If you’ve just started cycling you may think it’s as easy as just jumping on your bike and turning the pedals. While this is true to an extent there is much more technique to that seemingly simple operation than you might initially expect. The potential for constant development is one of the hooks in cycling as a past time and sport.
Your cadence, or your turning of the pedals, is vital to your speed and your endurance. We can break it down into two separate subjects — speed and technique.
Your cadence is measured in RPM ( revolutions per minute) and while there is on going study the current accepted wisdom is that the most efficient cadence is between 90-100 RPM. If you’re new to cycling this may seem excessively fast. Many beginning cyclists think that the higher the gear, the faster you’ll go and so get the greatest benefit. If you’re out on the road it’s easy to spot the differences in experience just by watching how people ride.
The reason a high cadence is preferable is due to the way your muscles work and cycling being primarily an endurance sport. With a high cadence and lower work load on your legs they tire less quickly and so take you further. A good analogy for this is to imagine lifting weight with your arms. How many repetitions could you do with a ten kg weight before your muscles fatigued? How many could you do do with a one kg weight? No doubt the amount of cumulative weight you could lift is greater when using the 1 kg weight. This lighter activity accesses your slow twitch muscles which fatigue less quickly.
Secondly we can look at technique. There is a tendency for beginning cyclists to push down on the pedals but not use the legs own strength to lift it backup the other side. You should endeavor to have your cadence as smooth as possible– with your feet spinning consistently around the whole revolution while your upper body remains relaxed and fixed in position. One analogy that often helps with this technique is to imagine wiping your feet as they come down to the bottom of the cycle — this will help you pull your feet back in this part of the revolution and result in a much smoother cadence. Cycling is all about efficiency — a small difference in each pedal stroke over many hours or kilometers will be the difference between an enjoyable ride and injury or winning and losing
You’ll need a cadence recording bike computer and with a little practice and experience you’ll be able to keep your cadence consistently high and smooth without bouncing around in the saddle. To maintain a high cadence you’ll also need to be using a cleat system to clip your self into your pedals. Another great idea is to record each ride with software designed for cyclists — you’ll soon see the difference in your stats as you improve your technique.
Source by Matt Mccullough