If you are new to cycling, the concept of cadence may be entirely new. You’ve probably been riding a bike for years with little thought given to the technique behind riding faster, performing better, and taking less stress on your body.
Cadence is the number of revolutions of the bicycle crank per minute or the speed at which you pedal. There are all kinds of rhythms; from 60 revolutions per minute (rmp) to 170rmp. The Sprinter may be close to 170rmp; Lance Armstong prefers to cycle between 90 and 110rmp. You’ll probably pedal slower than Lance! If you want to track, monitor and improve your cadence, the best solution is cycling training combined with a cycle computer.
Most new cyclists think they get a better cycling workout if they push their way through every hit, their quads burn, and they gasp for every breath. It’s very hard on the feet and knees, and inefficient. You want your feet and knees to work for decades, treat them well. Most novice riders have a cadence between 60 and 70rmp. A better range to experiment with is 80 – 100rmp.
Your cycling program should include work and cadence testing. Each rider’s optimal cadence will be unique and may change with cycling training. The physique and proportions of cyclists will determine their preferred cadence. A cycling program may have a significant impact on the most efficient cadence for the rider.
Take this test to understand perceived cadence and effort:
1. Discover a 2-mile stretch of slightly winding road that is protected without distractions.
2. Warm up for at least 15 minutes.
3. Climb the trails with your biggest gear.
4. Record your heart rate and finish time.
5. Recover on the bike for about 20 minutes with easy spinning.
6. Cycle on the road again with the same heart rate. This time opt for a rear gear that is larger, but allows you to keep your cadence at around 100rpm.
7. Record your time.
8. Rest for a day or two.
9. Complete the test in reverse.
10. Compare your times. Usually, a lower gear and a higher cadence will result in a faster time with less effort.
Cycling exercises to improve your cadence:
1. Find the downhill path.
2. Free spin in small gear.
3. Increase your cadence until you start bouncing.
4. Slowly so that the reflection stops.
5. Hold on to the beat.
6. Maintain a smooth pedal stroke for one minute.
7. Paddle up the hill.
9. Use that puller!
10. Switch to medium gear.
11. Increase your cadence gradually to around 100 – 110rpm.
12. Hold for 30 seconds.
13. Gradually to 80rpm.
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