to gain some more knowledge, as I am new to road biking as well.

    Cole
     
  4. gndprx

    gndprx New Member

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    RPM of the crank. Basically the measure of how fast you are pedaling.

    I actually have stopped watching my cadence almost completely. My legs and knees will tell me if I'm turning too low or to high rpm. If you are bouncing in the seat then the cadence is too high. If you are pushing hard and your legs start to burn but you are not breathing heavy, shift and increase cadence. If your knees are hurting, shift and increase cadence.

    Glad to hear you are enjoying the ride. Keep it up.
     
  5. ColeJustesen

    ColeJustesen New Member

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    Thanks.....I appreciate your answer!

    Cole
     
  6. quenya

    quenya New Member

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    Cadence is a highly individual number. Newcomers trend towards slower pedalling, while more experienced riders may spin faster. Most people maximize efficiency between 80 and 100 rpm but 90 isn't perfect for everyone. One thing you can do is shift often compare your speed with your effort if a gear shift down increases your speed then you know the previous gear was too high for the conditions.
     
  7. SPD877

    SPD877 New Member

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    This is excellent advice, and was taught to me in my early days of cycling. Newcomers to the sport should focus on pedalling efficiency and mechanics first before thinking about cadence. I suggest taking some time in the lower chainring to smooth out your pedal stroke and practice pushing the pedal on a "circular" arc. This will improve efficiency as well as improve cardiovascular capacity. As a result you will be able to pedal at a higer average cadence and go faster at a lower metabolic cost.
     
  8. billydonn

    billydonn New Member

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    +1 to this answer. Too many people want to give a pat answer to this, with 90 generally being treated as a magic number. The power band isn't the same for every engine.
     
  9. Addicted2Speed

    Addicted2Speed New Member

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    Another angle/ consideration- when I started out my bike had a Triple Crank with a 12-27 cassette. I found it hard to find a good rhythm/cadence because when I shifted (27 to 24, 24-21 etc) I would find one gear would be too easy while the upshift was too hard. To correct this, I exchanged the Triple Crank for a Compact Crank and a 12-25 cassette. I found this works much better and alleviated much of the problem. Just a thought, as some cassettes, ie 11-28 , 12-27, have signif. spaced out gearing and finding the ideal cadence can be a challenge.
     
  10. quenya

    quenya New Member

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    With a triple I would run an 11-23 or 11-25 just so your gearing jumps are smaller, but if you're used to a 30x27 and switch to 34x25 your low gear just got a fair bit higher which may not allow a near ideal cadence.
     
  11. CdnRider

    CdnRider New Member

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    I remember when i first got serious about cycling and started club riding. I would push these massive gears and grind it out. Thankfully....years of soccer and rugby gave me the legs for it. Wasn't until one of the club coaches noticed it and quickly schooled me to push the smaller 42 ring at a higher cadence.....saved my knees - almost. I was just a kid.....how was i supposed to know!??!

    Now....my sweet spot is in the 80-100rpm range. My knees will tell me ASAP if I push too hard of a gear. It's like an alarm for me.

    Good question!
     
  12. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Common sense advice. I started riding back in the dark ages when all I had for coaching was a couple of AYH guides. They were mashers, and I mashed my right knee to the point where I doubted I would ever ride more than 20 miles at a time.

    Lots of self- or alternatively coached hard men dismiss fast cadence for its own sake, but I can assure you that no rider ever ever suffered a leg injury caused by turning the cranks too fast.
     
  13. Mak'em Lad

    Mak'em Lad New Member

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    I'm following this cadence stuff, it certainly helped me understand the use of gears better & also does seem to help the 'poor old knees'.

    I'm still out of condition but this is improving all the time.

    One thing I've not got 'into my head' yet is, if your cadence on the flat is 90 (assuming this is right for you), what would you expect it to be on

    1: uphill

    2: downhill

    or do you try to keep 90 all the time (other than the fast sprint interval)?

    I already have a bike computer but it doesn't do cadence. Would it be better to use a second just displaying cadence or just get one & switch between modes as req'ed?
     
  14. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    Uphill cadence goes down dramatically depending on your fitness level, choice of gears and hill difficulty.
    Downhill forces you to coast (0 rpm) down normally.
    But if you want figures: try to set 75 rpm at least when climbing
    try 110 rpm downhill with your hardest possible gear on

    (i have a wrist-watch for heart rate + cadence and a cycle computer for speed + distance) when i train for cadence, the cadence and heart rate readings must be on your stem or handlebar too (wrist-watch mounts on special adapter)so you can easily keep an eye on the numbers !
     
  15. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Once you've established a good baseline cadence, there's no need to stick to it all the time. It will naturally drop on steep or long hills where you need more power, and on the downhill side it's good for your legs and form to let it rise rather than upshift the moment you feel your speed increasing.

    You can play games with your cadence, too. With your riding companions, do small-chainring signpost sprints. On rolling hills, do intervals by limiting yourself to just two gear changes. With a fast cadence, just about anything you do to liven things up will be beneficial
     
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