Why is my cadence so high ?

amnesia

Free-wheeling into oblivion...
I have been commuting to work for the past few weeks (lost 10lbs in the process and feel much fitter) and have noticed that I tend to naturally spin the pedals quite fast.

When following another 'roadie' I always seem to be pedalling a lot faster to maintain the same speed. It feels comfortable to me, but I am wondering if it's particularly efficient ?

I am sure I've read that 80 rpm is 'about right' but I reckon I am somewhere between 100 and 120 rpm on the flat (I don't have cadence on my computer).

Any thoughts ? Is it just a question of getting fitter / stronger legs to push higher gearing ?
 

Martok

Klingon on a bike
Location
Watford
I seem to have the opposite problem, my cadence is lower than what is said to be 'about right'. I typically have an average cadence of 70-75 and I rarely go much above 100-110.
 

colinr

Well-Known Member
Location
Norwich
Any thoughts ? Is it just a question of getting fitter / stronger legs to push higher gearing ?
Pretty much. But if it doesn't worry you, stick with what's comfortable, there's no rules on these things.
 
The figure I've heard quoted most often is 90rpm is optimum but I think its being recognised that this is not optimum for everyone.

If you can turn a high cadence it doesn't sound like you've got much of a problem. You may want to flick up a gear on the flat but if you don't feel comfortable with that don't bother and continue with what you feel is comfortable.
 

HJ

Cycling in Scotland
Location
Auld Reekie
amnesia said:
I have been commuting to work for the past few weeks (lost 10lbs in the process and feel much fitter) and have noticed that I tend to naturally spin the pedals quite fast.

When following another 'roadie' I always seem to be pedalling a lot faster to maintain the same speed. It feels comfortable to me, but I am wondering if it's particularly efficient ?

I am sure I've read that 80 rpm is 'about right' but I reckon I am somewhere between 100 and 120 rpm on the flat (I don't have cadence on my computer).

Any thoughts ? Is it just a question of getting fitter / stronger legs to push higher gearing ?
I wouldn't worry about it if it feels comfortable, a lot of rides try to ride over geared with too low a cadence and then wonder why they are struggling and getting knee injuries.
 

toekneep

Senior Member
Location
Lancashire
Everything I have ever read suggests that high cadence is good and easier on the knees. The only reason to be concerned would be if you were trying to increase your average speed simply by spinning faster rather than getting stronger and being able to use a higher gear at a good cadence.
 

arallsopp

Post of The Year 2009 winner
Location
Bromley, Kent
Sounds like you've got the right side of this problem. There are a lot of new bikes on the commute at the moment and a large percentage seem to be pushing too high a gear.

Sure, the 'right' gear and cadence varies from rider to rider, but I must have pulled up at 20 different lights last night to find a roadie in front, stationary, small cog back, big cog front. Lights change, and its weave, wobble, clunk, sweat, wobble, weave, vooooosh... then 'oh' when the rest of us spin past.

If you're comfortable, I wouldn't worry about it. You'll be putting less strain on you and your bike, and if you have to stop suddenly, you'll be more likely to retain control.

If you really want to know your RPMs, you can always count pedal strokes over a known interval (or just temporarily relocate your computer sensors so that they measure your crank instead of wheel).
 

Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
Matty said:
Doesn't a certain Mr. Armstrong have a rather fast cadence?
Neil? I dunno, I've only ever seen him take one small step....

:blush:
 

philipbh

Spectral Cyclist
Location
Out the back
Arch said:
Neil? I dunno, I've only ever seen him take one small step....

:blush:
Apollo 15 had the first Lunar "Buggy" - just think, if the Apollo program had continued beyond 17- would NASA have eventually produced a Lunar Cycle?
 

gaz

Cycle Camera TV
Location
South Croydon
My cadence over an average is around 98rpm. But i have no problem going along at 130rpm

Matty said:
Doesn't a certain Mr. Armstrong have a rather fast cadence?
He is known for being a spinner. that and being 7x tdf winner.
 

Hacienda71

Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire
I used to grind away but over time find spinning gives me slightly higher speeds. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to ride, do what you feel happy with.
 
OP
amnesia

amnesia

Free-wheeling into oblivion...
OK cool - so it looks like I might be normal-ish.

Quite happy spinning and maintaining 18-20mph on the flat so spinning to increase speed isn't the issue. It's just comfortable for me. Spinning on hills is certainly preferable to getting out of the saddle and grinding...

Will keep an eye on it and maybe get a computer with cadence (would like a wireless one anyway) - see if it comes down as I get fitter.

Cheers !

Daniel.
 

GrasB

Veteran
Location
Nr Cambridge
gaz, that 98rpm ave is that on fixed or with cadence pauses? I'm averaging around 100-120rpm but I'm ignoring the time periods when the cadence is below 5rpm


amnesia, if it works for you go with it. The one thing I'd say is that it's worth building up low cadence power because sometimes you don't have enough gears to spin up steep inclines. This leaves you needing to grind out with power & thus you end up standing on the pedals for a mile or so which does your legs no good ime.
 
Hi to you all out there,cadence is an interesting term/reference to the rate of revolutions of the pedals.Riding with a higher rather than lower cadence is the accepted way of getting ones cycle legs back after a period off the bike(it really cannot be achieved any other way),riding a trainer has to be the most boring pastime(unless you live in an area of perpetual rainfall).With an excessively high cadence you are in over-pedalling mode and will lose power and speed and the legs become fatigued.With an excessively low cadence the muscles in the upper and lower legs have a lot of much work to do and will fatigue and can go into spasm and cramp.In the old days a Winter fixed gear was used that promoted a higher cadence(Twiddling) than the regular Summer fixed gear,so much so that it could promote bouncing on the saddle and a very sore arse to-boot.My old Brooks Swallow was my punishment perch.My chosen Winter gear was an 18tooth fixed on a 52tooth chainring on Sprints & Tubs.This was my Winter medication to achieve my Summer Legs when I would then ride a 52/15 or a 52/13 depending on the ride-out.I only went onto multiple gears when I got my 1937 Hetchins Curly back(frame, no forks after it was stolen and stripped)the track ends removed and road drop-outs inserted with widened stays to take a 5speed block and a double chainring up front.Fixed wheel is "probably"(as used in Carlsberg advertising)still the finest way to acquire good strong cycling legs.Happy & Safe Riding to You All.
 
Top Bottom