Pedalling styles

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Gabbo
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Pedalling styles

Postby Gabbo » Mon Oct 29, 2012 22:55 pm

I've noticed that regardless of speed, many cyclists have different pedalling styles. Some prefer a high cadence in a lower gear whereas others prefer a lower cadence in a very high gear.

Personally I find a slightly higher cadence in a lower gear easier, but why is beyond me.

As stupid as the question may seem, why could this be? Is it related to mechanics or power? Or both?

Thanks

ps.. what is your pedalling style?

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Sprool
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby Sprool » Mon Oct 29, 2012 23:13 pm

Most agree that 75 - 85 is a good efficient cadence. If you can keep cadence high then you are using a lower gear to achieve a specific velocity. If you are using a lower gear then there is less strain on the joints and muscles don't have to work so hard, just like pulleys work to lessen the force needed to lift a mass.

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diy
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby diy » Tue Oct 30, 2012 06:33 am

Just like different engines have different efficiencies at different rpm the same is true for people.

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Sprool
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby Sprool » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:51 am

faster cadence harder work on the heart and lungs, while pushing hard on the bigger gears gets your muscles working more, leading to lactic acid build up. Its about finding the midway balance between these 2 efforts that you are comfortable with.

FlacVest
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby FlacVest » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:47 pm

Sprool wrote:faster cadence harder work on the heart and lungs, while pushing hard on the bigger gears gets your muscles working more, leading to lactic acid build up. Its about finding the midway balance between these 2 efforts that you are comfortable with.


Depends on what you mean by "working more" and "pushing hard". If you have stronger legs in genral, you wont have that same buildup of acid and you can push that larger gear with ease; having a strong heart helps with this as well.

Some people just push the big gear because they can and feel no need to spin; it's all relative to your fitness anyway.

TakeTurns
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby TakeTurns » Tue Oct 30, 2012 13:14 pm

At a low cadence you'll be burning more carbs and result in greater glycogen depletion due to the high intensity of the stroke.

Compared to slower cadences, the higher pedaling speeds are more economical and burn more fat during exercise. Ultimately, the high pedaling rates also preserve greater amounts of glycogen in fast-twitch muscle fibers, leading to more explosive "kicks" to the finish line in closing moments of races.

I used to ride around the 75 mark but have started to improve my cadence since I've gotten a garmin to track it. 80-85 is the sweet spot for me.

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drlodge
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby drlodge » Tue Oct 30, 2012 14:14 pm

My average cadence is around 90, on the flat I'm pushing nearer 100, up hill it'll go as low as 60-70. Everyone is different - I hate grinding big gears as I don't have the strength, hence I tend to be more of a spinner.
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AchillesLeftKnee
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby AchillesLeftKnee » Tue Oct 30, 2012 14:30 pm

Much, much more of a spinner than a grinder here. The knees won't let me do the latter, or at least they will at the time but the after effects aren't exactly enjoyable. I suspect it's also in part down to the mountain biking and the need to avoid combining things like climbs, dodgy surfaces, and big gobs of power.
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amaferanga
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby amaferanga » Tue Oct 30, 2012 14:34 pm

Sprool wrote:Most agree that 75 - 85 is a good efficient cadence. If you can keep cadence high then you are using a lower gear to achieve a specific velocity. If you are using a lower gear then there is less strain on the joints and muscles don't have to work so hard, just like pulleys work to lessen the force needed to lift a mass.


Do they? 75rpm is borderline mashing.
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cougie
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby cougie » Tue Oct 30, 2012 15:07 pm

"People on bikes" do about 60 rpm. When you get into cycling more often - the cadence goes up. I think its more efficient spinning - but some people do very well on huge gears.

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AchillesLeftKnee
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby AchillesLeftKnee » Tue Oct 30, 2012 15:13 pm

cougie wrote:http://philsroadbikingblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/huge-front-chain-ring-77-teeth.html

And with diddy crank arms as well!
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fgaffney
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby fgaffney » Tue Oct 30, 2012 19:04 pm

My average cadence works out between 92 and 94 and I tend to change up or down gears when I'm between 87 & 89 or 98 & 100.

I've just always found it much more comfortable to spin rather than mash.

mike6
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby mike6 » Tue Oct 30, 2012 19:55 pm

Yes, I am a spinner. Probably because I have a good aerobic threshold, but am also light and small framed so mashing big gears is not really an option I find 90 to 100 right for me but I did a lot of practice and trial and error on the turbo one winter.

I also find spinning a small gear on hills to be better for me than mashing or riding out of the saddle. Most of the pro's spin high cadence. The exceptions seem to be the more powerfully built riders in the peloton, so if you are that body type, naturally, pushing big gears might work for you.

hstiles
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby hstiles » Wed Oct 31, 2012 06:15 am

I made a conscious effort to increase my cadence. I tend to keep it hovering round the 95-100 mark. If I'm working on the turbo I will maintain a cadence of around 120rpm with a few very fast efforts, pushing it up to 150+ for short bursts

Benefits
I've developed much better seated acceleration, which is far more efficient than trying to accelerate out of the saddle in a high gear.
Much less fatigue, which is important for me as I typically ride 6 days a week (commute plus weekend ride).
Better aerobic workout. If I want to focus on strength training, then I do specific workouts to improve strength.

racingcondor
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby racingcondor » Wed Oct 31, 2012 13:26 pm

Mine seems to average out at 88 on rides up to about 50 miles. Long rides (like Dragon Ride) fatigue (and bloody big hills) sets in and it will drop to 80. Crits I tend to find I spin closer to 100 (helps match the accellerations without building up too much fatigue).

I need to get back to working on it though as I took up track this year and found myself spinning out on one of the club bikes (48-16 I think and trying to hold 130ish for 1/2 lap. Bounce, bounce, bounce...).

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sub55
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby sub55 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 15:03 pm

Sprool wrote:Most agree that 75 - 85 is a good efficient cadence. If you can keep cadence high then you are using a lower gear to achieve a specific velocity. If you are using a lower gear then there is less strain on the joints and muscles don't have to work so hard, just like pulleys work to lessen the force needed to lift a mass.


:roll: Most agree that 75 - 85 is on the slow side
constantly reavalueating the situation and altering the perceived parameters accordingly

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sub55
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby sub55 » Wed Oct 31, 2012 15:12 pm

Sprool wrote:faster cadence harder work on the heart and lungs, while pushing hard on the bigger gears gets your muscles working more, leading to lactic acid build up. Its about finding the midway balance between these 2 efforts that you are comfortable with.


NO
lactate acid is produced when your muscles are burning more fuel " glucome" then can be supported by the available oxygen delivered to the muscles within the hemoglobin .
Spinning at a high cadence when you haven't got a cardiovascular system developed enough to support it will produce lactate acid. Not pushing big gears.
constantly reavalueating the situation and altering the perceived parameters accordingly

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Sprool
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby Sprool » Wed Oct 31, 2012 16:32 pm

that'll teach me for plagiarising someone else's earlier post in another thread :D
Seriously though - 85 cadence on the slow side?

karlth
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby karlth » Wed Oct 31, 2012 16:48 pm

sub55 wrote:
Sprool wrote:faster cadence harder work on the heart and lungs, while pushing hard on the bigger gears gets your muscles working more, leading to lactic acid build up. Its about finding the midway balance between these 2 efforts that you are comfortable with.


NO
lactate acid is produced when your muscles are burning more fuel " glucome" then can be supported by the available oxygen delivered to the muscles within the hemoglobin .
Spinning at a high cadence when you haven't got a cardiovascular system developed enough to support it will produce lactate acid. Not pushing big gears.


This is absolutely true. I have a low lung capacity (stove in chest*) and find that my legs ache more at a higher cadence than at a lower. Fortunately I have many years fell-walking behind me which have given me relatively strong leg muscles. Hence I'm a bit more of a grinder than a spinner, especially uphill where I'm actually more comfortable at 45-55 RPM up a 12% than doing the same speed at 70-80.

*did worse even than the smokers at underwater swimming at school.

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Sprool
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Re: Pedalling styles

Postby Sprool » Wed Oct 31, 2012 19:23 pm

strangely opposite for me, grinding tall gears uphill make my thighs and knees burn, I soon run out of energy. I'm better keeping momentum going with a faster cadence and a smaller gear.


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