Cadence

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Ayesha
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Re: Cadence

Postby Ayesha » 6 Aug 2012, 8:37pm

Mick F wrote:Maybe if you lived somewhere less hilly than here!
63" middle gear of a SA 3sp would make a 47" bottom gear and a 80" top ----- I think.

80" is no use at all for a fast decent, and 47" wouldn't get me out of the Tamar Valley.


:D Middle gear of a Sturmey should be your 'penny' diameter.

Mine is 50".

Ayesha
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Re: Cadence

Postby Ayesha » 6 Aug 2012, 8:40pm

Claireysmurf wrote:
Ash28 wrote:I wonder if experimenting with crank length would help Claireysmurf. I have been riding single speed with 175mm cranks. I find now that I am much more inclined to push higher gears and honk up hills on a geared bike and would say my cadence has decreased. When riding another bike with 170 cranks I find I miss the extra leverage and seem to spin faster.


Is there typically any link between physical height and need for longer or shorter cranks. I am 5ft 11 (180cm) with 31 inch inside leg...so not tiny!


Crank length is recommended to be 18.5% of your hip ball centre height.

This will get you the sweetest leg extension and adduction during the pedalling circle.

michael42
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Re: Cadence

Postby michael42 » 6 Aug 2012, 9:54pm

michael42 wrote:I shall experiment later on a route that has a 20km section up and down the same stretch of bypass. Last (and first) time I did this route I averaged 28km/h on the 10km down, but I stopped for a drink and so got 26km/h on the way back (so better than my average over all and nearly 18mph, but I can't help thinking the guys that average 18mph overall, given the same route would probably be much faster on this section rather than quicker through the villages to and from it) It's not entirely flat (nowhere is I suppose) but it's close.

But, given the experimental 100rpm, I'll try to do the whole thing changing gear based on the 100rpm chart in the above post rather than the 60-80rpm chart I probably use naturally. Going on that chart, if it were perfectly flat, I should be able to do the same average spinning 5th gear the whole way, or spin 6th and aim to do 34km/h as much as possible dropping to 5th only if I can't manage it - and I should forget 7th gear completely unless I can spin it to 40km/h - that would definitely be different to my typical gear use now. I can use the ride to and from the bypass section to warm up and recover.


Ok, well I managed to average 26km/h overall (which is up 2km/h over the last time I did it) and 30km/h down the bypass (which is a couple of k faster as well)

First thing I'd say to anyone else thinking of trying it - make sure you're warmed up well before trying to spin fast. I didn't and I really started to feel it in my lower back early on (perhaps not helped by the route being uphill at that point) and fretted a bit that I wouldn't be able to spin, but I slowed down and after a few miles my back was fine.

It was tough going spinning that fast though. I managed to spin 5th gear to 28km/h without too much trouble (before fatigued), but I didn't really manage to spin 6th to 33km/h on the flat.

I got a steady pace down the bypass at around 31km/h (which is the speed noted @80rpm in 7th, so, given that I was in 6th, I was definitely spinning faster than 80, but not 100)
I felt the effort a lot more, but it also felt good having a pace to push at in a particular gear, one eye on the garmin to check it was saying 31.x+ and pushing if it dropped, or changing down to 5th and spinning that when the terrain called for it.

Coming back down the bypass though I was starting to tire and so I'm spinning at 27-29kph, which is still above the cited 80rpm figure.

Looking at the log, the top speed I hit is actually quite a bit slower than last time, and I note even though I was faster down the bypass there were a few occasions in the first journey where I hit 35+kph in downhill-ish parts. So, I need to experiment with knowing when I can change up and try to spin 7 for a few extra km/h. Although I might leave that and do a few weeks or months just spinning between 5 and 6 as I did tonight and only use 7 when I'm well above 100rpm in 6. At least with the minimal data I currently have, this appears faster, with no training at all, just trying it.

But I guess arguably the small increase could be attributed to other factors - how rested I was, the wind, the fact I've been sat watching my speed and putting in effort when it drops, etc, so I need more data (and different routes too to see how they contrast)

Ribblehead
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Re: Cadence

Postby Ribblehead » 7 Aug 2012, 12:04am

Ribblehead wrote:
meic wrote:In my experience you will always get the grinding practice, it is unavoidable. I have to make an effort to get the spinning practice in.


This is where fixed-wheel makes good sense. Grinding up hills and into head winds builds strength. Spinning on the flat with a tailwind, and going downhill keeps your legs supple.


michael42 wrote:Right, for me to this I'd have to put my bike in one gear and not change it. That's as close as I could get.


It's unfortunate, but you can't really get the full benefit on single-speed. There just isn't the same relentless pressure to keep pedalling. Although most people are aware that fast descents on fixed wheel can be challenging, steep hills are usually over quite quickly, so you'll actually get a lot more spinning on a long gentle downhill while trying to keep up with people who have multiple gears and freewheels. You'd be surprised how much effort is required to give chase to people who are just turning their cranks a few times every 15 seconds, while your own legs are going as fast as they can non-stop!

Those who want to try it on their existing bike can do so if they have a shimano freehub and horizontal drop outs:

http://surlybikes.com/parts/fixxer/

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/surly-fixxer-prod5892/

If you have vertical drop outs a little more expense and commitment is required, although this kind of stuff could almost certainly be sold on Ebay very easily if someone didn't get on with it.

http://whiteind.com/rearhubs/singlespeedhubs.html

michael42 wrote:The question would then be which gear :)


I just took note of what gears I'd been using and when on my multi-geared bike, then chose something appropriate. I use a gear of 65", some people would find that a bit spinny, although I did once meet a guy on 60". I can get up most single chevron hills on that if they're not too long, but I'm a bit of a skinny whippet, so I probably find it easier than most.

michael42 wrote:Although, I've a feeling simply doing hilly routes would be enough for me at this stage, fixed gear would just mean walking up hills and perhaps counter-productive.


Most fixed wheel riders walk now and then. I've walked hills I knew I could ride up as part of a strategy for completing a ride, typically because I was only 25 miles into a long ride and didn't want to use up all my strength when I still had many miles to go. If I'm only going out for 30-40 miles with maybe just one 600ft hill and a few smaller ones I'll attack everything. On quiet roads you can also weave to reduce the gradient.

michael42 wrote:It's not like I lazily spin up hills in first gear now, it's a lot of effort and grind to get up some of them using the lowest gears I've got :)

I'm a bit wary of injury too doing too much standing up and grinding.


Like I said in an earlier comment, you need to be careful with route planning. The gradient profiles available on most online mapping software are good for this. I base all my rides on what I know I've done in the past, plus a bit more if my fitness is on an upward swing. For other peoples rides I inspect the gradient profile first before deciding to join them or not.

Ayesha
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Re: Cadence

Postby Ayesha » 7 Aug 2012, 7:12am

A lot of cyclists forget that there is a certain amount of energy required to move the mass of the legs round in circles.

In its simplest form, Newtons force on the pedal produces torque on the BB shaft, which is transfered to the rear hub via a chaindrive.

What is forgotten is the effort made by the cyclist raising the mass of the leg which is not contributing to forward propulsion.

Good cyclists use this upstroke to their advantage by applying force on the toestraps. In this case, cadence is irellevent. Cyclists who don't pull up on the toestraps are wasting energy with every pedal revolution, so therefore more energy is lost for a higher pedalling rate.

Try an experiment at 175 km into a 200 km Audax. Spin for a while when the road goes flat, then slap the bike in top and roll the pedals round slowly. For the same speed, its a blessed relief.
On my 'Audax' bike, top is 80", which is 65 rpm at 15 mph... that is more relaxing ( and energy conserving ) than 80 rpm in 63"..

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531colin
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Re: Cadence

Postby 531colin » 7 Aug 2012, 7:36am

Ayesha wrote:..........
Try an experiment at 175 km into a 200 km Audax. Spin for a while when the road goes flat, then slap the bike in top and roll the pedals round slowly. For the same speed, its a blessed relief.
On my 'Audax' bike, top is 80", which is 65 rpm at 15 mph... that is more relaxing ( and energy conserving ) than 80 rpm in 63"..


Another experiment, 175 k into 200k, would be to ride an upgrade at 50 rpm in 80" for a while, then slap it into 63"......I guess that would be a blessed relief, too. :wink:

mattsccm
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Re: Cadence

Postby mattsccm » 7 Aug 2012, 11:02am

Didn't the OP mention knees?
Both mine are dodgy, one has a lot of cartlidge missing. Cycling doesn't generally make it hurt but a high cadence does. I am told thats contrary to the norm. Just to point out that the nnorm isn't always right.

Ayesha
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Re: Cadence

Postby Ayesha » 7 Aug 2012, 2:50pm

531colin wrote:
Ayesha wrote:..........
Try an experiment at 175 km into a 200 km Audax. Spin for a while when the road goes flat, then slap the bike in top and roll the pedals round slowly. For the same speed, its a blessed relief.
On my 'Audax' bike, top is 80", which is 65 rpm at 15 mph... that is more relaxing ( and energy conserving ) than 80 rpm in 63"..


Another experiment, 175 k into 200k, would be to ride an upgrade at 50 rpm in 80" for a while, then slap it into 63"......I guess that would be a blessed relief, too. :wink:


If I stood up and pedalled 80" at 50 rpm ( 11 mph ), I reckon I could climb a 5% quite leisurely. Its only 320 Watts. :wink:

michael42
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Re: Cadence

Postby michael42 » 7 Aug 2012, 10:15pm

Ayesha wrote:Good cyclists use this upstroke to their advantage by applying force on the toestraps. In this case, cadence is irellevent. Cyclists who don't pull up on the toestraps are wasting energy with every pedal revolution, so therefore more energy is lost for a higher pedalling rate.


If they have toestraps...


Try an experiment at 175 km into a 200 km Audax. Spin for a while when the road goes flat, then slap the bike in top and roll the pedals round slowly. For the same speed, its a blessed relief.
On my 'Audax' bike, top is 80", which is 65 rpm at 15 mph... that is more relaxing ( and energy conserving ) than 80 rpm in 63"..


Well yeah, walking is more relaxing, it's not necessarily a more efficient use of your energy though (OTOH, you don't necessarily want to be either efficient or relaxed if you're trying to get faster or further than you normally do) e.g the gentleman that puts a breeze block in the back of his trailer and pedals up a big hill obviously realises that it would be easier if he took it out :) even if he really has "forgotten" that cycling uses energy :?

I think meic made a good point too, you need to keep yourself honest - if you're trying to spin at, say, 100 as discussed here, it's easy to slip lower, especially as you get tired, and of course at some point you're between gears, Perhaps spinning at 100 in one or 80 in the one above. It probably does make sense at this point to use the higher gear and stick at that speed, but it's very easy to end up doing 80 in the lower gear and 60 in the higher one - and both of those feel more relaxed still. I've obviously only tried a couple of days now (and got a puncture today) but I think trying for 100 and getting 80 sometimes is better overall than perhaps before where I tended to be in one gear higher whatever the situation.

The point being, getting to 175km of a 200km would currently take me longer than it would be worth doing. I can't average a fast enough speed over 40km, let alone 200km yet. Ergo I need to do something different. Changing into a high gear doing the "same speed" means I'd be relaxed and still slow :) I'm trying to get quicker.

I'm not too fussed, I know there are lots of things to make me faster for "free" (or, more accurately, for the outlay of relatively large amounts of cash at LBS) but you don't need to put in any effort to get them and they are up for grabs whenever you want to buy them.

edit: Not too convinced about thinking in circles either http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutri ... dal-stroke Pedaling is turning up and down motion into circular motion. Your legs aren't going round and round you just need to account for the offset of the pedal (which is what the guy in that article is describing with the ankle position and knee movement). But, again, I'm sure for the outlay of more and more £££ someone will say "your bike is too big / small / the wrong one...you need to move your seat up / down / forwards / backwards....you need to adjust this and that too and wear these magic shoes with the cleats in this exact position blah blah blah..." all great stuff I'm sure, but I can't afford to do any of that, the only thing I can do is get fitter.

Ayesha
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Re: Cadence

Postby Ayesha » 8 Aug 2012, 7:03am

michael42 wrote:
Ayesha wrote:Good cyclists use this upstroke to their advantage by applying force on the toestraps. In this case, cadence is irellevent. Cyclists who don't pull up on the toestraps are wasting energy with every pedal revolution, so therefore more energy is lost for a higher pedalling rate.


If they have toestraps...


Try an experiment at 175 km into a 200 km Audax. Spin for a while when the road goes flat, then slap the bike in top and roll the pedals round slowly. For the same speed, its a blessed relief.
On my 'Audax' bike, top is 80", which is 65 rpm at 15 mph... that is more relaxing ( and energy conserving ) than 80 rpm in 63"..


Well yeah, walking is more relaxing, it's not necessarily a more efficient use of your energy though (OTOH, you don't necessarily want to be either efficient or relaxed if you're trying to get faster or further than you normally do) e.g the gentleman that puts a breeze block in the back of his trailer and pedals up a big hill obviously realises that it would be easier if he took it out :) even if he really has "forgotten" that cycling uses energy :?

I think meic made a good point too, you need to keep yourself honest - if you're trying to spin at, say, 100 as discussed here, it's easy to slip lower, especially as you get tired, and of course at some point you're between gears, Perhaps spinning at 100 in one or 80 in the one above. It probably does make sense at this point to use the higher gear and stick at that speed, but it's very easy to end up doing 80 in the lower gear and 60 in the higher one - and both of those feel more relaxed still. I've obviously only tried a couple of days now (and got a puncture today) but I think trying for 100 and getting 80 sometimes is better overall than perhaps before where I tended to be in one gear higher whatever the situation.

The point being, getting to 175km of a 200km would currently take me longer than it would be worth doing. I can't average a fast enough speed over 40km, let alone 200km yet. Ergo I need to do something different. Changing into a high gear doing the "same speed" means I'd be relaxed and still slow :) I'm trying to get quicker.

I'm not too fussed, I know there are lots of things to make me faster for "free" (or, more accurately, for the outlay of relatively large amounts of cash at LBS) but you don't need to put in any effort to get them and they are up for grabs whenever you want to buy them.

edit: Not too convinced about thinking in circles either http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutri ... dal-stroke Pedaling is turning up and down motion into circular motion. Your legs aren't going round and round you just need to account for the offset of the pedal (which is what the guy in that article is describing with the ankle position and knee movement). But, again, I'm sure for the outlay of more and more £££ someone will say "your bike is too big / small / the wrong one...you need to move your seat up / down / forwards / backwards....you need to adjust this and that too and wear these magic shoes with the cleats in this exact position blah blah blah..." all great stuff I'm sure, but I can't afford to do any of that, the only thing I can do is get fitter.


This says to me that this guys legs would prefer to pedal at lower than 100.
Don't bother TRYING to spin at 100 if you SLIP to 90 or 80 when your mind wanders. Ride at a cadence your legs like, not at where other cyclists tell you to.

Book a free day at a gym. Go on the upright bike. Warm up properly and then set the 'Constant Watts' to 125 ish. Start pedaling and close your eyes. continue pedaling until you feel comfortable with your cadence. Now open your eyes and discover your PREFERED cadence. :D
When you increase the value of 'Constant Watts', your PREFERED cadence will reduce. This is natural, so remember it when you start climbing a hill.

Its easy to fall for the 'technobabble'. You will get more confused than before you started. If you do, scrub "Easy as riding a bike" out of your Oxford Book of Popular Phrases.

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Mick F
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Re: Cadence

Postby Mick F » 8 Aug 2012, 8:39am

Ayesha wrote: Ride at a cadence your legs like, not at where other cyclists tell you to.
My point entirely.

We are all different. One size doesn't suit all.
Mick F. Cornwall

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meic
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Re: Cadence

Postby meic » 8 Aug 2012, 8:55am

That all depends on what you want to achieve or become.

If you train on heavy weights you will become strong but not as fit and your body will prefer to lift heavy weights because that is what you are good at.
If you do speed training with lightweights you will get faster, fitter but less strong muscles. This body will not like pushing enormous weights but will be happy with many faster, lighter repetitions.

Nobody is telling me how to cycle but some weight trainers and cyclists did explain the situation to me and I make my choice to work on my weakness and it does offer benefits.
Yma o Hyd

Ayesha
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Re: Cadence

Postby Ayesha » 8 Aug 2012, 1:02pm

The aspirations of most newbie cyclists is to get to the top of the hill using the gears the bike was supplied with.

More times than not, those gears are a tad high for the bike and rider.

Spinning is out of the question, so low cadence mashing is the only alternative.

I have heared many times that 'mashing' is bad for the knees. It is if the knees move out sideways causing an outward lateral vector of forces. This is not done when climbing several flights of stairs with a heavy bag of shopping, so why do it on a bicycle. Make the knees travel in a straight line between ankle and hip.

Practice 'mashing' by carrying a heavy bag of shopping up several flights of stairs :lol:

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Mick F
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Re: Cadence

Postby Mick F » 8 Aug 2012, 1:04pm

meic wrote:That all depends on what you want to achieve or become.
Yep.

Be what you want to be, but we're all different and we'll get to what we want to be by different routes.
Mick F. Cornwall

Mark1978
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Re: Cadence

Postby Mark1978 » 8 Aug 2012, 1:07pm

Ayesha wrote:The aspirations of most newbie cyclists is to get to the top of the hill using the gears the bike was supplied with.


Yes! It is for me :)