Absolute Motion

" ... about bikes and the people who ride them ..."

Cadence matters

– Johann Wykerd

We get many questions asking us if Cadence is an important element to worry about when riding your bike .. our answer, “Yes, Cadence does matter!”

To simplify cycling we can break it down into 3 controllable factors

1. Your effort (heart rate)

2. Gearing (front and rear combination) and

3. Pedal cadence (revolutions per minute).

These 3 factors interact with one another when you ride your bike. For example, if you ride in a very easy gear on a level road you will have to pedal at a very fast cadence to get anywhere and this results in a very high heart rate. On the other side again, you can go up a steep hill standing at a slow cadence and you will find that your heart rate comes down, but the result could be that your legs start to burn.

Finding the sweet spot is therefore important to ensure that you provide your legs with the right amount of fuel (oxygen/blood flow) so that it can generate the right amount of energy for as long as it will take for you to get to the finish.

Many studies have been done on what is the best cadence to cycle at and we still don’t know the perfect number, but one thing these studies have revealed is that the best range for most people will be between 80 and 95 RPM.

A number of people have asked us why their heart rate goes so high when they go uphill and we often find the answer to this question in that when they approach a hill they gear to a too easy gear too quickly and then they have to pedal at a very fast cadence to keep up with their friends.

So, next time you see a hill and think you need to push that gear shifter to get you to an easier gear, consider your leg speed first and change gears to manage your leg speed and not necessarily because the hill looks steep.

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