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Cadence too high?(16 posts)

Cadence too high?Snyder
Jan 16, 2003 5:14 PM
Is there a reson why I should practice lowering my cadence? I become uncomfortable when my cadence drops below 90. I ride with a group, and am able to hang with them ok, even in the sprint. I recently rode a century with one other rider in 5 hours taking turns pulling. I have a running background and have good lungs, but lack leg strength. Again my question is, is there a reason to practice riding with a slower cadence?
re: Cadence too high?ASiegel993
Jan 16, 2003 5:36 PM
I also had this question. When I first got a cadence comp, I found that my cadence tended to be around 100rpm once I got warmed up and loose. If you can hang in the bunch during a sprint, then there's zero need to change your pedaling style. I noticed that in a group, my cadence slows a bit, down towards 90rpm, but whenever I ride by myself (I don't go fast in the groups i ride with since it's winter) my cadence remains high. The higher the cadence, the more blood is allowed to reach your muscles, since you minimize the amount of time that your legs spend in the position where bloodflow is compromised. High cadence is a good thing, and if you have good lungs and a good heart, then you'll make the best of your spinning style. If you notice that you need to finish stronger in the sprints, then develop leg strength, but not by pedaling slower... lift or do resistance training.
no, butKerry
Jan 16, 2003 5:42 PM
Your cadence is what most riders should be striving for. If you lack leg strength, then do some strength drills. Just riding at lower cadence will NOT make your legs stronger. Good strength drills include stomp intervals (start in a big gear from a near dead stop), hill intervals (seated climbing for 5-10 minutes at a hard pace), sprints (less than 1 minute efforts at max exertion in a gear you can just spin out at the end of the sprint), speed intervals of 3 minutes on, 3 off (very hard pace) and distance intervals of 10-20 minutes hard with 10 minutes or so of recovery. These will get you strength and speed.
or just ride in the hills on a fixed gear (nm)Ray Sachs
Jan 17, 2003 4:55 AM
In the same boatTig
Jan 16, 2003 6:17 PM
I've had a relatively high cadence for years and am a small framed 130 lb rider. Thanks to an excellent abundance of fast-twitch muscle fiber I can sprint well, but have problems keeping up with the pre-sprint build up pace when the group hits around 27 MPH and higher. I'm also not the greatest time trialer either. I also had trouble climbing steeper climbs. Lack of leg strength was obvious. I'm still not where I need to be, but am improving.

Fixed gear riding into head winds and climbs using a 39 X 15 gear combo has made a big difference in my power output. I don't belong to a gym and weight training is gladly a thing of the past. Weight training works, but it isn't very cycling specific. That's where being forced to climb in one gear pays off. It is hard to have the discipline to stay in one gear when we have other easier ones to bail out to. It can be done though. I ride with a few guys who are hard core enough to do it every week. That takes a very solid base fitness though.

Spinning at higher speeds in a fast group, a good tail wind, or downhill improves my pedal stroke smoothness and efficiency as well.

I've noticed that when I switch back to my geared bike I'm able to ride at lower cadences without leg soreness, yet can still spin fast and sprint like never before. I've gone from an OK climber to a fairly strong one in just 2 months. You can find a training method that works for you as well. Kerry has some excellent training suggestions. Just be sure to not neglect your natural high cadence.
Strength issuePODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jan 16, 2003 6:33 PM
Why do you not like riding at lower cadences? Does it become too muscularly fatigueing. Sorry thats the only reason I can possibly thing of. If it is time in the weight room will help this dramatically.

Strength issueSnyder
Jan 16, 2003 9:29 PM
It is not that I do not like riding at lower cadence, I just seem to find myself at 90 - 100 rpm's on a regular basis. I like to do longer rides, and it seems to be the most comfortable rate. However I may try racing a bit this spring, just for fun, and I'm wondering if always riding in a high cadence will be detrimental(sp?).
Depends on what your weakness isPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jan 16, 2003 10:11 PM
If your weakness is strength then spinning at a high cadence is good. I know a girl who couldn't even get into the big ring on her road bike so she just spun away in her smallest chainring.

On the other side of things if you have the strength but not a smooth stroke then at higher cadences your efficiency plummets.

Basically it comes to riding where comfortable. Then if you want a challenge play around with it. Even do a 5 km TT on 2 seperate days one at 80 rpm... another at 100 rpm keeping a certain hr and see which your time is better on.

So when I hit 130 to 140Manicmtbr
Jan 17, 2003 8:06 AM
during an attack, am I spinning way too much. I can spin at that cadence for minutes at a time. It that a bad thing?
Jan 17, 2003 5:24 PM
Are your hips level and your pedal stroke as smooth as it is at your average cadence?

How does it feel to respond to an attack by dropping it into a bigger gear?

Although this isn't necessesarily bad it can be an indicator time in the weight room or a bit different program could be beneficial... more strenth doesn't have to mean more size and more strength will alow you to push a bigger gear longer. This means when your fatigued from spinning really fast you can drop it into a bigger gear and grind it out at your normal cadence... a definite good thing to be able to do.

Interesting idea, compairing TT hr's at different cadence...Snyder
Jan 17, 2003 2:13 PM
I know with myselfPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jan 17, 2003 5:15 PM
When I'm doing a group ride and my hr is getting too high I just pop it into my biggest gear and my heart rate drops like a rock.

Strength issuelaffeaux
Jan 16, 2003 10:18 PM
That's a bit like asking someone that pedals slowly why they don't like riding at higher cadences.

Like the original poster, ny natural cadence is from about 92-104. If I'm just cruising along, and look at my bike computer, I'm in the low to mid 90's. If I'm trying to go fast I'm just over 100. It's just what feels right.
I think we got this thing all backwards.wasabekid
Jan 16, 2003 10:07 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong and apologies in advance because this is my recolection (from ~20yrs ago):

As a wise coach once said: Don't worry too much about your cadence, instead...concentrate on attaining an efficient (360 deg) pedal stroke and higher cadence will follow instinctively.

The rationale behind this is: that if you concentrate (to the point of worrying) too much about your cadence is that, your natural instinct is to increase your cadence without paying attention to your mechanics.
Whereas, if you first concentrate on attaining efficient pedal stroke higher cadence will naturally result. A simplified drill example is to pull back then lift your left leg when starting power stroke (@11 o'clock position) with the right leg. This will save a (~30-45#) dead wt per stroke on the right leg, not counting the pulling action that your left leg will contribute as you become more efficient. Keep doing this (training) throughout the 360 deg stroke and eventually add back the 30-45# each stroke (higher gear) and pretty soon you'll be pedalling with same leg power @ higher cadence BECAUSE you have a more EFFICIENT stroke.

The reason that high cadence (it should actually be reffered to as: efficient padalling technique) is recomended :

1) it encourages more participation/involvement of other leg muscles, instead of (mainly) just quads (stomping action).

2) The pedalling stroke (muscle twitching=pumping action) helps pump the blood that otherwise will have to be accomplished by your heart.

3)Over the longterm the payoff would be less stress on knee due to more efficient work load distribution to your other muscles.

JMHO as my failing memory serves me.
That is exactly what I've discovered...joekm
Jan 17, 2003 5:01 AM
I do most of my cadence proctice on rollers and try to "tune out" the pulses in the roller whine. As soon as I start focusing on trying to be smooth, my cadence starts creeping up. Of course, fast for me is 90 rpm and, according to a lot of posters here, that's still slow.
On-bike strength training: Low cadence climbs, hillervals IMO nmSpunout
Jan 17, 2003 4:13 AM