Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: csykes on March 19, 2011, 07:01:12 pm

 
Title: Cadence Question
Post by: csykes on March 19, 2011, 07:01:12 pm
I am a recreational Roadie who hopes to begin some light (credit card) touring reasonably soon.  I was wondering about cadence.  On the road bike I try to pedal 85 to 95 rpm which is comfortable for me.  I understand that it is different with a loaded bike and that touring bikes have wider and lower gears. Do cycle tourists typically pedal in this range?
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: knolltop on March 19, 2011, 07:16:44 pm
I too use cadence of 85-105 when riding the go-fast bike.
Don't have cadence monitor on touring bike, but try to do same pedal rate. 

I'm prone to knee issues.  Maintaining 85+ is my way of assuring not using too high gear and, therefore, avoiding those knee issues.

Also, peddling @ 100+  (without bouncing on seat) during training rides is way of of developing smoother stroke which can then also be employed at lower cadences.  Smooth stroke reduces wasted effort/energy. 
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: Tourista829 on March 19, 2011, 07:38:49 pm
80 rpm flats 90-100 rpm up hills
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: John Nelson on March 19, 2011, 09:09:55 pm
Everybody has their natural cadence, some high, some low. It  can be modified somewhat with practice if you want to. I would guess that most people have a slightly different cadence on a loaded touring bike, but probably not a big difference.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: Pat Lamb on March 19, 2011, 09:34:30 pm
I normally ride in the 80s when unloaded, but when you've loaded up and are climbing, sometimes you run out of gears.

I found I could drop down to a cadence of about 70 with a load before my knees started talking back.  If I couldn't keep that up, it was time for really low gear: get off the bike and push.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: csykes on March 19, 2011, 10:37:44 pm
Thanks all; that confirms what I had assumed.  It took me a while to get comfortable with higher-cadence pedaling, but it certainly is easier an my aging body than hammering away in a big gear.  On long climbs my cadence slips to about 70, but currently my lowest gear combo is 34 x 27.  I will go to lower gearing before I do any touring.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: Tourista829 on March 20, 2011, 02:03:15 am
It will save your knees. Climb effortlessly, you can never have too low a gear. Although, rarely us it, have a 34 tooth gear in the rear cassette and 24"tooth gear in the front. With 700c wheel, believe a 19 inch low gear.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: staehpj1 on March 20, 2011, 11:46:15 am
I am a recreational Roadie who hopes to begin some light (credit card) touring reasonably soon.  I was wondering about cadence.  On the road bike I try to pedal 85 to 95 rpm which is comfortable for me.  I understand that it is different with a loaded bike and that touring bikes have wider and lower gears. Do cycle tourists typically pedal in this range?
My normal cadence is similar except I mix it up quite a bit.  On long rides I'll spend much of the day at 80-90, but might spend a bit of time at 55-65 or so and a bit at 95-100 for a change of pace.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: Stevenp on March 20, 2011, 03:25:53 pm
So how important is it to keep track of cadence on a trip? Some have told me it is the most important thing to keep track of, but I just don't get it. Also, I have never been into cycling so it's something new to me, but help me understand.

Thanks
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: Tourista829 on March 20, 2011, 03:55:47 pm
I do check it from time to time. I agree with others, it is a personal thing. You just want to find what works for you. As you progress through your day, keep your cadence up as you tire.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: staehpj1 on March 20, 2011, 03:56:32 pm
So how important is it to keep track of cadence on a trip? Some have told me it is the most important thing to keep track of, but I just don't get it. Also, I have never been into cycling so it's something new to me, but help me understand.

Thanks
My advice...  
If you are a big gear masher, work on spinning a bit faster while you are at home.  Ride at a comfortable cadence and don't worry about it while on tour.  Also if you find you like to ride at a low cadence some of the time, do it.  Just don't mash a huge gear at 50-60 rpm all the time.  If you do that, try to break the habit before your tour.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: John Nelson on March 20, 2011, 07:27:19 pm
I don't think it's important to keep track. Do what comes naturally, but keep in the back of your mind that many people find higher cadences create fewer leg problems. So whenever you think about it, downshift and increase the cadence to see if you can do that comfortably. If you do give a higher cadence a reasonable try for a reasonable amount of time, and you find that it's not comfortable, and if you're not having any physical problems, then mash away guilt-free. Don't let the high-cadence crowd tell you that you have to do it their way or you'll die a horrible, painful death.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: Pat Lamb on March 20, 2011, 07:43:44 pm
So how important is it to keep track of cadence on a trip?

After the first few days, about the time we hit the hills in western Virginia, I switched to displaying the cadence and mileage.  Part of that was to help make sure I down-shifted enough to keep my cadence up, and save my knees.  To be honest, though, the major reason was that watching the speed was depressing.  Mileage was useful to help locate the next turn.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: knolltop on March 20, 2011, 07:57:58 pm
So how important is it to keep track of cadence on a trip?
After the first few days, ... watching the speed was depressing.
;D
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: bogiesan on March 20, 2011, 08:29:49 pm
I don't think it's important to keep track.

You track your cadence while training. After that it's natural.

David Boise I'd
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: csykes on March 20, 2011, 10:50:39 pm
I for one don't obsess about cadence, I also mix it up on some rides.  I found that once I had a computer with that function and paid attention to it, I have become a more efficient rider.  It's a good a tool but I don't look at it continuously, as I now normally pedal at a faster rate than I did when I was a lot younger. Riding with a higher cadence has helped me with my usual club ride, but I was not sure if it was normal for touring.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: paddleboy17 on March 22, 2011, 12:42:25 pm
I have always been told to keep things above 80, or else I would damage the soft tissue in my knees.

So that is how I ride my road bikes.  Turns out my best performance is 85-90, but your results will differ.  So if you can't carry at least 80 on your touring bike, then you need lower gears.  You might need to put mountain bike gearing on your touring bike to make things work.

I have a cadence meter on both road bikes, and check it as I feel a need.  Keeping a written record seems overkill.
Title: Re: Cadence Question
Post by: SweetLou on April 03, 2011, 11:13:08 pm
My cadence doesn't change when touring or just out for a ride. Though, my speed does.

I don't think cadence matters a lot, as long as you are not mashing a high gear. I have a pretty high cadence, usually between 110 and 120. I use a smaller gear than my buddies, but I go just as fast. This is my natural cadence and it is much nicer on my knees. I tried using a higher gear and lower cadence and my knee would hurt the next day.

The two biggest "mistakes" made by new riders is too low of a saddle and pushing too big a gear. Both of these can cause knee problems and wear you out faster. I think if you are above 80 and are comfortable, you will find a good cadence for yourself. You won't need to track it much, it will just come natural to you.