improving cadence

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Rowchuck, Mar 24, 2003.

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  1. Rowchuck

    Rowchuck Guest

    I have been a rower, but have moved to an area with no water and now learning to bike for exercise
    and pleasure. I am 78 years young. How do I train to get my cadence to a higher level? Today, I
    reach but 40 t0 45 comfartably but notice others doing much more. Thanks in adavance. Rowchuck
     
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  2. Len

    Len Guest

    "ROWCHUCK" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I have been a rower, but have moved to an area with no water and now
    learning
    > to bike for exercise and pleasure. I am 78 years young. How do I train
    to get
    > my cadence to a higher level? Today, I reach but 40 t0 45 comfartably but notice others doing much
    > more. Thanks in adavance. Rowchuck

    Get a speedometer/computer with cadence pickup. Use it so that you know your cadence, and just try
    to bring it up, in time it will get better. Cheers
     
  3. Allan Leedy

    Allan Leedy Guest

    Ride in a much lower (shorter, smaller chain ring, larger cog) than you are used to using for
    particular terrain, so that you can spin faster with less effort. I found that exercise on a
    spinning bike (which has no freewheel) is very good training. So would be a fixed gear bicycle, but
    they scare me as I am not so confident I can maintain control without the option of holding the
    pedals still from time to time.

    "ROWCHUCK" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I have been a rower, but have moved to an area with no water and now
    learning
    > to bike for exercise and pleasure. I am 78 years young. How do I train
    to get
    > my cadence to a higher level? Today, I reach but 40 t0 45 comfartably but notice others doing much
    > more. Thanks in adavance. Rowchuck
     
  4. In article <[email protected]>, ROWCHUCK <[email protected]> wrote:
    >I have been a rower, but have moved to an area with no water and now learning to bike for exercise
    >and pleasure. I am 78 years young. How do I train to get my cadence to a higher level? Today, I
    >reach but 40 t0 45 comfartably but notice others doing much more. Thanks in adavance. Rowchuck

    If you want to spin fast, lower gears are the thing. A computer with a cadence function is a great
    learning aid so that you can feel when you're pedalling at the rate you want and not pushing too
    large a gear for the desired cadence. In the long run the cadence function is not that useful (my
    opinion) but helps a lot at first.
     
  5. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "ROWCHUCK" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I have been a rower, but have moved to an area with no water and now
    learning
    > to bike for exercise and pleasure. I am 78 years young. How do I train to
    get
    > my cadence to a higher level? Today, I reach but 40 t0 45 comfartably but notice others doing much
    > more. Thanks in adavance. Rowchuck

    I think cadence is the last thing a learning cyclist should worry about. Get comfortable with the
    bike, learn to ride safely, raise your cycling-specific fitness, then start on the finer points.
    Cadence is very much an individual preference anyway, there's no "correct" cadence.
     
  6. Hi Rowchuck,

    About the cadence thing...

    > I have been a rower, but have moved to an area with no water and now learning to bike for exercise
    > and pleasure. I am 78 years young. How do I train to get my cadence to a higher level? Today, I
    > reach but 40 t0 45 comfartably but notice others doing much more. Thanks in adavance. Rowchuck

    I am in a similar position as you, being somewhat new to serious cycling. I have been reading
    everything I can find and then trying to use what I find out on my daily commutes and other rides.

    I read just yesterday on this page:

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

    with regards to crank length...

    ---------- start quote ---------- Of two riders with the same body proportions, one might prefer to
    pedal at a faster cadence. That might favor a shorter crank length. And perhaps even two riders with
    identical skeletal proportions would find after testing that they required different crank lengths
    to achieve maximum performance due simply to differences in their muscles. ---------- end quote
    ----------

    Then a little further down, the author addresses saddle height adjustment and fore/aft
    saddle position.

    I have found that by experimenting with the fore/aft and height adjustment I am able to now maintain
    a cadence of around 90 rpm with not-too-much effort.

    --gordon
     
  7. Hunrobe

    Hunrobe Guest

    >[email protected]

    wrote:

    >I have been a rower, but have moved to an area with no water and now learning to bike for exercise
    >and pleasure. I am 78 years young. How do I train to get my cadence to a higher level? Today, I
    >reach but 40 t0 45 comfartably but notice others doing much more. Thanks in adavance. Rowchuck

    I'm surprised that it's necessary to say this to a 78 yr old since presumably 78 is old enough to
    know better but why do you care what others do? You're a new rider. Concentrate on the basics, have
    fun, and if you feel the need to push yourself because it feels good to improve that's great. Try
    for incremental increases in your cadence but forget what others' cadence may be. You could probably
    out-row them. ;-)

    Regards, Bob Hunt
     
  8. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >I read just yesterday on this page:
    >
    >http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
    >
    >with regards to crank length...
    >
    >---------- start quote ---------- Of two riders with the same body proportions, one might prefer to
    >pedal at a faster cadence. That might favor a shorter crank length. And perhaps even two riders
    >with identical skeletal proportions would find after testing that they required different crank
    >lengths to achieve maximum performance due simply to differences in their muscles. ---------- end
    >quote ----------
    >
    >Then a little further down, the author addresses saddle height adjustment and fore/aft saddle
    >position.
    >
    >I have found that by experimenting with the fore/aft and height adjustment I am able to now
    >maintain a cadence of around 90 rpm with not-too-much effort.
    >
    >--gordon

    There is no doubt that ones riding position can affect how comfortable they are at different
    cadences. I find that for higher cadences I want the seat just a tad bit lower and a tad
    further forward.

    But crank length is a different issue and the tests that have been conducted over a wide range of
    crank lengths indicate that crank length has basically nothing to do with maximum performance.

    But there is no doubt that getting your position dialed in is a big part of riding efficiently and
    comfortably and playing around with not only your seat height and seat position but also your handle
    bar height and stem length can be very fruitful. Small differences, in seat height, one quarter of
    an inch or less can be significant.

    jon isaacs
     
  9. Shabby

    Shabby New Member

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    Due to a lack of self control, I recently took off my big chainring, so now I'm forced to ride a 40x12 as my biggest gear. Which works out at 140rpm at 62.5kph. When the bunch is doing 60 down a hill, you learn to spin.

    I found myself halfway through a crit last week (on my race bike) still in the small chainring, even though we were averaging 39kph.

    Of course if you have self control, just train in your granny gear all the time and it will improve.
     
  10. Shabby

    Shabby New Member

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    But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that low cadences (40 is very low) put more stress on your joints, which in a 78 year old is probably a big concern. A cadence in the 60 to 100 range is likely to be much gentler on the body than grinding away at 40rpm.
     
  11. On Wed, 26 Mar 2003 08:13:06 -0500, Jon Isaacs wrote:

    > There is no doubt that ones riding position can affect how comfortable they are at different
    > cadences. I find that for higher cadences I want the seat just a tad bit lower and a tad further
    > forward.
    >
    > But crank length is a different issue and the tests that have been conducted over a wide range of
    > crank lengths indicate that crank length has basically nothing to do with maximum performance.

    Why, if moving the saddle a "tad" supposedly matters, would you say that crank length does not?

    I recently put 175mm cranks on my track bike. Because they matched the color of the frame. But I
    took them off, and put the 170s back on. I found myself less comfortable, especially on a downhill
    where I am accumstomed to spinning up to 150rpm. I didn't think I would notice, since I had not
    noticed an earlier move from 165 to 170. But there is a point where the cranks get too long.
    >
    > Small differences, in seat height, one quarter of an inch or less can be significant.

    Jon, there is a lack of logic here in saying that 1/4" of seat height can be significant, but 1/4"
    of crank length cannot. Yes, some of it depends on what you are used to, but after all that is part
    of bike fit, too.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics, I can _`\(,_ | assure you that mine
    are all greater. -- A. Einstein (_)/ (_) |
     
  12. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that low cadences (40 is very low) put more stress on
    >your joints, which in a 78 year old is probably a big concern. A cadence in the 60 to 100 range is
    >likely to be much gentler on the body than grinding away at 40rpm.

    It depends on who you are and how hard you are pushing.

    For a 78 year old, it is probably less of an issue than for a younger rider because from a
    realisitic point of view, he has less time to worry about damaging his knees.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  13. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Shabby" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Peter Cole wrote:
    > > Cadence is very much an individual preference anyway, there's no "correct" cadence.
    >
    > But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that low cadences (40 is very low) put more stress on
    > your joints, which in a 78 year old is probably a big concern. A cadence in the 60 to 100 range is
    > likely to be much gentler on the body than grinding away at 40rpm.

    A simple analysis of pedaling indicates that, for a given power output, halving the rpm doubles the
    necessary torque. This doesn't necessarily mean that the higher torque is damaging to the joints.
    Higher cadences require better muscular coordination to keep the applied pedal force (and torque)
    smooth during the stroke, uncoordinated pedaling may result in high peak forces. The best approach
    is not to follow arbitrary rules, but to listen to your body and do what works. For a developing
    cyclist, this is likely to change with time, trying to set a particular pedaling rate at the outset
    doesn't strike me as a useful thing to do.

    As someone who has just spent the winter riding a fixed gear bike, I can attest that high cadences
    are not necessarily kind to the knees. Of course it's a matter of degree and individual physiology,
    which is why I think it's best to find and follow your own needs.
     
  14. Archer

    Archer Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > "Shabby" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Peter Cole wrote:
    > > > Cadence is very much an individual preference anyway, there's no "correct" cadence.
    > >
    > > But there is plenty of evidence to suggest that low cadences (40 is very low) put more stress on
    > > your joints, which in a 78 year old is probably a big concern. A cadence in the 60 to 100 range
    > > is likely to be much gentler on the body than grinding away at 40rpm.
    >
    > A simple analysis of pedaling indicates that, for a given power output, halving the rpm doubles
    > the necessary torque. This doesn't necessarily mean that the higher torque is damaging to the
    > joints. Higher cadences require better muscular coordination to keep the applied pedal force (and
    > torque) smooth during the stroke, uncoordinated pedaling may result in high peak forces. The best
    > approach is not to follow arbitrary rules, but to listen to your body and do what works. For a
    > developing cyclist, this is likely to change with time, trying to set a particular pedaling rate
    > at the outset doesn't strike me as a useful thing to do.

    I can confirm that. I started riding regularly last year for the first time in 20 years or so, and
    found that by the end of the season, my comfortable cadence had increased by about 30%, from around
    60 - 65 to around 75 - 85.

    ....

    --
    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.
     
  15. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Peter Cole wrote:

    > A simple analysis of pedaling indicates that, for a given power output, halving the rpm
    > doubles the necessary torque. This doesn't necessarily mean that the higher torque is damaging
    > to the joints.

    But halving the rpm does fatigue the leg muscles more quickly. This has been demonstrated by
    experiment.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  16. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    "Terry Morse" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Peter Cole wrote:
    >
    > > A simple analysis of pedaling indicates that, for a given power output, halving the rpm doubles
    > > the necessary torque. This doesn't necessarily
    mean
    > > that the higher torque is damaging to the joints.
    >
    > But halving the rpm does fatigue the leg muscles more quickly. This has been demonstrated by
    > experiment.

    Among experienced cyclists who can pedal higher cadences smoothly, yes. My point is that the
    muscular coordination required to do this takes time, beginning cyclists, or infrequent cyclists,
    shouldn't attempt to conform to some "best" cadence. Cadence shouldn't be a concern at all among
    those just beginning to cycle.
     
  17. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    "Peter Cole" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > Cadence shouldn't be a concern at all among those just beginning to cycle.
    >
    Yes it should but maybe not in numbers... more: "keep your pedalling light and brisk". Mark Lee
     
  18. M Gagnon

    M Gagnon Guest

    "ROWCHUCK" <[email protected]> a √©crit dans le message de news:
    [email protected]
    > I have been a rower, but have moved to an area with no water and now
    learning
    > to bike for exercise and pleasure. I am 78 years young. How do I train
    to get
    > my cadence to a higher level? Today, I reach but 40 t0 45 comfartably but notice others doing much
    > more. Thanks in adavance. Rowchuck

    Take your time, and don't worry too much about it. However, a few tricks are useful to improve
    cadence, and they all more or less involve self-discipline.

    Essentially, lower the gear you're in by one or two notches. Being in an easier gear, you'll have
    the feeling it's "too easy" and you will spin a little bit faster. When I trained to improve my
    cadence a few years ago, I was especially careful wen I was facing a headwind. One is used to ride
    in the "high gear", and even in wind, one tries to labour in the same gear instead of trying to spin
    in an easier gear.

    20030324174107. Count the number of downstrokes by the right pedal. For a shorter interval, count
    them during 15 seconds and multiply by 4. Don't aim to high. If you crank at 40-45
    rpm, aim at 50-60 rpm (only). Then, when you are comfortable at that level (say in
    3-4 weeks), you can aim a bit more. If has been said that tourers and commuters are
    generally more efficient and comfortable when spinning at around 90 rpm, with the
    "ideal" number being anywhere between 75-100 rpm. However, I would suggest that
    anything above 60 rpm is good on your knees and also fairly efficient. In other
    words, if you reach 60 rpm, great! If you reach 70 rpm, perfect!

    20030324174108. A cycle computer is a good morale booster. You don't need a fancy one which
    measures cadence; just a basic one. Even basic cycle computers display distance,
    speed and time lapsed (or time of day), usually with seconds. It becomes fairly
    easy to compute cadence. As an added bonus, you will notice that when you spin a
    bit faster, you don't get tired but you go faster. For instance, on a given road,
    if I pedal at 50 rpm, I'll go at 15 km/h; if I spin at 60 rpm, i'll go at 20 km/h
    and if I spin at 70 rpm, I'll go at 22 km/h. Instant gratification! A bit of the
    carrot and stick theory...

    Finally, don't sweat it. The most important aspect is to enjoy bicycling!

    Regards,

    Michel Gagnon
     
  19. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

  20. Tom Keats

    Tom Keats Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, "M Gagnon" <[email protected]> writes:

    > Essentially, lower the gear you're in by one or two notches. Being in an easier gear, you'll have
    > the feeling it's "too easy" and you will spin a little bit faster.

    And that might be when one learns to adapt one's breathing to cycling. Breathing while riding seems
    to me to be a little bit different from breathing while at rest. The post-ride runny nose attests to
    it <g> It might take just a little practice for a beginning spinner to learn to spin faster than
    he/she breathes. In fact, to sort of simultaneously *separate* the two functions.

    But getting LOTS OF good, ol' O2 into the system seems to be key. And the way to do that is to stay
    relaxed above the waist, while exerting below it. I wish I could describe it better. But one quickly
    learns anyway.

    Once you've got the oxygen happening, you can work on the other stuff. And there seems to be a
    coordination of breath-takes, pedal-strokes, and other heave-ho's one might have to do to get over
    hills & humps.

    It's all so readily acquirable, just by doing. For a new rider, a bunch of descriptive words just
    say what's gonna happen. But if that new rider continues to ride, it'll happen anyway, regardless of
    what's said. The words don't really have to be said. Except maybe for a little encouragement. Relax,
    enjoy, & breathe!

    And spin while you're at it.

    (And take along some Kleenex or TP in cooler weather.)

    cheers, Tom

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