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Does anyone spin?(16 posts)

Does anyone spin?NewDayNewWay
Feb 6, 2003 8:07 PM
I mean besides myself, and a few guys I ride with on Saturday.

With very rare exception, everyone I see on the road is riding with a cadence of 80 RPM or lower. From what I've been hearing and reading, high cadence is the way to go, and I would personally attest that despite being a newbie that I can now cover greater distances with less discomfort since placing a focused effort on spinning at least 90 RPM.

So is it the case that none of these people I see have discovered the secret of using a higher cadence? (But I can't understand that because they all dress much better than I do and their bikes are much more expensive than mine!)
re: Does anyone spin?superdog
Feb 6, 2003 8:18 PM
I try to keep it right around 100 rpms. On hills I sometimes get down to 80. On REALLY steep hills maybe 60. In races I often find myself as high as 120.
Feb 6, 2003 8:47 PM
Its hard for me to get down to 80 unless the road is like this /
Completely personalPODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Feb 6, 2003 8:47 PM
Basically it comes down to not mimicking the pros. So don't mimmick Lance (it should also be said don't mimmick Ullrich - at least if your riding 20,000 km a year). But anyway it comes down to how efficien you are pedalling at higher RPM's.

If your muscles can't fire fast enough to effectively ankle like they do at 80 RPM then your spinning away some of your power at 100 RPM. Over time if you want a challenge though try to increase your average cadence but don't decide to do it because its better... in all honesty it is not.

Completely personalkoala
Feb 7, 2003 4:23 AM
I have always been a spinner. Even way before Lance. Racers always touted it as a way to ride farther fresher.
Spinning also requires some aerobic fitness.dzrider
Feb 7, 2003 7:18 AM
Many people aren't able to spin because they aren't in good enough overall condition and spinning elevates their heart rate more than they can maintain. They slow their cadence because they are out of breath more than because their legs can't keep moving. I've also observed, but never actually tried to verify by counting, that short people tend to spin faster than tall people. There is probably on optimal cadence for each of us, but you're right that isn't the same for everybody and isn't written in stone by God at birth.
100 rpm (nm)Mariowannabe
Feb 7, 2003 4:52 AM
re: Does anyone spin?fbg111
Feb 7, 2003 5:20 AM
I spin in the mid 80's. I'm not strong enough yet to spin at a lower gear/faster mph, but my goal is to continue lowering the gears while achieving a decent spin. I also have problems with bouncing at higher cadences. I spin as fast as I can till my legs can't keep up with the pedals and bounce a bit on this seat. I guess that's what Nick meant by muscles firing fast enough to "effectively ankle" at higher rpms?
re: Does anyone spin?commuterguy
Feb 7, 2003 5:38 AM
I do (generally >100 rpm). Furthermore, I have noticed--generally--that the younger and more serious the cyclist, the higher the cadence. I have come across novice cyclists who seem to be around 30 rpm (how their knees much ache!).

Related point: standard road bike gearing (53 and 39 teeth up front, 12-23 or so in back) is just too tall most recreational cyclists. My standard cruising speed is high teens/low 20s, generally in 39x17.
This is one of those 'conventional wisdom' axiomsOldEdScott
Feb 7, 2003 6:01 AM
that cycling is so rife with. Everyone just accepts the delivered wisdom that spinning is better, pretty much the faster the better.

Fact is, if you want to be an all-round cyclist (or even if you don't) there are many cadences for many purposes. There are times when 50-60 is called for, and times when 110 is called for. There are times when it just doesn't matter. "Always spin 90 or better" is nonsense. But I guess it nourishes the obsessive-compulsive streak in most cyclists' psychological makeup.
I agreehrv
Feb 7, 2003 7:41 AM
Why only spin fast? Unless you're a track racer or want to set a 'roller riding speed record' then isn't it good to mix it up and use different muscle groups?

There are some hills where I live that I'm lucky to get to the high 40's in a 39 - 27. I also enjoy throwing in some overgeared riding in my training program, as an on-bike strength training tool. The cadence then is 50 - 60.
At the other end it's way fun to see how high I can get my cadence (192 so far). It's all good.

If I had to guess my average cadence I suppose it would be
in the range 85 - 95.
I agreeJon Billheimer
Feb 7, 2003 8:13 AM
Kris Tilford in an article entitled "Pace Judgment in Time Trials" notes that if you train both extremes of cadence, big slow gears at heavy resistance and very high cadence spinning, everything in between seems to take care of itself. An interesting point, no?

The idea that 90 rpm is the optimum cadence came from some research that showed an optimum heartrate/power output relationship. The researchers concluded (only partially correctly btw) that that cadence range therefore had the lowest energy cost and thus is the most economical cadence. On the other hand, a poster awhile back posted a table of times, gearing, and cadences for all one hour world records going way back to the '40s. Interestingly, everyone was spinning in the 105 rpm range.

One other note, the idea that 100 or 110 rpm, etc. has anything to do with the nervous system's ability to fire muscles in sequence is total nonsense. Slow twitch muscle fibres can fire fast enough to sustain cadences in the 120 rpm range.

It seems that everyone has an optimum spin rate combining power/energy cost with recoverability, and that that range is somewhere between 90 and 110. Obviously, most people are not going to be Lance-type spinners on hills, though.
Yup since late '70'stoomanybikes
Feb 7, 2003 6:25 AM
Started "serious" riding in the late '70's at University.

I've always ridden at an average pedal cadence of 100 to 110 rpm.

The riding is easier, the distances are greater, the aerobic benefit is greater, the ride is a whole lot more fun.

The only way to ride, I almost feel pain when I see people cranking along the side of the road in the biggest gear they can move at a cadence of 30 or 40 - OUCH!!!!!!!
Feb 7, 2003 8:50 AM
I have been spinning ever since I took up serious cycling about 2 years ago because it is what everyone who had any experience told me to do. They said "If your legs hurt, spin, and if your lungs hurt, mash" and after trying to lood at it that way, I find the the balance of the two is about 95 rpm. That is MY optimal cadence that allows me to maintain the speed I want without overexerting myself. I don't spin well up hills, but that may be because I wiegh almost 200.
Feb 7, 2003 9:14 AM
I generally ride with a cadence in the 95-100 range, although lower on steep climbs. It works for me. However, one of the strongest climbers I know is a real masher. He's a skinny guy and has had knee problems in the past, but mashing seems to work for him. It's probably good for me he doesn't spin, or he would drop me even worse. Another person I occasionally ride with is a poor climber and also mashes on the climbs. I have tried to tactfully suggest that she try spinning at a higher cadence, but she keeps mashing away. In her case, I think spinning would help a lot because she gets tired and slows down throughout our group rides, and I am certain it's from mashing up the hills in big gears.
Feb 7, 2003 12:20 PM
generally spin at 90+ too -- until the onset of a steep hill.