I know it is wrong but...

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Florin, May 20, 2003.

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  1. Florin

    Florin Guest

    I find it much less tiring to use high force/low revs when pedalling -- for example, I prefer to use
    the largest chainring, even when going uphill.

    I suspect that this has something to do with me having really good deadlift and squat lifts for my
    bodyweight and not very good aerobic resistance.

    I know this is supposed to be te wrong pedalling technique, but I wonder if it is worth the effort
    of changing my style to high revs.

    Thanks a lot!
     
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  2. "florin" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I find it much less tiring to use high force/low revs when pedalling -- for example, I prefer to
    > use the largest chainring, even when going uphill.
    >
    > I suspect that this has something to do with me having really good deadlift and squat lifts for my
    > bodyweight and not very good aerobic resistance.

    That's pretty much exactly it.

    >
    > I know this is supposed to be te wrong pedalling technique,

    There are no absolute wrongs and rights, but you'll be able to go much faster and further by
    increasing your aerobic capacity. It can be wrong in terms of knee injury. Grinding up hills can and
    does cause knee problems for many people.

    > but I wonder if it is worth the effort of changing my style to high revs.

    Most experienced cyclists find that the reduction of knee stress combined with increased speed and
    endurance is well worth it. There is still quite a range of cadences used by even high level racers,
    although all of them are using higher cadences than many novices who have not yet developed much
    aerobic capacity.

    It doesn't take long, just a little extra effort. Consciously spin faster in a lower gear for a
    little bit every ride. Over time increase how long and how much. You're stronger muscularly than
    aerobically, train your weakness.

    >
    > Thanks a lot!
     
  3. Royce Smith

    Royce Smith Guest

    "florin" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I find it much less tiring to use high force/low revs when pedalling -- for example, I prefer to
    > use the largest chainring, even when going uphill.

    Advantages of using a smaller chainring and a higher rpm:
    * improved VO2 max
    * burn more calories
    * less stress on knees
    * more endurance
     
  4. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "florin" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I find it much less tiring to use high force/low revs when pedalling -- for example, I prefer to
    > use the largest chainring, even when going uphill.
    >
    > I suspect that this has something to do with me having really good deadlift and squat lifts for my
    > bodyweight and not very good aerobic resistance.
    >
    > I know this is supposed to be te wrong pedalling technique, but I wonder if it is worth the effort
    > of changing my style to high revs.

    I wouldn't worry about it, cadence isn't really very important. Just keep riding and let your body
    find its own best cadence.
     
  5. Archer

    Archer Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > I find it much less tiring to use high force/low revs when pedalling -- for example, I prefer to
    > use the largest chainring, even when going uphill.
    >
    > I suspect that this has something to do with me having really good deadlift and squat lifts for my
    > bodyweight and not very good aerobic resistance.
    >
    > I know this is supposed to be te wrong pedalling technique, but I wonder if it is worth the effort
    > of changing my style to high revs.
    >
    > Thanks a lot!

    I do that to a certain extent (turn lower rpm's in a taller gear than many would say is optimal),
    and it works for me. If it works for you, and your knees can put up with it, then why not?

    --
    David Kerber An optimist says "Good morning, Lord." While a pessimist says "Good Lord,
    it's morning".

    Remove the ns_ from the address before e-mailing.
     
  6. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >There are no absolute wrongs and rights, but you'll be able to go much faster and further by
    >increasing your aerobic capacity. It can be wrong in terms of knee injury. Grinding up hills can
    >and does cause knee problems for many people.

    These are generalizations and may not apply to specific riders with specific types of muscles
    and joints.

    Oxygen consumption is actually best at lower cadences, optimal is somewhere around 50 or 60 so it
    may be that this is indeed the most efficient way for this fellow to climb.

    Also, this fellow likely has a high percentage of fast twitch muscle rather than slow twitch so this
    must be considered as well.

    >
    >> but I wonder if it is worth the effort of changing my style to high revs.
    >
    >Most experienced cyclists find that the reduction of knee stress combined with increased speed and
    >endurance is well worth it. There is still quite a range of cadences used by even high level
    >racers, although all of them are using higher cadences than many novices who have not yet developed
    >much aerobic capacity.

    Most experienced cyclists probably don't have a high percentage of fast twitch muscle nor do they
    have large bones and joints.

    >It doesn't take long, just a little extra effort. Consciously spin faster in a lower gear for a
    >little bit every ride. Over time increase how long and how much. You're stronger muscularly than
    >aerobically, train your weakness.

    It may well be that actually riding at lower RPMs is more efficient for this fellow and will be. It
    is important for each of us to understand our individual capabilities and strengths and weaknesses
    and not try to fit ourselves into the mold of what "experienced cyclists" do.

    I consider myself an experienced cyclist and yes, I can ride along at a cadence of 95rpm for 3 hours
    but I tire less, go faster if I ride at 75 rpm.

    So, it is probably a good idea for the fellow to see if riding at a higher cadence works for him.

    Currently spinning is even more the rage because of Lance's success but just because something works
    for Lance, that doesn't mean it works for the rest of us.

    After Lance won one of his recent tours, of course Spinning was the talk, but then the world
    TT championship was won by a fellow pushing big gears at a low cadence and that was the talk
    for a while.

    Most important thing is to ride and have fun. Figure out what works for you and enjoy it.

    jon isaacs
     
  7. Gary Smiley

    Gary Smiley Guest

    Jon - if you tire less and go faster at 75rpm, then why do you ride at 95rpm?

    Jon Isaacs wrote:

    > >I consider myself an experienced cyclist and yes, I can ride along at a cadence
    > of 95rpm for 3 hours but I tire less, go faster if I ride at 75 rpm.
     
  8. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Jon Isaacs wrote:

    > It may well be that actually riding at lower RPMs is more efficient for this fellow and will be.
    > It is important for each of us to understand our individual capabilities and strengths and
    > weaknesses and not try to fit ourselves into the mold of what "experienced cyclists" do.
    >
    > I consider myself an experienced cyclist and yes, I can ride along at a cadence of 95rpm for 3
    > hours but I tire less, go faster if I ride at 75 rpm.

    It's useful to consider cadence as a balance of aerobic demand and muscle demand. A higher cadence
    has a greater aerobic demand, but it requires less leg muscle effort. A lower cadence puts less
    demand on cardio-vascular sstem, but it tires the leg muscles. For rides of two hours or more,
    reducing the demand on leg muscles may be vital, since it will make the glycogen in the muscles last
    longer. Once muscle glycogen is depleted, it's tough to make the pedals go around.

    I know lots of riders who are fit, with plenty of aerobic capacity and leg strength, but their legs
    give out on long rides. Spinning would help these folks out.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  9. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Terry Morse wrote:
    > It's useful to consider cadence as a balance of aerobic demand and muscle demand. A higher cadence
    > has a greater aerobic demand, but it requires less leg muscle effort. A lower cadence puts less
    > demand on cardio-vascular sstem, but it tires the leg muscles. For rides of two hours or more,
    > reducing the demand on leg muscles may be vital, since it will make the glycogen in the muscles
    > last longer. Once muscle glycogen is depleted, it's tough to make the pedals go around.
    >
    > I know lots of riders who are fit, with plenty of aerobic capacity and leg strength, but their
    > legs give out on long rides. Spinning would help these folks out.

    The aerobic demand and muscle demand is the same whether you spin or not; your idea of the right
    pace changes, is all, and the pace change changes the power required. Basically, you're unfamiliar
    with pacing at cadences you're not used to.

    Same speed, same power and same demands.

    There's a difference you can achieve _short term_, by going into a high gear and powering up a hill,
    using energy stored in muscles still storing it; and you'll discover that you can go up a pretty big
    hill that way without even starting to breathe hard. But it's not a steady-state condition, as you
    will shortly find out.

    A higher cadence and lower gear forces you into steady-state balance faster; that might be another
    advantage of it or disadvantage, depending on your short-term desires.

    Ability to spin as a technique varies also; if you're awkward at it, it won't work very
    well for you.

    It may also be that you're not in shape, in which case using the muscles most in shape works best
    long-term. But if all your muscles work long term, only the speed you ride affects the effort you're
    putting in.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  10. Harris

    Harris Guest

    florin <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I find it much less tiring to use high force/low revs when pedalling -- for example, I prefer to
    > use the largest chainring, even when going uphill.

    How low is your cadence. Some folks prefer a low cadence on the hills, but most experienced cyclists
    spin at least 80 rpms on the flats.

    Spinning can feel unnatural at first. Many beginning riders pedal 50-60 rpms evem on the flats. It
    takes some practice for 80-90 rpm to feel right. But it's probably worth it if you want to do
    longer rides.

    Art Harris
     
  11. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "Ron Hardin" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > The aerobic demand and muscle demand is the same whether you spin or not; your idea of the right
    > pace changes, is all, and the pace change changes the power required. Basically, you're unfamiliar
    > with pacing at cadences you're not used to.
    >
    > Same speed, same power and same demands.

    You seem to be forgetting that physiologically, there is an optimum pace for any kind of movement.
    If you were to look at a graph of energy expenditure versus speed for various modes of travel, the
    optimum pace becomes clear. If you don't believe this, check it out yourself by walking at different
    paces. Too slow a pace is very tiring as is too fast a pace. There is an optimum pace that maximizes
    forward movement while minimizing energy input.

    Cycling is a bit different in that we can select gears to change the speed for a given cadence. We
    can also select gears to maintain a given speed while varying cadence. The energy output of the
    person for a given speed will vary according to the gear selection and the cadence. Keep in mind
    that this doesn't change the amount of force needed to make the bike maintain that forward velocity.
    But a higher cadence requires the movement of the same parts many more times than a lower cadence
    while maintaining the same forward velocity. All of this extra movement burns energy.

    Each person should find their optimum cadence. It is possible to change that somewhat through
    training. But this is more of a condition of tolerance than optimum pace. Just because a man has
    become accustomed to walking fast, that doesn't mean that he is maximizing his forward velocity
    while minimizing his movement. He is burning extra energy to walk fast instead of switching modes
    and jogging, which would lower his energy output for that same pace.

    -Buck
     
  12. Ron Hardin

    Ron Hardin Guest

    Buck wrote:
    > > Same speed, same power and same demands.
    >
    > You seem to be forgetting that physiologically, there is an optimum pace for any kind of movement.
    > If you were to look at a graph of energy expenditure versus speed for various modes of travel, the
    > optimum pace becomes clear. If you don't believe this, check it out yourself by walking at
    > different paces. Too slow a pace is very tiring as is too fast a pace. There is an optimum pace
    > that maximizes forward movement while minimizing energy input.
    >
    > Cycling is a bit different in that we can select gears to change the speed for a given
    > cadence. We can also select gears to maintain a given speed while varying cadence. The energy
    > output of the person for a given speed will vary according to the gear selection and the
    > cadence. Keep in mind that this doesn't change the amount of force needed to make the bike
    > maintain that forward velocity. But a higher cadence requires the movement of the same parts
    > many more times than a lower cadence while maintaining the same forward velocity. All of this
    > extra movement burns energy.
    >
    > Each person should find their optimum cadence. It is possible to change that somewhat through
    > training. But this is more of a condition of tolerance than optimum pace. Just because a man has
    > become accustomed to walking fast, that doesn't mean that he is maximizing his forward velocity
    > while minimizing his movement. He is burning extra energy to walk fast instead of switching modes
    > and jogging, which would lower his energy output for that same pace.

    Walking is mostly wasted motion, and a tiny part actual useful work, unless you're walking up a
    steep hill, in which case only speed matters.

    Cycling is almost all useful work, and subject chiefly to elementary physics.

    One of the finest and most astounding proofs of the physicist's definition of work is the
    indifference of the gear to the effort to cycle up a hill.

    The cadence matters if you're after _peak output_, and then impedance matching matters. But peak
    output is not long term output, and long term output depends only on speed. You can't keep peak
    output up.

    You may have weak muscles and strong muscles, but whichever you're using to power the bike, only the
    speed determines how out of breath you get.
    --
    Ron Hardin [email protected]

    On the internet, nobody knows you're a jerk.
     
  13. On Wed, 21 May 2003 09:01:38 -0700, Ron Hardin wrote:
    > The aerobic demand and muscle demand is the same whether you spin or not; your idea of the right
    > pace changes, is all, and the pace change changes the power required. Basically, you're unfamiliar
    > with pacing at cadences you're not used to.
    >
    > Same speed, same power and same demands.

    Lots of lab and road test data say otherwise.

    Check out any book on cycling physiology. The late Dr. Burke covered this in several of his
    books too.

    Richard Kaiser
     
  14. Buck

    Buck Guest

    "Ron Hardin" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > Walking is mostly wasted motion, and a tiny part actual useful work,
    unless you're
    > walking up a steep hill, in which case only speed matters.
    >
    > Cycling is almost all useful work, and subject chiefly to elementary
    physics.
    >
    > One of the finest and most astounding proofs of the physicist's definition
    of
    > work is the indifference of the gear to the effort to cycle up a hill.
    >
    > The cadence matters if you're after _peak output_, and then impedance
    matching matters.
    > But peak output is not long term output, and long term output depends only
    on speed.
    > You can't keep peak output up.
    >
    > You may have weak muscles and strong muscles, but whichever you're using
    to power
    > the bike, only the speed determines how out of breath you get.

    Ron,

    For all your talk of physics and whatnot, I amazed at your ability to completely ignore what is
    happening with your own body and the physics that apply there. Try a little experiment. Pick a nice
    flat road. Ride down that road at 20mph in your favorite gear. Note how much effort it takes to
    maintain that speed. Now drop down four gears. Ride that same section of road again while
    maintaining the same speed. Note how much more effort it takes to maintain the higher cadence.

    What you are ignoring is the fact that you have two lumps of flesh and bone pumping up an down and
    two somewhat smaller lumps moving around in circles. It takes energy to move these. The more times
    they have to be moved, the greater the energy output. Note that this all happens *before* we start
    talking about forces on pedals and forces moving the system as a whole.

    Take, for another example, big trucks. When the speed limit changed to 55, the cost of overland
    transportation went up. Not just because of additional time needed for transportation. The trucks
    were designed to cruise at 70mph and were most fuel efficient at that speed. Lowering the speed
    limit forced them to drive at a speed that wasn't as fuel efficient. Their fuel costs went up
    because of inefficiency and more time spent on the road.

    If you take issue with this, consider the Continuously Variable Transmission. In a vehicle that uses
    a CVT, the engine speed varies only between idle and a pre-set optimum rpm. Why? Because "keeping
    the engine at a constant rpm allows the engineers to optimise ignition timing, camshaft design, and
    manifold tuning for excellent volumetric efficiency and low emissions."
    http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/jk/at_010508.htm

    The beauty of a bicycle with gears is that the rider can find the optimum cadence and maintain that
    cadence through a wide range of speeds. Every system has an optimum performance range, whether the
    system is mechanical or biological. Ignoring this is ignoring the physics you love.

    -Buck
     
  15. Robert Chung

    Robert Chung Guest

    "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > The beauty of a bicycle with gears is that the rider can find the optimum cadence and maintain
    > that cadence through a wide range of speeds. Every system has an optimum performance range,
    > whether the system is mechanical
    or
    > biological. Ignoring this is ignoring the physics you love.

    I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but cadence is a red-herring because we don't (usually)
    ride to minimize energy expenditure. You may think that we have gears in order to keep cadence
    within an "optimal" range, but if you were to look at how we actually use them you might be
    surprised how widely cadence varies. Perhaps you will be interested in
    http://mywebpage.netscape.com/rechung/wattage/components/components.html That particular pattern was
    from a hillclimb -- other patterns are characteristic of other types of rides and I have a bunch of
    data files from road races, crits, and time trials at http://mywebpage.netscape.com/rechung/wattage.
    If you look at those files, plot cadence against gear ratio to see how much range there is.
     
  16. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, "Buck" <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o
    r p . c o m> writes:

    > Note that this all happens *before* we start talking about forces on pedals and forces moving the
    > system as a whole.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    I've seen references to "pedaling force" elsewhere.

    Just out of curiosity, is that the same as torque? As in (simplistically) weight applied to pedal x
    crank length, or ft-lbs.

    If it is the same thing, it helps me to understand these discussions. If not, I guess I'll have to
    look up what pedaling force actually is.

    Off-hand, it looks to me like at a given speed, pedaling force (torque?) varies directly with gear
    ratio, and inversely with cadence.

    cheers, Tom

    --
    -- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
    [point] bc [point] ca
     
  17. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Buck <j u n k m a i l @ g a l a x y c o r p . c o m> writes:

    > What you are ignoring is the fact that you have two lumps of flesh and bone pumping up an down and
    > two somewhat smaller lumps moving around in circles. It takes energy to move these. The more times
    > they have to be moved, the greater the energy output. Note that this all happens *before* we start
    > talking about forces on pedals and forces moving the system as a whole.

    That is not why it is strenuous. Just pumping a muscle back and forth doing no work at all requires
    power as you can prove by riding an exercise bicycle with load set to zero. Power required to do
    work goes above and beyond that effort, so it is an optimization between excess idle work and
    output. That cadence is different for each individual and depends on several factors, such as
    weight, muscular strength (not power), cardiovascular capacity and conversion of glucose to the
    muscles... and a bunch of other things.

    > Take, for another example, big trucks. When the speed limit changed to 55, the cost of overland
    > transportation went up. Not just because of additional time needed for transportation. The trucks
    > were designed to cruise at 70mph and were most fuel efficient at that speed. Lowering the speed
    > limit forced them to drive at a speed that wasn't as fuel efficient. Their fuel costs went up
    > because of inefficiency and more time spent on the road.

    The cost is driver time (labor) and turn-around time for equipment, not fuel efficiency. Wind drag
    power goes as the third power of velocity and that is twice as great for 70mph as at 55mph. Rolling
    resistance is essentially constant at those speeds. This is not a good argument for spinning or not
    on a bicycle.

    > If you take issue with this, consider the Continuously Variable Transmission. In a vehicle that
    > uses a CVT, the engine speed varies only between idle and a pre-set optimum rpm. Why? Because
    > "keeping the engine at a constant rpm allows the engineers to optimise ignition timing, camshaft
    > design, and manifold tuning for excellent volumetric efficiency and low emissions."

    http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/jk/at_010508.htm

    I don't think you should bring the CVT in on this because the web page you cite is full of erroneous
    information. If what is presented there were true, we would not have gearboxes on cars and trucks,
    from Formula One race cars to heavy trucks. The CVT is NOT more efficient. It has its place and
    trying to push it into applications where it doesn't fir is a disservice to the device.

    > The beauty of a bicycle with gears is that the rider can find the optimum cadence and maintain
    > that cadence through a wide range of speeds. Every system has an optimum performance range,
    > whether the system is mechanical or biological. Ignoring this is ignoring the physics you love.

    That's an old saw that just isn't true. You will notice that even professional racers slow their
    cadence as the gradient gets steeper. In the extreme, the race up Fillmore Street in San Francisco
    made that glaringly apparent. There are reasons for lower cadence on steep hills and I don't think
    we want to get into that here.

    By the way, where is the CVT for bicycles?

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  18. Robert Chung

    Robert Chung Guest

    "Tom Keats" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I've seen references to "pedaling force" elsewhere.
    >
    > Just out of curiosity, is that the same as torque?

    Not exactly. If you're using metric units, power is measured in watts and pedal force in
    newtons. Torque is measured in newton-meters, and differs from pedal force in taking the crank
    length into account.

    watts = pedal force * pedal velocity = pedal force * (rpm/60) * 2 * pi * crank length

    or

    watts = torque * angular velocity = torque * (rpm/60) * 2 * pi

    Since most cranks for most bikes for most riders are in the neighborhood of 170mm, you can roughly
    estimate that pedal force and pedal torque differ by a factor of .17.
     
  19. In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] wrote:

    > > The beauty of a bicycle with gears is that the rider can find the optimum cadence and maintain
    > > that cadence through a wide range of speeds. Every system has an optimum performance range,
    > > whether the system is mechanical or biological. Ignoring this is ignoring the physics you love.
    >
    > That's an old saw that just isn't true. You will notice that even professional racers slow their
    > cadence as the gradient gets steeper. In the extreme, the race up Fillmore Street in San Francisco
    > made that glaringly apparent. There are reasons for lower cadence on steep hills and I don't think
    > we want to get into that here.
    >
    > By the way, where is the CVT for bicycles?

    I dunno, Jobst. Where's the derailleur/chain drivetrain for cars?

    horses for courses,
    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected] http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  20. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Ryan Cousineau writes:

    >>> The beauty of a bicycle with gears is that the rider can find the optimum cadence and maintain
    >>> that cadence through a wide range of speeds. Every system has an optimum performance range,
    >>> whether the system is mechanical or biological. Ignoring this is ignoring the physics you love.

    >> That's an old saw that just isn't true. You will notice that even professional racers slow their
    >> cadence as the gradient gets steeper. In the extreme, the race up Fillmore Street in San
    >> Francisco made that glaringly apparent. There are reasons for lower cadence on steep hills and I
    >> don't think we want to get into that here.

    >> By the way, where is the CVT for bicycles?

    > I dunno, Jobst. Where's the derailleur/chain drivetrain for cars?

    The human motor is so low speed and high torque that it can't use a friction drive transmission. On
    the other hand, CVT's also don't exist in the high power field either. They have a limited
    application and will stay there. That is why there is a CVT's piece in the FAQ.

    http://draco.acs.uci.edu/rbfaq/FAQ/8i.3.html

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
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