Gear explanation for newbie

For Roadies

Gear explanation for newbie

Postby fionahills » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:58 pm

Hi there

I am a very new rider - no experience with bikes at all and riding a giant avail advance 3 2011 - great bike for me and loving it - the gears are a challenge for me though - I have a compact 105 10 speed - could someone please explain what that actually means for me as a new rider - I tend to ride on the big ring at the front and about the middle at the back except on the hills where at the moment I would love some more gears!!!

I'm sure if I understood how they worked I might make better use of them - as I understand it I should pedal a good rate without too much 'weight' in the pedals - but I'd love some really basic advice.
I am also contemplating going to a couple of coaching sessions to get some help - is this a bit much for a beginner? My husband, a keen rider tries to explain but its second nature to him and all quite foreign to me so not really working - plus after 30 odd years of a happy marriage I'd hate to ruin it!!!

I have had great help from the forum about riding clipless, going on group rides etc so am hoping for some more advice.

I ride most days - about 25 to 30km and 40- 50km on weekends - average 20kph-seem stuck here - did 50 km group ride on weekend and still couldn't crack 20.8kph so looks like I have a lot of work to do

thanks for any advice re gears, effective use etc regards Fiona
fionahills
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast

by BNA » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:43 pm

BNA
 

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:43 pm

Hi Fiona.

Very basic...

105 is the spec level of the cranks, good mid range stuff. Compact refers to the rings fitted, typically 50 and 34 teeth. Strong riders (unlike me) will run 53/39.

The bigger the gear at the front, the harder it is to push.
The bigger the gear at the rear, the easier it is to push.

You never want to be having to force the pedal down unless you have monster knees. Try to keep the cranks turning at ~90 rpm with smooth light pressure (This is an accepted average, you can find your own sweet spot, mine is between about 85 and 100, ish.)

From the big/middle combo, you have plenty of lower gears for the hills. Once you are down to the second largest on the rear, it's time to drop the front to the small ring. You may then have to go a smaller cog at the rear to keep a good cadence.

Your hubby is a lucky bloke to have a GLW who rides, he should be happy to talk you through the basics and indeed slow down to your speed so you can ride together as you gain experience. If he won't then by all means look for a young hot coach to remind him how lucky he is :wink:

Hope this helps.

Shaun
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
User avatar
Mulger bill
Super Mod
Super Mod
 
Posts: 26312
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Sunbury Vic

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby nickobec » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:54 am

If you are riding on the big chain ring and in the middle of your cassette to achieve 20kph, you are pedalling too slow.

I would guess your cadence is in the 50 to 60 turns of the crank per minute, making it hard work.

Unfortunately the "best" cadence for "most" people is in the 90 to 100 range.

Easiest way to fix that is to get a cadence meter (they are dirt cheap) and measure your cadence. Next ride go out and try to ride 5 rpm faster, next ride 5rpm faster again, until your reach 95 or 100rpm.

You will be surprised by the results, I went from 24kmh & 60rpm average to 27kmh & 90 rpm average in a few weeks.
User avatar
nickobec
 
Posts: 1480
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:51 pm
Location: Perth or 42km south as the singlespeed flies

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby bychosis » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:25 am

nickobec wrote:If you are riding on the big chain ring and in the middle of your cassette to achieve 20kph, you are pedalling too slow.

I would guess your cadence is in the 50 to 60 turns of the crank per minute, making it hard work.

Unfortunately the "best" cadence for "most" people is in the 90 to 100 range.

Easiest way to fix that is to get a cadence meter (they are dirt cheap) and measure your cadence. Next ride go out and try to ride 5 rpm faster, next ride 5rpm faster again, until your reach 95 or 100rpm.

You will be surprised by the results, I went from 24kmh & 60rpm average to 27kmh & 90 rpm average in a few weeks.


An easier way to measure cadence is to have a watch/clock on your bars that measures seconds and count how many times one of you legs goes around in one minute, or in 15seconds and x4 etc. I found my cadence that way. It's a lot cheaper than buying a cadence meter and not using it much.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.
User avatar
bychosis
 
Posts: 2594
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:10 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby JustJames » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:25 am

Another vote for a device that includes a cadence meter.

It took me a while to realise it, but cadence is the only number you need to know while you're riding.

Speed? Well, most of the time you're either going as fast as you can or you're riding at the same speed as your ride buddies. In both cases, knowing the number does nothing to change the way you ride.

Heart rate? Kind of fun to know, but really, you know whether you're cruising, working fairly hard or bleeding from the eyeballs. And HR is a function of how hard you're riding, see previous point.

But your cadence is mostly under your control. You can change to a harder gear to slow it, or to a an easier gear to speed it up. The only times you can't change your cadence is when you're going uphill in your easiest gear and physically can't go any faster or when you're spinning out on a descent in your hardest gear.

Get a cadence meter, work out what your personal ideal cadence is, and ride to that cadence.
My bike blog. Long on rumination, rambling and opinion. Why let facts ruin everything?

http://pedallingcharm.wordpress.com/
User avatar
JustJames
 
Posts: 501
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:50 am

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby kb » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:32 am

As a muso in a former life, I found accurately gauging cadence easy. On the other hand, keeping it where I wanted required a display. Especially when tiring.
Image
User avatar
kb
 
Posts: 986
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:22 pm

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby RonK » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:05 am

kb wrote:As a muso in a former life, I found accurately gauging cadence easy. On the other hand, keeping it where I wanted required a display. Especially when tiring.

Yes, my perception of cadence changes when I'm tiring, that is why have a cadence computer even on my touring bike - to make sure I don't end up overloading my knees toward the end of a long day in the saddle.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
User avatar
RonK
 
Posts: 5741
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:08 pm
Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby fionahills » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:57 am

Thanks so much for all the tips - especially about how the speed, cadence and gearing works - might try and get the garmin off hubby - too much going on for me to count the pedals - still trying to remember to clip in and out and not run into cars and not fall off while I have a drink!!!

thanks again

fiona - PS

he has seen this post so I will have to buy my own garmin but maybe the little one - I can tell when I am puffed (all the time on the hills!!)
fionahills
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby bychosis » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:17 am

You only have to count the pedal rotations a few times, and you can pick a straight safe section to do it for 30sec or so.

Once you get a feel for how fast you should be spinning, it's easy enough to aim for somewhere near it, you don't need to be bang on your cadence all the time, especially if you are just starting out and a recreational cyclist.

It is a little frustrating the experienced cyclists here telling newbies they need all sorts of fancy gear when there are alternatives that don't cost anything and are perfectly serviceable options for the vast majority of bicycle users. It's only when you want to start training properly that the fancy gear start to become most useful.

Get on your bike and ride.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.
User avatar
bychosis
 
Posts: 2594
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:10 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby adrian_d » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:20 pm

I might not be the best for advice but I am just a beginner myself and I think the main thing to realise through it all is to make sure you enjoy yourself and make sure you have the right safety components and energy supplies to make sure you won't feel drained during the ride.

The first few rides I went on, I packed what I thought was suitable, a few biscuits and a sandwich. This was on a 70km ride and I found myself very hungry on the way back. While you don't want to bring too much with you, its important to bring the right food/snacks to keep you going.

I have become very particular with learning weather conditions in the week so I can plan my cycling. I do find myself getting pretty frustrated when it ends up pouring on both days of the weekend yet its sunny as through the whole week when i'm stuck in an office. haha I always remember that there is always another day. And if its not too bad i'll end up going no matter what.

I am sure your current bike will be perfect for training up, as long as you have fun thats the main thing
REVISED GOALS FOR THIS/NEXT YEAR
2. Attend 250km Bupa 2014

My Cycling Journey Blog (Needs Updating)
User avatar
adrian_d
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:14 am

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby DoogleDave » Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:53 pm

Some really great advice for you to read here Fiona.

I also agree that cadence is much more important to worry about than your average speed (as this will be largely dictated by road and weather conditions - along with your fitness).

Whether you're riding along flat ground or going up inclines, if you can keep your cadence within your comfortable range (which you will find out for yourself once you start taking notice of what you are doing cadence-wise) then riding will be much easier on the legs.

Cadence is also a great way to vary your speed whilst staying in the same gear (useful when riding in a group, as the speed tends to fluctuate a bit).

As your cadence improves you will soon learn how to pedal more efficiently by pedaling through most of your pedal-stroke (though some don't agree this is more efficient).
Basically as your foot nears the top of the stroke you push forward with your foot, creating more momentum, then push down through the stroke, then pull back along the bottom of the stroke (think of trying to wipe mud off your shoe) and finally lifting your foot up through the back of the stroke (or essentially taking some of the weight off the pedal).

Easier said than done, particularly as you have two feet so as one is pushing forward the other is pulling back....but you will eventually get the hang of it and in my own experience I find it can be helpful.
It also means that your pedal stroke can be smoother and your cadence can go faster.

When I first started learning I used a trainer and as I got above 100rpm I was bouncing around all over the seat - but since I have smoothed out my pedal stroke (compared to what it used to be) I can pedal at 120rpm without any problems, but past that I start to bounce a little...but the more you do it the better you get. It is also a great cardio workout.

The way I look at it you can either use your legs to produce power at a slow cadence to keep your speed up (which will quickly tire your leg muscles and these take longer to recover) OR you can use an easier gear with a higher cadence (which will work your cardio much more but your legs won't tire anywhere near as much, and your cardio will recover quicker than your legs - especially as you get fitter). You can still hold the same/similar speed using both methods and both can/will be used at certain times during a ride. if your cardio tires, use your legs for a while...and when your legs tire hit your cardio again.

All of this is done within your "own" abilities (whether that be holding 20km/h or 40km/h), the speed is irrelevant. It's the effort you are putting your body through that dictates how hard you can push yourself.
And obviously going uphill means the easier gears and as fast a cadence as you can hold.
And the famous quote is true; "Going uphill doesn't get easier, you just get faster"
I think that pretty much goes for cycling in general. Once you can hold 30km/h you'll never be happy holding 20km/h, so the perceived effort is always the same - you just get fitter and faster.

Dave
2012 Felt F75 | 105 | ProLite Braccianos | GP4000S
Image
User avatar
DoogleDave
 
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:56 pm
Location: Taylors Hill, Victoria

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby gururug » Tue Sep 25, 2012 3:46 pm

Use whatever gear your comfortable with.

Analogy: Walking - There are those who take big steps and those that take small.

What is important is that you do not use a gear that is WAAAAAY too hard. Err on the side of safety and faster rather than slower pedal strokes.

The key word here is COMFORT. If spinning that fast makes you uncomfortable slow down. If a gear is too hard, use a lighter one.
User avatar
gururug
 
Posts: 1504
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:05 pm

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby fionahills » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:07 pm

Hi again

thanks for all the advice - bought a basic computer with cadence - went out this afternoon - tried to stick to 90 av cad, and managed to hold 92 average BUT only did 20.8 kph over 16kms. Put it on the small front ring and the middle on the back so was spinning much more than I usually do - must admit the first 5 ks hurt and then it was better but I was really tired - normally ride 25 to 30 km per day and pulled the pin at 16-

Could I trouble you all for what I should do now - keep cadence up, forget speed and go for more distance? build it up every day as much as possible or go for small increments? Or do I keep upping the gears as I go and try for speed and more distance at the smae time?

Sorry I know I am being a pain - but most web advice is for people who understand the 'mechanics' of cycling I don't have a clue

Have a need for some structure to really enjoy riding - am an old horse rider and used to strict, structured training programs - and measuring success or NOT at comps - while not contemplating any competitive cycling (too old & too slow & too sore) -

I really want to join a local group, do 100km rides instead of the 50kms, and go on a cycling holiday next year - have driven the tour routes in spain and france - would love to ride some of them- any more advice most gratefully received

thanks again Fiona
fionahills
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby gururug » Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:16 pm

It's purely your choice, based on what will be most satisfying for you. I started out going for distance then time became a limiting factor so I switched to speed, which in hindsight is not practical more than once or twice a week and you will soon plateau then and improvements will be few and far between and unsustainable.

Your number 1 goal is to enjoy your cycling. All other goals must fit in with that.

If I could go back, i'd put more emphasis on the "craft". Track stands, hopping gutters, emergency stops etc.

If your future is more distance/touring/leisure orientated then train for that. Challenge yourself with new routes and roads (and hills!).
User avatar
gururug
 
Posts: 1504
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:05 pm

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:48 pm

fionahills wrote:Sorry I know I am being a pain - but most web advice is for people who understand the 'mechanics' of cycling I don't have a clue

No you're not!
Everybody has to start somewhere and most members here will be glad to give you the advice you need in a friendly manner. I wish I had this option when I got back on a bike.

For mine, give what you're doing now a few rides for your body to adapt to the new way of doing things then try going up one gear while maintaining cadence, this'll put your speed up a little. Rinse and repeat until you're around 24-25 km/h average then maintain that and go for increased distance a bit at a time. I can't suggest a proper structured programme because I'm not that organised :oops:

Don't push yourself to the stage where it becomes a chore tho', the goal is always fun first. Taking a break every few days will help you recover, making you stronger for the next ride.

Shaun
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
User avatar
Mulger bill
Super Mod
Super Mod
 
Posts: 26312
Joined: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:41 pm
Location: Sunbury Vic

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby bychosis » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:53 am

Try to find a comfortable cadence. If 90 is to high then drop it back a little. I counted mine (count for 30sec) on the way home yesterday and was comfortably doing around 80-85, what I would consider 'normal' for me. I upped it a bit for one section and got closer to 100 and that would be a 'fast' ride for me.

Aim to ride comfortably, but push yourself a bit too so you get better.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.
User avatar
bychosis
 
Posts: 2594
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:10 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby grasshopper » Wed Sep 26, 2012 6:59 am

Mulger bill wrote:
fionahills wrote:Sorry I know I am being a pain - but most web advice is for people who understand the 'mechanics' of cycling I don't have a clue

No you're not!

+1. Most people start with low cadence and it takes months, not weeks, to increase it. I suspect you just need miles in your legs, and the rest will take care of itself if you know the general direction you're heading - a light/fast pedalling action which takes the load off your muscle system (and onto your breathing system) and is thus best for endurance. As opposed to hard/slow pedalling which wears out your muscles faster. But it's a big ask of your muscles to do a whole ride in a new way - just do 100m or 1km on/km off for a while, or between road crossings, or some other marker that amuses you, or downhill, or whenever you feel like it. Your muscles will learn to do it gradually. If you've been grinding along at 60, it is cruel to ask them to suddenly do a whole ride at 90. :)

Hopefully you are having rest days. The body adapts during rest, not during stress. So eat well, sleep well and really rest - a couple of days a week if that's what your body needs. Build up slowly - 10% extra distance a week is common, but have lighter weeks every couple of weeks. If you're bored, throw in coffee stops, or casual rides with friends, or faster/shorter days and some skills fun when you feel like it - weaving in/out of white lines on an empty path/carpark, clipping in/out both feet, shorter stopping distances, bottle in/bottle out, play with gears up/down - just because you can. :) You will be able to do far more than you guessed.

On the bike, drink around a water bottle/hr and eat something every hour. I'd vote just saddle time and having fun for a few months. Once you are comfortable on the bike you would get more from a basic coaching session I think.
User avatar
grasshopper
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:04 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby adrian_d » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:07 am

grasshopper wrote:
Mulger bill wrote:
fionahills wrote:Sorry I know I am being a pain - but most web advice is for people who understand the 'mechanics' of cycling I don't have a clue

No you're not!

+1. Most people start with low cadence and it takes months, not weeks, to increase it. I suspect you just need miles in your legs, and the rest will take care of itself if you know the general direction you're heading - a light/fast pedalling action which takes the load off your muscle system (and onto your breathing system) and is thus best for endurance. As opposed to hard/slow pedalling which wears out your muscles faster. But it's a big ask of your muscles to do a whole ride in a new way - just do 100m or 1km on/km off for a while, or between road crossings, or some other marker that amuses you, or downhill, or whenever you feel like it. Your muscles will learn to do it gradually. If you've been grinding along at 60, it is cruel to ask them to suddenly do a whole ride at 90. :)

Hopefully you are having rest days. The body adapts during rest, not during stress. So eat well, sleep well and really rest - a couple of days a week if that's what your body needs. Build up slowly - 10% extra distance a week is common, but have lighter weeks every couple of weeks. If you're bored, throw in coffee stops, or casual rides with friends, or faster/shorter days and some skills fun when you feel like it - weaving in/out of white lines on an empty path/carpark, clipping in/out both feet, shorter stopping distances, bottle in/bottle out, play with gears up/down - just because you can. :) You will be able to do far more than you guessed.

On the bike, drink around a water bottle/hr and eat something every hour. I'd vote just saddle time and having fun for a few months. Once you are comfortable on the bike you would get more from a basic coaching session I think.


Those are fantastic suggestions for the OP. I'm still a newbie and i'm picking up on quite a few things from your post. Thanks :)

Drinking enough water seems very fundamental. I am definitely not drinking enough if thats the case, I only drank 1 water bottle in the whole 107km ride I did last time which went for 4.5 hours. doh

On my 30km ride yesterday I didn't even bring my water bottle :(

OP You have some fantastic fellow members on here who share the same enthusiasm and interest, your in safe hands for sure :)
REVISED GOALS FOR THIS/NEXT YEAR
2. Attend 250km Bupa 2014

My Cycling Journey Blog (Needs Updating)
User avatar
adrian_d
 
Posts: 508
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:14 am

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby queequeg » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:28 am

Lots of good advice on here, but casting my mind back to when I was a newbie a few years ago, the only thing that mattered to me was keeping a roughly constant cadence.
Gear selection was then a matter of picking one that let me keep that cadence comfortably.
If you want to get a higher speed, find the gear that gives you a comfortable cadence, then go one or two gears harder and try to maintain the same cadence. Soon enough this will become your comfortable gear. Rinse, repeat!

Don't expect massive jumps in avg speeds. When I first started I was averaging 20km/h for my daily commutes. Now I do between 22 and 28km/h (4 years later). Out on a long solo ride on the road bike is another story. Lighter bike, bigger gears, different terrain. I average around 28.5 to 30km/h over 100km.
An avg speed by itself means nothing. You need to ride the same course in similar conditions to see how you progress. Some days you'll get a massive tailwind and you will set a PB with no effort. Other days you'll get a gusting headwind that will knock 10km/h off your top speed and leave you feeling exhausted half way through. Ignore the stats, just ride!
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '09 Electra Townie Original 21D
User avatar
queequeg
 
Posts: 3038
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:09 am

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby fionahills » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:26 am

WHAT A GREAT BUNCH YOU ARE

Off to try a long slow hill this morning and will just concentrate on getting up the best I can - maybe a couple of repeats -if the legs and lungs can manage - will watch the cadence BUT not get too focussed - if my speed stays in double figures for most of it I will be very pleased - doing Brisbane to Gold Coast weekend after next - so trying to do all I can to survive but not too much so I blow up.

did not appreciate the benefits of rest so will now 'take a day off' and NOT feel slack -

thanks again - very much appreciate you all taking time to respond in such a positive way - starting to think I can do this and trying to be the best I can is a great goal.

regards Fiona
fionahills
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby thearthurdog » Wed Sep 26, 2012 11:39 am

Fiona I've just returned to competitive cycling after a 12 year absence. I acheived some nice stuff last time I raced and I was (and still am) really focussed on cadence and the impact it has on cycling performance. I really feel like your average 2012 cyclist does not know how to pedal. They buy a bike and go slamming around the place at 75 - 80 rpm. This is not good. If you can learn to pedal at 100 RPM, smoothly, consistently and for a long time, you will train your legs with something they will have for a lifetime; the ability to pedal. So ride, ride, ride as much as you can and pedal, pedal, pedal. You'll reap the rewards later when you have a beautiful, economic and efficent pedal stroke. Trust me when I say that Brad Wiggins looks like he does, because he learnt to pedal high RPM on the velodrome.

Also, an approach like this will be more effective if your bike is set up well, so I would suggest looking into that as well. Good luck.
Cannondale Supersix Evo
Fuji Norcom Straight
http://www.crosswindmissile.blogspot.com.au
thearthurdog
 
Posts: 239
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:51 pm

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby fionahills » Wed Sep 26, 2012 8:48 pm

Thanks again - I managed to keep the cadence at 91 average on the 3km long slow hill - the speed was pretty poor - only 11.5km going up - but heaps of fun going down - anyway was not able to hold the 91 on second repeat all the way up so kept going as long as I could at the 91 and then rolled down and tried again and went a bit further - the thing is to hold the cadence I had to be on the easiest gear - is this OK for now?

I did try to go up a gear for the shorter repeats - but could not hold the cadence - I really appreciate the help and will try for the 100 as ultimate goal but for now is it OK to work at 90 and try and improve stamina? Both on hills and flats?

I got the bike fitted when I bought it - that was 16 months ago - i had a really close call with a car and lost my nerve after 3 months and have only been back on for about 6 weeks.

As I honestly never had a bike as a kid I really had probably only riddent 6 or 7 times until I hit 50 - never even sat on a road bike before I got mine - so has been a steep learning curve - gears, clipless, skinny tyres, knicks and jerseys- ( I used to call them liquorice allsorts when I saw the groups out riding - love the colours!!)
Still have to stop to have a drink - and be very careful not to move around too much when looking behind me - so much still to learn.....

I really do appreciate all your help - everyone has been very encouraging - the road we were on today is part on the noosa triatholon course and closed to traffic - so much fun to zoom (my zoom is very tame!!) down without worrying about cars - loved it
thanks again

fiona
fionahills
 
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Sunshine Coast

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby DoogleDave » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:16 pm

Well done Fiona.
If 90 rpm feels reasonably comfortable to you then I'd say try and stick with it where possible (you wont always be able to stay on 90 and that is perfectly fine).
Don't think you're failing if you drop to the mid 80's or so for a while - you just don't want to drop to the 70's or 60's (though this can be a good way to build strength in your legs)...but that's another side of training that you can come back to down the track.

I think you'd be best to just focus on enjoying your riding and put a few hundred km's into your legs and as long as you're keeping a "reasonable cadence" then you'll soon find what YOUR average cadence is and you can then work at adjusting your cadence around your average (depending on conditions/terrain).

My ave cadence is around 85 rpm and depending on how I'm feeling and what/where I'm riding I'll adjust accordingly and either let it drop down slightly or spin faster up to or just over 100 rpm. For example, for me I find when riding into a headwind it is much easier to drop a gear or two and spin at 95 - 105 rpm and I can seem to maintain my speed better into the wind than trying to grind a harder gear at a slower rpm (and then a gust of wind hits me hard and slows me down and it's that much harder for my legs to bring me back up to speed again - before the next gust of wind hits me).

Horses for courses. There isn't one cadence that works for ALL scenarios - but the average for "most" people seems to be around the 90 mark (give or take).

In summary, don't get hung up on your cadence/speed too much - just try to enjoy yourself out on the bike and build up that confidence again. it can be disheartening after a scare (or accident) out there on the road but life's too short so build your riding skills, always be aware of your surroundings (as much as you can be) and the rest is out of your control.
With more km's and increased fitness and strength you will find it easier to hold a faster cadence and with that comes faster speeds.

Dave
2012 Felt F75 | 105 | ProLite Braccianos | GP4000S
Image
User avatar
DoogleDave
 
Posts: 519
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:56 pm
Location: Taylors Hill, Victoria

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby Tim » Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:25 pm

Highly recommend this book, only $20.00 and worth every cent of it. Gets a bit technical on the heart rate training and advanced training methods but none-the-less has some excellent advise for us that have passed the half way mark.

http://www.humankinetics.com/products/all-products/cycling-past-50

Joe Friels; Cycling Past Fifty. I bought the book from the mob on the link, they have an Australian outlet, no problems.
Keep spinning!!!
User avatar
Tim
 
Posts: 915
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:02 pm
Location: Gippsland Lakes

Re: Gear explanation for newbie

Postby grasshopper » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:02 am

fionahills wrote:... the thing is to hold the cadence I had to be on the easiest gear - is this OK for now?
Yes, this is why we have gears, so it sounds like you've mastered the idea. :) They make life easier and knees happier. And far more stylish than grinding. :wink:

fionahills wrote:... 100 as ultimate goal but for now is it OK to work at 90 and try and improve stamina? Both on hills and flats?
Good goal, but as DD mentioned above, don't worry too much about the numbers while you're getting going. You want a nice smooth cadence without bouncing. If you start bouncing, drop it back a bit. Just keep working on spinning, especially on the flats to get the muscle memory going, cos most people use a lower cadence on hills.
User avatar
grasshopper
 
Posts: 331
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:04 pm
Location: Melbourne

Next

Return to Road Biking

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users



Popular Bike Shops
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Ebay Ebay AU
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK

“Bicycles BNA Twitter
“Bicycles BNA Facebook
“Google+ BNA Google+
“Bicycles BNA Newsletter

> FREE BNA Stickers
> BNA Cycling Kit