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Upping my cadence.

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Upping my cadence.

Old 08-15-06, 09:24 AM
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duhhuh
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Upping my cadence.

Since the search button isn't working, and this group is definitely the ones with the most experience and also the most approachable, how do I go about getting my cadence up? I am riding a Raleigh Technium with a 50/34 crankset and a 28/24/21/18/16/14/12 cassette. On the flats I have to stay in 50/14 and even 50/16 to try to keep to an 80 or 90 rpm cadence. When I go to 50/12 my cadence drops to 60 to 66. I am sure it is a matter of conditioning, but what regimen should I pursue to get to that? I have tried to just pedal faster, but that ain't working. LOL. Anyhoo, anybody got any thoughts on some ways to improve cadence? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-15-06, 09:34 AM
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Fast Pedal, One Leggers, but to get the dynamics of it down in a 'no fail' way, get a fixed gear and a couple hills. You have no choice but to improve your cadence. There's another thread farther down about it...check it out, search isn't working at present I think...
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Old 08-15-06, 09:43 AM
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In a recent issue of Bicycling, a cycling coach recommended doing interval training, with fast cadence bursts.
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Old 08-15-06, 10:19 AM
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Thanks guys. Looks like I need to mix it up more and not just the long flats in high gear. I'll give it a try and see if things don't improve. (Of course they will.)
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Old 08-15-06, 11:06 AM
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I would continue to work on higher teeth gears and try moving your cadence up. You would need to maintain 25mph to spin 90rpm at 50/14. That is a pretty fast speed unless you are in a group. Even 50/16 is 22mph at 90rpm.

I normally ride around 52/21 @ 95rpm - 52/17 @ 90rpm for 18.5mph - 22mph. In a fast group ride I may get down to 52/14 @ 100rpm for 30mph but that is drafting someones wheel and pushing really hard. Higher cadence is easier in lower teeth gears but you have to be strong enough to maintain those speeds. Once you get above 19 or so anything over 100rpm makes me dizzy.
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Old 08-15-06, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by stonecrd
I would continue to work on higher teeth gears and try moving your cadence up. You would need to maintain 25mph to spin 90rpm at 50/14. That is a pretty fast speed unless you are in a group. Even 50/16 is 22mph at 90rpm.

I normally ride around 52/21 @ 95rpm - 52/17 @ 90rpm for 18.5mph - 22mph. In a fast group ride I may get down to 52/14 @ 100rpm for 30mph but that is drafting someones wheel and pushing really hard. Higher cadence is easier in lower teeth gears but you have to be strong enough to maintain those speeds. Once you get above 19 or so anything over 100rpm makes me dizzy.

Easy way I found to up the cadence is to stay off the BIG Gears. 50/14 is a big gear in my opinion. I ride a Tandem that has a cadence meter and 48/12 is cadence of 100 and 30 mph. Bit too high a cadence so we drop down to around 90 but then cannot pull the 12 so drop down to 17-or lower. The road bikes still struggle to stay with us and to be honest the only time we use that 48/12 is downhill.


Right how to get the cadence up---- Get to a speed and gear that you are comfortable with- May be your 50/14--On a pretty flat road. Keep the speed up but change down one gear. Same speed but higher cadence. Initially you will not be able to do it for long, but keep attempting it. It will feel strange and unconfortable but practice improves (Can't say makes perfect as it doesn't as my age). This will rely on you keeping a constant speed so hope you have a computer.
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Old 08-15-06, 01:20 PM
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From your post I assume that you have a cadence readout on your cyclocomputer? I also assume that your riding clipless pedals (or at least toe clips)? Those are pretty critical as starters.

There's few things you can do to work on cadence. Generally it's easiest and best to do these on solo rides to avoid trying to keep up with a pace line.

Learn to use the full pedal stroke. Baggsy mentions pedaling with one leg which is a great way to learn to do that. Do it in 1-3 minute intervals and alternate legs-it is easiest to do this on a trainer. Get the feel and teach the legs to use the whole pedal stroke.

Consciously spin a much higher cadence using both legs....drop down to the gear that let's you keep a cadence of 95-100.....you're not concerned about speed for now........just your heart rate and cadence. Do some 20-30 mile rides while just spinning the cadences in those ranges. I prefer to do these types of exercises on a trainer as I can alter the gearing and control the heart rate better but it will work out on the road just as well.

BTW-my optimum speeds and outputs are while my cadence is around 85 rpm. We're all different but I've found from time trials that at 85 rpm and on the flats, that is the gear that I'm strong enough to push for a pretty long time. It does run the heart rate up but that's the idea in TT's!!

When I started riding I trained myself to ride with a cadence of 90+ but over the last year or so it has dropped a little as my legs have gotten a little stronger and can hold a little harder gear.

I hope this helps!
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Old 08-15-06, 01:29 PM
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To up my cadence i did a few different things
I rode my single speed @ least twice a week 46/16 gearing. Up hill I pushed as hard as possible
down hill I spun as fast as my legs would allow, until I spun out or was bouncing off of the saddle.

The other 4 days I would ride my other bikes in my 39-16-17 up hill and down hill as well as intervals up hills in a 39/19 or 39/21. These rides icluded long rides of 50- miles or more, and on flats I would spin in my Big ring 53/19. I did this every other week, the weeks I did not practice this it would be 2 days of a recovery ride the other 2 days at my normal clip with less mileage/distance.
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Old 08-15-06, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jppe
BTW-my optimum speeds and outputs are while my cadence is around 85 rpm. We're all different but I've found from time trials that at 85 rpm and on the flats, that is the gear that I'm strong enough to push for a pretty long time. It does run the heart rate up but that's the idea in TT's!!
I also find that 85-95 is my sweet spot. I tend to spin more when I am pulling and push a bigger gear at lower cadence when I am drafting. I like the additional torque the bigger gear gives me to close gaps when chasing. I am almost always chasing when the group gets above 25mph I don't have the legs to pull for more than minute at that speed but I can hang on up to about 32mph, on flats. I have not found the ability to go any faster than that and it would require high cadence in big gears. Some day.
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Old 08-16-06, 06:12 PM
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Really isn't that hard to learn. Just try a series of 30 second faster by 10 rpm's. Do as many as you can, your legs will hurt and you may think they will drop off. They won't, but it sure feels like it. Set a goal of doing say 3 day 1, 5 day 2, 5 day 3, and 10 days 4 and 5. By then you should work on extending the length of time you can pedal faster. DO NOT try to keep the same speed, this is muscle training and not speed. Drop to a lower gear. After about 7 to 10 days, you should be able to ride at the new cadence. Now you can alternate or use either the old cadence or your newer faster cadence. Next will be adding power at faster cadence so you can go faster.
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Old 08-16-06, 07:51 PM
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Try a spinning class in the off season.....

Just don't force it. I always see this one guy trying to do a high cadence and he's not quite ready for it.... he's bouncing on that saddle like it's made of Flubber.
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Old 08-16-06, 08:08 PM
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Buy a fixie. Find the steepest, longest hill within 100 miles. Get someone to drop you off at the top. Click in. Accelerate. Guaranteed that your cadence will increase. Finito.
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Old 08-22-06, 02:18 PM
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Well, THANKS everyone! I have tried to apply just about all this info (except I don't have a fixie) and I am already seeing some results. I am beginning to spin around 85 in the 50/16 gear and when I am fresh can hold it in 50/14 for a while. Found the intervals helpful and staying in the higher gears helpful also. I guess I just have to realize I don't have the legs for 50/14 and 50/12 yet, but I can see improvement and it is coming. Once again, thanks everyone for the info and encouragement. This is about one fine place to be, great bunch of fellows and gals here.
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Old 08-23-06, 10:49 AM
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I wonder if it might be more conditioning than riding style. A cadence of 80 in your 50/14 is roughly the same speed (effort) as the 65 (actually 68) cadence in your 50/12. Both of which, as pointed out by others, are some pretty big gears. Many of us would love to be able to push a 50/12 at 90 rpm on the flats
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Old 08-23-06, 01:19 PM
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I'll try to keep at 90 cadence when on a ride with my wife, I am riding behind her as she likes to look around a lot. The speed isn't great but it allows me to spin to keep the cadence up to stay with her and I enjoy the company.
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Old 09-08-06, 09:40 PM
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Just to give a little feedback to all who were kind enough to help me...
85 to 90 feels about right now and when I drop down to 80 or below, it is as if I feel guilty or something. Been doing more with the Trek, 30/42/52 and 12/25 cassette, so I have enough gears to keep the cadence where I want it. The two primary rides I have been working on have several rolling hills and each one has a 12% climb, somewhat short, 1/2 mile or so, but still enough for me to be able to find my LT. Average speed is around 15.5 now on these rides and I am pretty comfortable on the flats at about 19-20 mph. Thanks again for the advice, really helping.
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Old 09-08-06, 10:15 PM
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Here is my contribution to your quest:
The Search function works again.
Other than that, a great way to learn discipline is a resistance trainer. I got a CycleOps FL 2. At 17 MPH and 90 RPM I find it is hard work if you do it for a few hours. Going down with RPM but maintain speed is hard on the legs, going up with the RPM and same speed is also hard. On a trainer you have nothing else to do than watch that. BTW, I use a HRM and it reads 125 for this task. This skill and discipline transfers easy to the road.
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Old 09-11-06, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by duhhuh
Just to give a little feedback to all who were kind enough to help me...
85 to 90 feels about right now and when I drop down to 80 or below, it is as if I feel guilty or something. Been doing more with the Trek, 30/42/52 and 12/25 cassette, so I have enough gears to keep the cadence where I want it. The two primary rides I have been working on have several rolling hills and each one has a 12% climb, somewhat short, 1/2 mile or so, but still enough for me to be able to find my LT. Average speed is around 15.5 now on these rides and I am pretty comfortable on the flats at about 19-20 mph. Thanks again for the advice, really helping.
As for the 50/34 compact I would suggest that you change it to either a 50/36 with the same cassette or a 48/34 with possibly a smaller cassette. This would give you a better choice of mid-range gearing and make the inner chainring more useful. The ratio jumps would not be as severe when changing the front.

Al
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Old 09-14-06, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Al1943
As for the 50/34 compact I would suggest that you change it to either a 50/36 with the same cassette or a 48/34 with possibly a smaller cassette. This would give you a better choice of mid-range gearing and make the inner chainring more useful. The ratio jumps would not be as severe when changing the front.

Al
Thanks, I like that idea. There are some pretty radical ratio changes there and your advice is sound.
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